Reading biographies can be tedious, but 'Killing Lincoln' read like a thriller. O'Reilly built the backstory, then took the reader through the metamorphosis of John Wilkes Booth, from actor to infamous assassin.
Starting with the waning battles of the Civil War, we learned of Lincoln's struggle to unite a country. What can he do with the South; convict Lee of treason, of war crimes? How could the South's state legislatures convene, with the same people who voted for secession in the first place? And how could he help to reignite the economy of the country after the high cost of the war, with over a billion dollars in war debt?
Meanwhile Booth formulated a plan to eliminate Lincoln, which he believed would inspire the South to rise up once again and fight for their rights. And not just killing Lincoln, but Booth conspired with his cronies to eliminate the Vice-President, the Secretary of State and General Grant, a feat that would turn the North to anarchy.
While I liked the way it read like a thriller and the bibliography indicated that O'Reilly did his homework, he wrote what people thought a couple of times, which seemed like crossing over from biography to fiction. The book kept the readers' interest from the start, looking at the assassination and it's repercussions from multiple viewpoints.
The Afterword wrapped up many of the characters' lives in the aftermath of Lincoln's assassination. However, O'Reilly reprinted articles that bogged down the reading, as they were written in the nineteenth century when readers had more of an attention span than today.
The one weakness of the book was at the end and before the afterward, where O'Reilly inserted 'A Note To Readers,' where he promised the book to be true and shocking. In the spirit of 'show don't tell,' I don't need the author to to tell me it's going to be a great read. It was, but I prefer to figure it out for myself.
Linda Apple is the author of Writing From Your Soul, Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter, Connect ~ A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers, POW; Promises Kept and Women Of Washington Avenue, her debut novel and the first book in her Moonlight Mississippi series. Her personal experience stories have been published in 16 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her devotions have been published in numerous devotion magazines and books. She lives in Fayetteville Arkansas with her husband, Neal, their five children, five children-in-love, and ten grandchildren.
Jody Bailey Day writes inspirational fiction from west Texas. Her debut novel, Washout Express, released June 2013 from Harbourlight Books. Her short stories, poems, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Mature Living, Splickety Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, and Christiandevotions.us, She is a two time Grand Prize Winner at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference, and a Faithwriters.com Best of the Best award winner. She and her pastor husband have six grown children and nine grandchildren.
Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, by way of Michigan, Kentucky, Alaska, Mississippi, and Alaska (again). Deb is a graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild classes and writes Christian humorous and inspirational books for both children and adults. Her children’s adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, available in both e-book and print, is being re-published as six individual print books. Her Road’s End series (Misstep, Faux Pas, and Misjudge) for adults is also contracted and should be published soon. She is currently nearing completion on the first book of another series. She is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency.
Lisa Lickel is an award-winning multi-published inspirational novelist, blogger, reviewer, and writing mentor. A freelance editor, Lisa loves all things historical. Her work has appeared in Writer's Digest and Christian Fiction Online.
Liberty Speidel has been a voracious reader since reading her first Nancy Drew book. But she was telling stories long before then with her figurines from Disney's Rescue Rangers. When she's not writing, you may find her gardening, baking, crocheting, or hiking. A lifelong Kansan, she now resides in the Kansas City metro area with her husband, children, and chocolate Labrador, where she could rival Captain Jean Luc Picard in consumption of Earl Grey tea. She is the author of Emergence, Retaliation, and Capitulation, novellas and novels in her series featuring superhuman and police detective Darby Shaw.
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His poetry has appeared in leading journals and is collected in his book Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond.His fiction includes a light-hearted mystery, Rhapsody in Red, and two suspense novels, Deadly Addictive and The Lazarus File, and a historical romance, Lightning on a Quiet Night. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.
Editor/Author Linda Yezak lives with her husband in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She is a speaker/lecturer for various writers' groups and conferences. Her fiction books include Give the Lady a Ride, The Simulacrum, and The Cat Lady's Secret. Her nonfiction books include Writing in Obedience, co-written with Hartline Literary agent Terry Burns.
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