The First Assassin, John J. Miller, Amazon Encore Publishing, 450 pp., 2010, $14.95.
Set in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Charleston, S.C., The First Assassin is a fast paced, tightly knit, speculative story of a murder attempt on Lincoln immediately after the Baltimore Plot of January and February 1861. South Carolinian planter Langston Bennett, hires the assassin. Mazorca, Latin American para-military sociopath, is aided by Violet Grenier, a Washington, D.C. socialite and Southern sympathizer.
In their way is Portia, a slave on Bennett's plantation and Rook, an aide to Winfield Scott, commander of all Federal forces. Portia's mission is to escape from Charleston and deliver the assassin's photograph to President Lincoln. Rook is knowing that the Baltimore plot was the first attempt but may not be the last of the attempts that will be made on Lincoln.
Miller's novel is of two worlds. He has done his background reading in Lincoln's life, wartime Washington D.C., and slave plantations. He also appears to be quite immersed in the past decade's 'political thriller' and detective novels. The First Assassin's pace is fast and it's characters tend to be a bit over-the-top. Historic in details, thrilling in pace, and driven by a modern sensibility, The First Assassin will most likely be found in stores in the mystery-detection-thriller shelves and not on the historical fiction shelves.
Image Source: First Assassin