Top critical review
Characterizations and suspense level are disappointing.
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2018
The main pleasure in this book is to be had in the historic depictions of early 19th century politics and our legal system. The action takes place in the late 1830s, a time few of us are greatly familiar with. Lincoln is a young man in Illinois, a fairly successful lawyer and an up and comer in the Republican party. Stephen Douglas is a frequent associate as well as a political rival. The story is based on a real case the two of them were involved with, with a few details changed for fictional expediency. Unfortunately, neither the case nor it's solution are made particularly interesting. Using Lincoln as a main character in this mystery seems more of a gimmick than an integral part of the story. Most of the sleuthing is done by his friend and roommate Speed, a man who never seems to be working, in spite of the fact that he owns a store. While Lincoln's personal background is laid out, with members of his family as secondary characters, he never seems to be more than a talking two dimensional brooding portrait. Both his wit and humor are missing as well as any sign of his complicated character. It's only the setting that gives Lincoln any identity at all. Speed doesn't have much in the way of personality or depth either. I'm a big fan of historical mysteries, so I enjoyed the setting. A story that involves real historical characters is a big plus for me as well, so I enjoyed reading the book for those elements. I just found the characterizations and suspense level to be disappointing. One thing I do want to compliment - The cover design by Melanie Sun is beautiful and riveting. It's one of the things that attracted me to the book and is a wonderful introduction to the story.