Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review: The Lincoln Deception by David O. Stewart

On his deathbed, John Bingham tells his doctor that during the trials of the Lincoln assassination, Mary Surratt confessed a secret to him which would have been so destructive to the Union that he and the only other man to know the secret swore to take it to their graves. After Bingham’s death, his doctor teams up with an aspiring newspaper entrepreneur to uncover the secret.

This sounded a lot better than it turned out to be. I thought it would be a fun conspiracy theory thriller, not only about a historical event but also set in historical times too. Sadly, the historical setting didn’t really come to life, the dialogue was stilted, the character development was poor, and the plot was remarkably slow and dull for such a short thriller. Additionally, I felt like there were too many coincidences or things that happened conveniently just for the sake of the plot. The whole thing felt very contrived.

From the very beginning, I didn’t understand why Bingham would confess that he held a secret about the Lincoln assassinations if he genuinely didn’t want anyone to uncover it. He seemed to honestly feel it would destroy the nation, so why even admit there is a secret to begin with? If you’re going to take something to your grave, you don’t tell people about it first! But of course the confession was necessary to get the ball rolling with the plot - how else was the main character going to learn about it and be inspired to dig deeper? But this kind of sacrifice of logic for the sake of the necessary plot was exactly the type of thing that made it feel contrived.

Likewise, I didn't understand why a friend of Bingham's would go to such efforts to disrespect his dying wishes. His claims that the world deserved to know the truth fell short. If he truly believed that, it doesn't say much for his values in friendship.

I also couldn't bring myself to believe that a doctor who claimed to be so busy that he didn't have time to sit down and read a book for pleasure could suddenly drop everything and go traveling around the nation looking for clues regarding something that he was never involved in. What about his patients who kept him so busy?

The only reason I finished it was because it was short and I wanted to know what the conspiracy was. Unfortunately, in the end, it wasn't worth finding out. The secret was not so shocking and annoyingly, men went to extreme lengths to stop the secret from being revealed throughout the book even though in the end, they claimed their denial of it all would be enough to make people think it was just another crackpot theory. and therefore, it didn't even matter if the secret was revealed to the public. So lots of things didn't make sense and with the poor character development on top of that and stilted dialogue, it just didn't add up to a great read.

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