Readers of National Review will recognize the author's name: John J. Miller is one of their correspondents, and writes for other, lesser, publications too, like the Wall Street Journal. So I became aware of this book via that link, and decided to take a chance. Hey, not bad.
It's set in the dark days of 1861: Abraham Lincoln is assuming the Presidency, and the Union is being rent asunder. Anti-Union plots and conspiracies abound. But one seems more serious than others: embittered South Carolina slaveowners hire a mysterious professional killer named Mazorca to stalk and kill Lincoln only a few weeks into his first term.
The book's hero is Colonel Rook, who's part of General Winfield Scott's efforts to defend Washington D.C. Rook is a good detective, but Mazorca is ruthless and deadly. Fortunately, a few slaves become aware of the plot, and send a plucky slave girl north to inform the good guys of Mazorca's identity. But that's a perilous journey for a slave—will she make it?
Miller obviously did his historical homework, especially in describing the 1861 environs. (The US Capitol dome under construction; the Washington Monument unfinished; Mount Vernon falling into disrepair.) I thought I caught one anachronism when a character uses the word "okay" — surely that wasn't used in 1861? No, I was wrong, it was in normal use long before then.
It's a pageturner, no doubt. If I had to quibble, it's a little in-your-face about history. (Yes, someone does exclaim to Rook: "Colonel! Fort Sumter has given up!")
I read this in paperback, so that's where the Amazon link will take you, but the Kindle price of $4.99 is kind of a steal.