Thursday, July 17, 2008

REVIEW: A Killing at Ball's Bluff

Title: A Killing at Ball's Bluff
Author: Michael Kilian
Protagonist: Harrison Raines, member of the newly formed Secret Service
Setting: Washington, D.C. and Virginia during the first year of the Civil War
Series: #2
Rating: DNF

First Line: Harrison Raines did not want to talk to the small, dirty boy who darted into the Palace of Fortune and headed directly for his table.

Viriginian Harrison Raines was disowned by his planter father because Harrison doesn't believe in slavery. Making a living from gambling and horse trading, he plays a dangerous game in Washington, D.C.: pretending to be a Southern sympathizer while in reality being a member of a new agency, the U.S. Secret Service, headed by Allan Pinkerton. Raines gets into hot water when Rose O'Neill Greenhow is arrested as a spy, and he's sent back to his horse farm in disgrace. Soon however, he's sent for in order to protect a Colonel in the Union Army who is a close friend of President Abraham Lincoln. When the Colonel is killed, Raines begins tracking down the killer.

I enjoyed the first book in the series, Murder at Manassas, but after reading 100 pages of A Killing at Ball's Bluff, I realized that I just wasn't hooked. None of the characters were keeping my interest and even the historical angle was dry as dust. Normally a DNF is some sort of disaster for me; something was so bad that I just couldn't finish it. In the case of A Killing at Ball's Bluff, I found no disaster in its pages. I just didn't find any interest.

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