April 13, 1861: Rebel troops are across the Potomac River, only 800 feet from the White House and President Lincoln—but a murderer is even closer . . .
With the Confederate Army firing on Fort Sumter, the Civil War has begun—and an invasion of Washington, DC, from Secessionist Virginia seems imminent. As the population evacuates, the President is in desperate need of men to defend the capital.
Lincoln’s trusted aide, Adam Speed Quinn, and Quinn’s old friend from the Bloody Kansas conflict, Senator Jim Lane, hastily assemble a motley crew of just over a hundred men and garrison them in the East Room at the White House. Dubbed the Frontier Guard, these rough-and-tumble patriots steel themselves for the inevitable attack.
But even as dawn breaks with no Rebel strike, a single act of violence intrudes within the White House. One of the Frontier Guard lies dead in the oval library, throat slit ear to ear. There is a murderer among them.
Lincoln promptly assigns Quinn to deal with the matter, who is in turn aided by journalist Sophie Gates and Dr. George Hilton. And to Quinn’s chagrin, the Southern belle Constance Lemagne insists on being involved in the investigation as well. But when Dr. Hilton examines the body, he makes a startling discovery that overturns all Quinn’s assumptions about the murder. With his president at grave risk from without and within, Quinn must act quickly to catch the White House killer . . .
Set in April 1861, Gleason's lackluster sequel to 2017's Murder in the Lincoln White House finds the residents of Washington, D.C., bracing for what everyone fears will be a successful assault by Confederate troops on a city sorely in need of military reinforcements. As presidential aide Adam Speed Quinn works with Kansas senator Jim Lane to buttress the White House's meager defenses, the president's vulnerability to attack is shockingly underscored when someone slits the throat of Johnny Thorne, a member of the Kansas Freedom Guard assigned to protect Lincoln, in the residence's library. Adam investigates, assisted again by intrepid reporter Sophie Gates. Their sleuthing is bolstered by an obvious clue, and despite the setup's inherent drama, suspense is at a minimum. Gleason succeeds in capturing the tensions of the nation's capital in the aftermath of the firing on Fort Sumter, but those interested in Civil War era mysteries would be better served by Owen Parry's Abel Jones series.