Reviews for Chasing Lincoln's Killer

Booklist Reviews 2008 December #1
Based on Manhunt (2006), his New York Times adult best-seller, Swanson provides a fast-paced account of the assassination of the sixteenth president and the gripping 12-day hunt for John Wilkes Booth and his fellow conspirators that followed. Though Booth remains his principal focus, the author cuts cinematically among the actions of the other conspirators. This device succeeds in building suspense but sometimes proves awkward and confusing, especially where chronology is concerned. Worse, there is no appended matter--no index, no notes on sources, no bibliography, no time line. As a result, statements like "It was the most beautiful night in the history of the capital," or "Jones eyes lit up," or "It was one of the happiest days of his life" are unsourced. The subject matter remains intrinsically fascinating, however, and Swanson s colorful account will hold readers interest throughout. The inclusion of period photographs and documents adds further immediacy to the story. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 January #2
The 2009 bicentennial of Lincoln's birth has spawned a large crop of books about his life and presidency. Swanson offers an exhaustive look at his death and the 12-day search for his killer, including a discussion of Booth's motivations and descriptions of the parts played by others involved in the plot. Redacted from the author's 2006 bestseller Manhunt, this version features reproductions of photographs, articles and other archival material, as well as quotations liberally sprinkled throughout. Readers will find the list of the people involved a terrific help in keeping track of the large cast of characters. The sequence of events leading up to and following the assassination is meticulously detailed, sometimes graphically enough that some readers may be disconcerted, though others may be ghoulishly fascinated. Whether young readers will share the enthusiasm of their elders for the blow-by-blow description of this convoluted tale remains to be seen. If they do, this comprehensive examination should answer all of their questions. Sadly, except for one brief note attesting to the authenticity of the dialogue, there are no sourcing statements. (map) (Nonfiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 January #2

The YA version of Swanson's bestselling Manhunt, this account of Lincoln's assassination and the 12-day search for his killer reads like a historical thriller, no matter that the narrative jumps among its locations and characters. As President Lincoln delivers victory speeches in April 1865, an enraged John Wilkes Booth vows death: "Now, by God, I'll put him through." Every bit of dialogue is said to come from original sources, adding a chill to the already disturbing conspiracy that Swanson unfolds in detail as Booth persuades friends and sympathizers to join his plot and later, to give him shelter. The author gives even the well-known murder scene at Ford's Theatre enough dramatic flourish to make the subject seem fresh. While Lincoln lays dying, Booth's accomplices clumsily attempt to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Booth talks his way past a guard meant to bar him from crossing a bridge into Maryland. In focusing on Booth, the author reveals the depth of divisions in the nation just after the war, the disorder within the government and the challenges ahead. Abundant period photographs and documents enhance the book's immediacy. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 January

Gr 5 Up--This volume is an adaptation of Swanson's Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer (HarperCollins, 2006). Divided into 14 chapters and an epilogue, the sentences are shorter and chapters are condensed from the original but the rich details and suspense are ever present. Lacking are a bibliography and a notes section. Excellent black-and-white illustrations complement the text. Devoted to the South, John Wilkes Booth had planned to kidnap Lincoln and hold him hostage, but when that plan did not materialize, he hatched his assassination plot. Co-conspirators in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia helped him escape and evade capture for 12 days before being surrounded in a barn and killed. Readers will be engrossed by the almost hour-by-hour search and by the many people who encountered the killer as he tried to escape. It is a tale of intrigue and an engrossing mystery. With the approaching bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, this is a most welcome addition to all libraries.--Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley College, Mt. Carmel, IL

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