Monday, May 6, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin

Could Steve Sheinkin get any better? Yes, yes he could. I swallowed this book in two lunch times, reading as fast as I could and I can't wait to booktalk it.

Did you know the Secret Service was originally formed to chase down counterfeiters? (I did) Did you know that said counterfeiters hatched an elaborate plot to steal Lincoln's body? (I didn't)

Sheinkin presents a complicated story of counterfeiters, blackmail, grave-robbers, informers, private detectives and politics and pulse-pounding prose. Historical details and context are smoothly woven into the story of the counterfeiters including current politics and the history of Lincoln's monument.

After the Secret Service tracked down one of the most skilled engravers in the counterfeiting trade, the biggest counterfeiting gang hatched a clever scheme to get him back. They decided to steal Lincoln's body and hold it for ransom. While they laid their complicated plans, various Secret Service agents and private detectives were closing in on them, but few believed the rumors of the wild plot. In a final showdown, Lincoln's body was saved but the gang escaped. Additional detective work was needed to track down all those involved in the plot. A final section talks about the history of grave-robbers and some of the weirder stories of their gruesome trade.

There are a lot of different players to keep straight, but Sheinkin's brisk and exciting language keeps the story moving even if you have to refer back to the cast at the beginning now and then. I was reading an unfinished galley, so most of the photos were placeholders, but it looks like there will be quite a few black and white photos included.

Verdict: The history buffs at my library have been big fans of Sheinkin's Bomb and Lincoln's Grave Robbers will appeal to an even wider audience with its eye-catching cover and sensational story. Sheinkin is a master at bringing history to life and making it interesting and thrilling and I highly recommend his latest work.

ISBN: 9780545405720; Published January 2013 by Scholastic; ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter 2013; Purchased for the library


Ms. Yingling said...

I thought this one was especially good. The whole thing with the CIA and counterfeiting was fascinating.

loreeburns said...

My son loved BOMB and BENEDICT ARNOLD; this will be right up his alley. Thanks for the tip!

Loree Burns