Friday, September 9, 2011

Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse, by James L. Swanson

  • Author:  James L. Swanson
  • Purchased at Fox News store in Dulles Airport
  • Started:  8/21/2011
  • Finished:  9/3/2011
My wife and I both read and loved Swanson's earlier work Manhunt: The 12 day chase for Lincoln's Killer, so when I saw this follow up book I knew I'd found the perfect book to read while relaxing in Iceland.  Unfortunately Bloody Crimes is no Manhunt.  Although the "chase" for Jefferson Davis is the lead in the title, the book is really barely about Jefferson Davis, and what is there is again barely related to any chase.  I suppose a book titled "the accidental stumbling upon of Jefferson Davis" wouldn't have had the same ring to it...  All in all the book is really about Lincoln's funeral train.  A topic that I did not find very fascinating, and that based on this book probably deserved a magazine article sized write up, maybe Vanity Fair, and not an entire novel-length work.
I had to force myself to finish this book on the latter part of my vacation in Ocean City, MD, while laying on the beach.  I got through it, but just barely, which is probably the same review I'd have written for any book picked up at an airport newsstand.