Synopsis (from Goodreads):
For the first female Pinkerton detective, respect is hard to come by. Danger, however, is not.
In the tumultuous years of the Civil War, the streets of Chicago offer a woman mostly danger and ruin-unless that woman is Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective and a desperate widow with a knack for manipulation.
Descending into undercover operations, Kate is able to infiltrate the seedy side of the city in ways her fellow detectives can’t. She’s a seductress, an exotic foreign medium, or a rich train passenger, all depending on the day and the robber, thief, or murderer she’s been assigned to nab.
Inspired by the real story of Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective’s rise during one of the nation’s greatest times of crisis, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.
This was one of those books with a phenomenally written female protagonist. She was feisty, smart, and resourceful, and took no crap from anyone. The fact that this woman really existed and truly was the first female detective only made it that much better. If you want to read a book with a strong female lead, this is definitely the book for you.
Macallister did a great job of bringing Warne to life. I had never heard of her prior to this book, but after I finished it I jumped online and looked her up. That’s when I realized that not only was this book based on a real woman, but it was also based on actual cases that she had worked on. How cool is that?? I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not a huge history buff, but I was totally intrigued by this story and the window it provided me into a piece of history that I was completely unaware of. I absolutely love it when a book teaches me something, and Macallister scored major points in that department.
The story really picked up for me in the second half when Lincoln (yes, that Lincoln) entered the story. (She knew Lincoln!) I felt like that’s when the story hit its stride and the momentum really began to build. By the time the story ended, I was sad to say goodbye to Kate and the Pinkerton gang. I was starting to feel like an honorary detective and was didn’t want our adventures to be over. 🙂 I’m recommending this book to anyone who loves strong, well-written female characters/protagonists, and historical fiction.
P.S. Can we take a moment to admire that gorgeous cover?
About the author (from her website):
Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist who earned her MFA in Creative Writing from American University. Her debut novel THE MAGICIAN’S LIE was a USA Today bestseller, an Indie Next pick, and a Target Book Club selection. It has been optioned for film by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films. Her new novel GIRL IN DISGUISE, about America’s first female private detective, is forthcoming from Sourcebooks in March 2017.
Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for providing me with an advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.