Author: R. J. Koreto
Series: An Alice Roosevelt Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (April 11, 2017)
Description: In 1902 New York, Alice Roosevelt, the bright, passionate, and wildly unconventional daughter of newly sworn-in President Theodore Roosevelt, is placed under the supervision of Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, ex-cowboy and veteran of the Rough Riders. St. Clair quickly learns that half his job is helping Alice roll cigarettes and escorting her to bookies, but matters grow even more difficult when Alice takes it upon herself to investigate a recent political killing--the assassination of former president William McKinley.
Concerned for her father's safety, Alice seeks explanations for the many unanswered questions about the avowed anarchist responsible for McKinley's death. In her quest, Alice drags St. Clair from grim Bowery bars to the elegant parlors of New York's ruling class, from the haunts of the Chinese secret societies to the magnificent new University Club, all while embarking on a tentative romance with a family friend, the son of a prominent local household.
And while Alice, forced to challenge those who would stop at nothing in their greed for money and power, considers her uncertain future, St. Clair must come to terms with his own past in Alice and the Assassin, the first in R. J. Koreto's riveting new historical mystery series.
My Thoughts: This historical mystery stars a seventeen-year-old Alice Roosevelt and her Secret Service bodyguard/nanny Sgt. Joseph St. Clair. It takes place shortly after McKinley's assassination. Alice, fearing for her father's safety, begins her own investigation into McKinley's death. Her search leads her and St. Clair into parts of New York that she hasn't seen before as she investigates anarchists and immigrants from various ethnic groups. Soon, clues lead her and St. Clair to the family of one of her childhood friends - Preston van Schuyler. It seems like the van Schylers might be pushing the boundaries of the business practices of the day. They keep popping up in Alice's investigation.
The story is told by St. Clair who started life as a cowboy in Wyoming with side trips as a lawman in Wyoming to becoming a Rough Rider fighting with Teddy Roosevelt and to the Secret Service as Alice's bodyguard. He is a fascinating character who begins by indulging Alice's curiosity out of a sense of boredom but soon becomes intrigued himself. His cowboy persona hides a sharp man who might just have a couple of blind spots where Alice is concerned.
The novel's settings give the reader a grand tour of New York City in 1902. It also gives a good picture of the social structure of the city at that time. I liked the dynamics between the smart, sheltered and spoiled Alice Roosevelt and St. Clair. I'll admit to stopping in the middle of the story for a bit to research Alice since, while I'd heard of her, I knew little about her.
Fans of historical mysteries will enjoy this engaging and well-told tale.
"What's the Secret Service's interest here?"I got this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.
"They call it the Secret Service," I said. I never get tired of that, but Breen rolled his eyes.