A murder aboard a steamboat forces Abraham Lincoln to make a fateful choiceone on which the future of the nation may hang, if his client doesn’t firstin this gripping follow-up to critically acclaimed author Jonathan Putnam’s “masterfully crafted” (Alex Grecian) debut, These Honored Dead.
Newly minted trial lawyer Abraham Lincoln is riding the circuit, traveling by carriage with other lawyers and a judge to bring justice to the remote parts of Illinois. Meanwhile, Lincoln’s close friend Joshua Speed steams up the Mississippi River aboard a steamboat owned by Speed’s father. Suddenly, his journey is interrupted when a rigged card game turns to violenceand then murder.
Speed enlists Lincoln to defend the accused, but soon they come to discover that more than just the card games are crooked aboard the Speed family’s ship. As the day of judgment hurtles toward them, Lincoln must fight to save the life of his client while also preserving the cause he holds so dear.
Meticulously researched and deftly plotted, Jonathan F. Putnam’s second Lincoln and Speed mystery, Perish from the Earth , revolves around a true historical murder that, while nearly forgotten today, was one of the most infamous crimes of the nineteenth century and played a key role in driving the nation toward civil war.
About the Author
Jonathan F. Putnam is a writer and attorney. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he is a nationally renowned trial lawyer and avid amateur Lincoln scholar. He currently lives with his family in London, England. This is his second Lincoln and Speed mystery.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Perish From The Earth is the secnd book in the Lincoln & Speed Mystery series bu Jonathan F. Putnam and even though I haven't read the first book (yet) it felt like it was a stand alone story. In Perish From The Earth you spend some time riding on a ship with Joshua Speed. As he is on the ship conducting business for his father who owns the ship, he witnesses a heated arguement between the gambler on the ship and a cotton planter. The cotton planter Jones, loses all his money and causes a big scene until he is escorted back to his room by one of the crew members. Once back on land Speed meets up with good friend circuit lawyer, Abraham Lincoln. While out for a walk by the river the two of them come across a rather large bundle. Upon closer examination they are shocked to find it is a body..... a body that Speed knows. It is the cotton planter Jones from the ship. Then a short time later an arrested is made for the murder. A traveling artist Bingham who was also on the ship is arrested in front of Speed and Lincoln and Lincoln quickly convinces Bingham to appoint his as his lawyer. Lincoln is given 3 weeks in order to obtain evidence proving his client's innocence. Speed and his sister Martha travel the river talking to whoever they can to help Lincoln win his case. This book was very interesting to read. You got a glimpse into the slavery aspect of the time, traveled a steamboat, and met a lot of interesting characters without leaving the comforts of your living room. I love when a book is so good that the story takes you away and Perish From The Earth does just that !! You will enjoy the journey that Joshua and Martha take and you will truly love the twists and turns as you get into the middle of the trial of Bingham.
I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel from Netgalley, Jonathan F. Putnam, and Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me. In this day and time of political turmoil, unrest and blatant racism, a review of President Lincoln's speech addressing the Young Men's Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838 is very relevant. It is offered as a Historical Note in this novel. The importance of 'rule of law' is vital to ALL of our freedoms and safety. I have always been interested in Abraham Lincoln and his time in history, and this novel based on his days as an eager new lawyer riding the circuit with his friend Joshua Speed is a fast and enlightening read.Jonathan F. Putnam put in a great amount of time with researching this time, place, and people, and he shares with us much of that in the endnote. This is a book I am happy to recommend to friends and family.
Meet the characters who just might be responsible for the murder of a man who was angry over losing the possible love of his life: The Gambler – a man who deals cards with an unheard-of speed and who sweats up a storm when one person figures out his tricks and lets others know. A Drunken Fool – a man who is mourning something but not sober enough to speak about what it is but drunk enough to lash out at anyone who approaches him. A young Artist who can sketch anyone’s facial image or a focused setting in moments but who can’t seem to make a living beyond that skill. A Barkeep doling out drinks and scanning the crowd for trouble and maybe something or someone else. A Dandy dressed “to the nines” with a Negro servant quietly knitting but also watching everyone quite carefully. A vivacious Actress dressed in red who graces all with her becoming, fluttering eye glances. The victim – John W. Jones of Ames Manor, Nashville, TN of the doughy face and passionate nature. Joshua Speed – the investigator who assists Abe Lincoln in solving the crime of Jones’s murder Abraham Lincoln- lawyer, fierce advocate of abolition of the slaves, who with Speed investigates the murder. As legal cases in Nashville are heard on a “circuit” system, Lincoln and Speed have little time to solve the murder mystery or the accused perpetrator will have to wait almost another year before going on trial, a year in a jail that is cold and cruel enough to kill anyone. It turns out Speed’s father owns the ship where these nefarious characters are traveling and interacting. The card game is obviously rigged but for what purpose. The money Speed is supposed to collect is supposedly unavailable and so one realizes there’s something about this steamboat and its members that’s hiding something nefarious. Speed must clear his own name since it’s guilt by association. One also notices that guilt is quickly assigned based on the conjectures of both witnesses and acquaintances of any of these characters. Perish from the Earth… is a fine mystery that keeps the interest consistent through the whole tale and makes the reader want to read more about this duo who have sharp sleuthing skills and a passion for ending wrongdoing. Lincoln’s passion for ending slavery is a subplot that only adds to the suspense. Nicely done, Jonathan F. Putnam!