"Putnam's well-researched first novel...does a fine job presenting a recognizable young Abraham Lincoln."
--Publishers Weekly starred review
"[A] well-researched debut mystery... Eye-opening historical details on hunting runaway slaves and 19th-century poorhouses will interest readers who enjoy works by Caleb Carr and E.L. Doctorow."
"Lawyer Putnam bases his debut novel on a solid historical foundation...in the first of what looks to be a winning historical-mystery series."
“This book is a time machine, and the mystery at its core is equally elegant and brutal. Just like our history. But, man, is it fun to root for Abraham Lincoln.”
--Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of The President’s Shadow
"What a splendid debut novel! Jonathan Putnam combines an historian’s understanding of character and context with a remarkable narrative drive that kept me fascinated from start to finish as I tried to figure out how the mystery would unfold. I read history during the days and mysteries every night before going to sleep, so for me, These Honored Dead was one of the most enjoyable works of fiction I have read in a long time."
--Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Bully Pulpit
"Putnam combines the historical fact of a lifelong friendship with lively fiction in a debut set on the edge of the American frontier."
"Putnam takes the real-life friendship of Lincoln and Speed and spins a wonderful fictional history of their first years together... A well-researched book that will appeal to fans of historical fiction, and a book that should be on a Lincoln buff’s reading list."
--Historical Novel Society
"These Honored Dead feels so completely authentic that it might very well be a recovered journal from the nineteenth century, peopled with true-life investigators named Lincoln and Speed. But the pacing is so assured, and the mystery is so intriguing that it can't be anything but a masterfully crafted modern novel. Jonathan Putnam has crafted the most gripping debut in years, and I can't wait to read his next book."
--Alex Grecian, national bestselling author of the Scotland Yard Murder Squad series
"Young Mr. Lincoln makes a crackerjack detective. He and the narrator, Speed, are a fine Holmes and Watson. Putnam's book is historical mystery at its best."
--Will Thomas, Barry and Shamus Award-nominated author of Anatomy of Evil
"Anatomy of a Murder, frontier-style; Lincoln lives again in this sharp and engaging period mystery. Great characters, solid research, and effective twists."
--Stephen Gallagher, critically-acclaimed author of The Kingdom of Bones and The Bedlam Detective
About the Author
Jonathan F. Putnam is a nationally renowned trial lawyer and avid amateur Lincoln scholar. He has a degree in history from Harvard College and a law degree from Harvard Law School, from which he graduated first in his class. For many years he was a trial lawyer and partner at a large firm in New York City. American Lawyer magazine profiled him as one of the top young trial lawyers in America.
Lloyd James (a.k.a. Sean Pratt) has been narrating since 1996 and has recorded over six hundred audiobooks. He is a seven-time winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. His critically acclaimed performances include Elvis in the Morning by William F. Buckley Jr. and Searching for Bobby Fischer by Fred Waitzkin, among others.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A very fine book.
3.5 stars "These Honored Dead" is told from the first-person point-of-view of Joshua Speed, who runs a store in a small western town in Illinois. The book begins when a brand new lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, comes into town needing a place to stay and ends up sharing a bed with Speed. Lincoln has a relatively small role until about halfway through the book, and it is thus mostly about Speed, his relationships and activities. Rebecca is a widow in town who has been meeting with Speed, but won't marry him for love- she knows what she needs is money. She has two young charges who are killed one after the other, and she is accused of their murders. Speed is the only one who comes to her defense and tries to solve the murders. He hits a great dead-ends. The story picks up when more evidence comes to light and the trial begins- with Lincoln as the defense attorney. The majority of the case occurs in the courtroom. While interesting, I think it was mostly solved by accident and coincidence, not by detective skills or acumen. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but found the large majority of the trial pieces to be somewhat dry and many of them did not add information to the case for the reader, so I feel that this could have been shortened. I would have liked more of the interactions outside of the case between Lincoln and Speed- it's known historically that they were great friends, so it would have been nice to see their relationship build. I felt throughout the book that they were like strangers who happened to see each other for this case. The historical context at the end was helpful, and I wish the story had been more embellished. It's still engaging, however, and I read all the way to the satisfying end where the correct person is caught/we learn what actually happened. Please note that I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through netgalley.
I really enjoyed this book, well written and the history was great, I look forward to more from this author.