Oceanview Publishing (2015)
Reviewed by Ben Green for Reader Views (11/15)
I am generally not a huge fan of alternative history. Though I find it interesting as a thought process, the idea of creating stories around it has never really interested me. That being said, “Lincoln's Bodyguard” by TJ Turner is not what I would typically think of as alternative history. Yes, it is set in an alternative historical setting, but the story itself is not particularly exploratory of the world it is set in, as the same story could be told almost anywhere. I actually think the author's choice to do this was very helpful, because it does not require the reader to have a great understanding of actual historical events, allowing people to focus on the story presented in the novel itself.
The story follows Lincoln's bodyguard as he goes on secret missions assigned to him by the President. At its core, “Lincoln’s Bodyguard” is an action/spy thriller set in an alternative Wild West. It is filled with twists, turns, and plenty of action. If you are looking for a fast and exciting read and happen to like westerns with a little more depth than usual, or if you are looking for a spy novel with a unique setting, then look no further as this book delivers both.
The main issue I have with the book, however, is that there is too much going on and some of the story lines in the book do not feel that flushed out. By Chapter 7 or so, I was starting to get frustrated, not because of the twists and turns, or because I was trying to keep track of what was going on, but because the number of people needing saving by the main character was getting irritating. In fact, it felt like I was reading about a character in a video game who, instead of completing one quest at a time, was running around activating them all at once. Because of this, parts of the story seem to drop off and then reappear unnaturally further down the road. While it is clear that the author put a lot of work into trying to spin a good yarn, I personally think it would have turned out better if he had focused on only one or two elements.
“Lincoln's Bodyguard” by TJ Turner is truly an enjoyable story that I had a lot of fun reading. I just feel that it tries to do too much all at once, and the book does in all fairness, suffer for it. Having said that, I think it is an excellent start, and well worth the price and time. I cannot wait for his next book and expect great things to come from Mr. Turner. Overall, I give it 3 out of 5 stars.