A Compelling Murder Mystery Left Over From the Civil War  

It is April 1898 and America’s eyes are focused on the new century and to the war with Spain that was sure to come.  For many, the new century promised to be one of innovation and progress.   Telephones and electricity were already making their appearance in homes and offices, and rumors abounded about the “horseless carriage” which would eventually make its appearance as well.  But not all Americans were focused on the new century, or on the prospect of a war with Spain.  Some lived their lives with one foot planted firmly in the dark days of the Civil War. 

Like Pat Tinen, for example; an aging Civil War officer and Union hero at Gettysburg who was living his final days in a National Soldiers’ Home in Virginia. His was a life condemned to endless days of numbing boredom; until he learned that his son and daughter-in-law were brutally murdered. 

This is where J. D. Solomon’s compelling and well written book “The Tinen Killings” begins.  The task of investigating the murder of Pat Tinen’s son falls to Sheriff Jed Roberts, the son of a Confederate officer killed in Pickett’s Charge. Unlike Tinen, Roberts has no real interest in the past, but instead, has his eyes firmly on a future run for Congress. But the murder of Tinen’s son has evoked such shock and outrage within the community that unless Roberts solves this brutal crime, his chances of being elected to Congress are slim.  Like most murder mysteries, the plot is complicated and riddled with inconvenient truths.

For example, Tinen’s son, a failed Klondike prospector, is murdered after a clumsy attempt to blackmail a powerful financier. The question is, of course, who is this financier and why was he being blackmailed? After a series of red herrings and false starts, Roberts deduces that his man is in Philadelphia, and that’s where most of the story takes place. 

It is also the place where Roberts meets Tinen’s estranged daughter, a clever and resourceful woman who proves to be enormously helpful in identifying the financier. Meanwhile, the financier has his own troubles, caused by double-dealing dating back to the Civil War. As Roberts draws closer to his prey, the financier calls on a network of murderers and thieves in his employ to stop Roberts’ investigation at all costs.

It is this part of the book that is the most exciting and readable.  It is not often that a reader can take an enjoyable and informative journey through post Civil War American history while reading a page turning mystery rich with interesting characters and well written dialogues; but “The Tinen Killings” by J. D. Solomon does all that and more.  It is a great read, and I highly recommend it. 

 You can find your copy of The Tinen Killings at Amazon.

Title:  The Tinen Killings  

Author:  J. D. Solomon  

Publisher:  BookSurge Publishing  

Publisher Address:  7290 B. Investment Drive, Charleston, South Carolina  

Publisher Phone Number and URL:  1-866-308-6235, www.booksurge.com   

ISBN, Price, Publication Date:  1-4196-8926-6, $19.99, March 2008  

Reviewed by: Ron Standerfer  

Ron Standerfer is a freelance writer and photographer who is a frequent contributor to Blogger News Network.  His latest novel, The Eagle’s Last flight chronicles the life of an Air Force fighter pilot during the Cold War and Vietnam years.  Details of the book can be found on www.theeagleslastflight.com.  

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