Court for Owls

Richard Adicks, Author Pineapple Press $17.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-910923-65-1
Adicks's debut novel set during and after the Civil War has all the ingredients of a first-rate historical thriller, yet never rises above a stale and flavorless sketch. Much of the problem stems from Adick's flat journalistic account of the events of the war and his inability to dramatize the story's conflicts. The protagonist, Lewis Powell, was the mysterious young man who assaulted Secretary of State William Seward on the night Lincoln was assassinated, and who was accused of complicity in the latter event. Not long after Lewis joins the Florida Jasper Blues in the heady early days of the Confederacy, he has a fateful encounter with John Wilkes Booth and is drawn into a plot to kidnap Lincoln. As portrayed by Adicks, Booth is so absurd and histrionic that his ability to mesmerize Lewis is scarcely credible. Lewis rides though the South creating havoc among the northern troops, visits a variety of whorehouses, is wounded at Gettysburg and conducts ill-fated romances with local belles. While Booth succeeds in ending Lincoln's life, Lewis bungles the attempt to murder Seward in a scene of unusual dullness. In fizzling succession, Lewis is captured, tried and executed and this lackluster novel mercifully comes to an end. (June)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-56164-626-5
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-56164-627-2
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