The Custer Conspiracy is my first experience with a Tom “Mac” McGuire mystery. Then again, it’s only the second book in the series. Looks like I’ve discovered a new world to explore and enjoy.
To be fair, San Francisco homicide detective McGuire isn’t especially remarkable on his own merits. He is principled, experienced, professional, and focused. Mostly. He’s also very human, capable of having his head turned by at least one pretty face. I’d find it hard to resist CIA agent Katellyn Murray myself. Sometimes, his judgement calls aren’t the best. Still, I’d hire the man if I needed someone with his skillset.
What distinguishes The Custer Conspiracy is a very unique setup and very surprising storyline. Is it possible a conspiracy was created back in 1876 to allow Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer to fake his death at the Little Big Horn? Why would this have happened? Why was the cover-up necessary? Could Custer really have lived in France until the outbreak of World War I?
More important than this historical mystery to McGuire and an increasingly larger and larger circle of government agents and law enforcement officers , why would keeping this 140 year old secret so important that an unknown group is killing anyone who comes close to learning the truth? All these years later, who could be harmed if this conspiracy would be revealed? And how does all this connect to post-9/11 national security?
I admit liking the supporting cast of characters very much, in particular Vinnie Delgado who essentially serves as McGuire’s number two. All the players are fleshed out and sketched with believable backgrounds and personalities. But I suspect what will draw most readers to The Custer Conspiracy is the premise, and then by the continual twists and turns that really kick in during the book’s second half. The book has the best epilogue I’ve ever read, but I’m not providing any spoilers here. I must say there ar a number of very predictable elements to the book, including the opening chapter of an assassination at the present-day Little Big Horn followed by so many elements cascading into the mix thereafter. Like many another political thriller, a murder investigation attracts the interests of powerful government figures who lend assistance to McGuire and his team while dealing with a mole in the State Department.
Looks like I got to Go back and read book one of the series, The Oath, which came out in May 2016. It might explain some of the events alluded to throughout Tom McGuire’s second mystery. Then, we can all look forward to book number three.
First published at BookPleasures.com on July 2, 2017: