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A Killing At Ball's Bluff
by Michael Kilian

Category: Fiction / Mystery
384 pages; ISBN: 0425178048

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


In 1861, the initial encounter of the Civil War is fired at Fort Sumter and the South wins the first real encounter at Manassas. Harrison Raines, son of a Virginia plantation landholder who owns slaves, broke with his family and now resides in the federally controlled Washington DC. Area. In order to prove his loyalty to the northern cause and his anathema towards slavery, Harry allows Pinkerton to induct him as a captain in the newly formed Secret Service.

Few know what Harry does for a living as he acts as if he is a southern sympathizer. When he is almost killed, Harry retreats to his horse farm to wait safely for further instructions, which comes from his friend Templeton Saylor. Harry must go to Ball’s Bluff to guard Colonel Baker, who dies anyway in the heat of battle. Harry is accused of treason and jailed, but escapes. He knows he is a man without a country neither the Union nor the Confederacy wanting him unless he can prove his innocence or guilt.

Although this novel is labeled a “Harrison Raines Civil War Mystery”, the tale is really more a spy thriller than a who-done-it, though detective elements are in the tale. The plot contains agents, double agents, traitors, and an assortment of support cast abetting the spies. Actions run the gamut with dishonor not uncommon. Michael Kilian’s novel contain some of the most fascinating war drama scenes, vividly and authentically described so that the audience can picture Spielberg saving Harry Raines.

Harriet Klausner


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