In 1902 New York, Alice Roosevelt, the bright, passionate, and wildly unconventional daughter of newly sworn-in President Theodore Roosevelt, is placed under the supervision of Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, ex-cowboy and veteran of the Rough Riders. St. Clair quickly learns that half his job is helping Alice roll cigarettes and escorting her to bookies, but matters grow even more difficult when Alice takes it upon herself to investigate a recent political killing--the assassination of former president William McKinley.
Concerned for her father's safety, Alice seeks explanations for the many unanswered questions about the avowed anarchist responsible for McKinley's death. In her quest, Alice drags St. Clair from grim Bowery bars to the elegant parlors of New York's ruling class, from the haunts of the Chinese secret societies to the magnificent new University Club, all while embarking on a tentative romance with a family friend, the son of a prominent local household.
And while Alice, forced to challenge those who would stop at nothing in their greed for money and power, considers her uncertain future, St. Clair must come to terms with his own past in Alice and the Assassin, the first in R. J. Koreto's riveting new historical mystery series.
Though she has to be without doubt one of the most strong-headed woman in her time, sadly little a has been written about Alice Roosevelt in the historical fiction world. Often she is overshadowed by her father Ol’ Teddy Roosevelt, though there have been a few recent biographies which I feel take a closer look at her life. A true wild child of her time, She answered only to her father and he was a bit busy looking after the free world at the time. Though Author R. J. Koreto has managed to bring her to life, I think the choice to view the story through the bodyguard was a poor choice. To step inside the mind of such a strong-willed woman would have been a joy but to be a part of the shadow instead of the light wasn’t quite what I signed up for.
There have been many books called “Alice and the Assassin” and I think it might have been better titled “Alice and the Anarchists” if only for a change. A well written and enjoyable bit of a mystery, it became obvious too early on, and that tends to make it difficult for me to want to finish a story. I don’t enjoy deus ex machina as mystery enders but solving a mystery with a significant number of pages left leaves me sad and underwhelmed. I look forward to seeing how Alice and St. Clair’s relationship and partnership continues in the next book.