The Shut Mouth Society
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The Shut Mouth Society

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  264 ratings  ·  57 reviews
When a rich Santa Barbara collector acquires a newly discovered Abraham Lincoln document, he asks detective Greg Evarts and UCLA professor Patricia Baldwin to authenticate it. Their research launches them into a dangerous struggle with a secret society formed during Reconstruction. Before they can solve the mystery surrounding the Lincoln manuscript, a shocking murder forc...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published June 15th 2008 by Wheatmark (first published June 10th 2008)
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Sep 02, 2012 nicole rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to nicole by: Anna
This is a fast-paced, fabulous story!

I don't tend to like stories that meander through the plot--I like a good, focused plot--and Best did not disappoint. There were times when I couldn't put it down. (There were other times when it was more like an action-film, and I did skim some of the "fight scenes"--hence the 4 stars. I would have given it 4.5 stars if I could). The story is well-conceived and well-executed; the writing is excellent. The tension in the story definitely emanated off the page...more
It was Abraham Lincoln (and, by the way, Charles Darwin)'s 200th birthday, and when I saw the whiskerless visage of the Railsplitter peering up at me, the Matthew Brady image slipping off the front cover of this book, I thought for a second about what a truly great president he was, and what a complex person he was as well. I ruminated on the two new biographies on Lincoln I ought to read--the one by African American Studies professor Henry Louis Gates revisiting and critiquing the popular reduc...more
Lauren Gemske
I read a review of this book before I started reading it that suggested that James Best makes syntactical and plot errors that "even Writing 101 students don't make". I couldn't disagree more! The story, centered around the discovery of Abraham Lincoln's political documents and the secret society determined to protect them, is extremely engaging to say the least. The relationship between the two main characters was a bit cheesy, but I could stomach it. I found myself turning the pages (or,, more...more
We're straddling a fence between historical mystery and police thriller here, and the premise should work....Lincoln is a dynamic figure to build a story of intrigue around, not much written material exists of his daily life or inner thoughts, and the many conspiracy theories built around the man should lend credence to yet one more. As the story gains momentum I began to see the possibilities for something new that could be a course-changer for either the near future, our perception of the past...more
I really enjoyed James Best’s western series but I wasn’t sure how well he’d do with a modern thriller, even if it did involve history Da-Vinci-Code-style. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed. The historical details were very interesting and combined with a fictional conspiracy theory and the action of a modern thriller, it worked very well. My only criticism is that there was way too much “relationship” talk between/about the two protagonists. A budding romance is great but the main character sp...more
I checked this book out from the kindle lending library. The cover pictured here is not the cover on the book I got. Mine is like an American flag. I think the cover featuring Abe Lincoln mislead a few people into thinking this book was specifically about Abe. Actually, I'm not really sure what category this book belongs in. There is a conspiracy involving Lincoln's never before seen documents. A secret society that tries to protect these papers and one that wants to steal them. So, we get part...more
Justin Kean
Good Airplane Reading

This book hit the modern thriller high points... secret society, cop who was actually a secret government agent, the beautiful female doctor, and of course a high degree of implausible yet entertaining escapes. Unfortunately it just never succeeds in making you feel tense. There are some fun scene and things move right along, but I read the whole thing on my flight and if it'd been a paperback I'd have just left it on the plane.
Claudia Lovell
Very Enjoyable!

Deciding which book will be your first Kindle download is a big decision. I could not have chosen better! The Shut Mouth Society is a lively and fast paced story -- action, romance, mystery-- there's a little something for everyone in this engaging book. It also gave me an interesting way to think about Lincoln and the years leading up to his Presidency. Well done Mr. Best, I look forward to reading more of your books soon.
I know you should never judge a book by its cover but I just couldn't resist with this one. Doesn't it look intriguing? I love historical fiction so seeing the serious cover and knowing it could give me more insight into the Lincoln days made me excited to read this book. It was probably one of the worst books I've ever read. The first 100 pages were pure action (people running from other people) and a long and slow build up of the discovery of a secret society that held secrets of Lincoln, the...more
Faith Nelson
The Shut Mouth Society by James D. Best is the kind of book I like best.

It starts with a rich collector who has discovered an early Abraham Lincoln document. The collector asks two people to authenticate the manuscript: Greg Evarts, a detective, and Patricia Baldwin, a professor. The professor, of course, is not only smart but stinking rich and beautiful. The novel has everything from intrigue and murder to romance.

The story begins in California and progresses to the historical east coast where...more
What a thriller!! This book really has it all: history, love, suspense - how can you go wrong?!

If you enjoy history and like conspiracy theories, this book is definitely for you. I could not put this book down as I wanted to keep finding out more about the secret society and how everyone was connected. The author did a masterful weaving it all together all the way through the end of the book.

Definitely worth your time!
Anne Ryan
So I love hostorical fiction and I just finished reading "Tempest at Dawn" by Best and gave it a 4-star rating. I am also a fanatic Abraham Lincoln devotee so how could this book miss. Well, it did and in a big way for me.

The book turned out to be an action story with a police detective and professor running from assassins that are part of a drug cartel. The dialogue is "cheesy", something you'd hear on a run-of-the-mill TV detective show. There was little to do with Lincoln other than the prolo...more
I was really disappointed with this one. I had such high hopes for it-an historical novel about Lincoln and the Civil War era. There was a ton of potential. But there was just something lacking, and I don't even know if I know what it was. One thing that irritated me was the lack of use of the character's first names. Both of them were constantly referred to by only their last name and 3/4 of the way through the book I still had to think about whether Baldwin was the girl or the guy. Anyway, I w...more
Kristina Seleshanko
If you pick up this book thinking it's historical fiction, you'll be very disappointed. Only the prologue is. The rest of the book is a modern cop story. I found it interesting at first, as the copy and a college professor attempt to figure out what The Shut Mouth Society is and why they are apparently trying to kill the pair. But once they figure out this mystery, the book is more about shoot outs and action, which isn't really my cup of tea. Still, this is a respectable novel in its category.
Bob Caroti

Interesting concept ... begins in Abraham Lincoln's timeframe and moves on to a present day thriller along the lines of the 'Davinci Code' with clues that need to be followed while bad things happen to good people without anyone knowing why. Definately readable and if you like history, it's a fun read even if it gets a little predictable at the end. Not bad and I'll probably try another by Mr. Best in the future. Enjoy!
while this book did have some stylistic things that would have gotten you marked down in creative writing 101, it had an intriguing story and decently realized characters. i honestly couldn't put it down. it's an interesting idea that was well realized for the most part. if you like historical fiction (this isn't, but it has a lot of history in it) or mysteries, you will probably like this.
Harris Guilmette
Although the title of the book almost turned me off to it, I gave it a chance and was pleasantly surprised. I don't rate many books a five. For a five, the book has to capture my imagination, interest, and be extremely difficult to put down. This novel was all of that and more. I was especially caught up in the multiple interpretations of the writings of Lincoln. An intriguing perspective.
This book will keep you on the edge of your seat. I absolutely loved it. I wasn't sure what type of book to expect when I first got it. I'm not a big believer in conspiracy theories, but this fast paced defective thriller makes you question. The author has done a wonderful job in writing this book. There's not a moment of let up in the action or the suspense.
The Lincoln history was great but this book read like a cheap Da Vinci Code. I could have done without all the stereotypes and the sex and the "love story." I guess that's just me though. Like I've always said, I'm really rough when it comes to fiction because I'm difficult to please. I bet my mom would give this book 5 stars though!
I had just read Killing Lincoln so I thought I would enjoy something else about Lincoln. However, there was little about Lincoln and the secret society mystery wasn't interesting enough to really keep me in the story. There is a lot of action and adventure, and the book will probably appeal to fans of that genre.
Dave Compton
Must have been serendipity to have picked this up at this time of the LIncoln movie and the election nonsense and succession talk. Probably not. I am sad to say I am terrible with American History so this book had my interest and might lead me to read more american history fiction or nonfiction.
What an amazing premise. Secret societies. Secret Lincoln histories and documents. The ancestors of some of America's most prolific political fathers are pulled into a mystery that is part National Treasure part historical fact. I could not put this down and never wanted it to end.
I found this book fascinating. The historical information was good. I loved the intrigue, mystery, romance woven into the story. I feel he had good character development too. The story has twists and turns and kept you reading and wanting to find out what happens next!
Secret documents, historical conspiracies, persecutions... the first 75% kept me guessing and interested, but towards the end, I kinda lost interest, and the principal characters started to annoy me, and I also felt the book was longer than it needed. But overall, it was ok!
John Coe
Good story. Kept me enthralled.
Craig S.
I really enjoyed this book. Great characters, action,adventure, a little romance,a good mystery. If I had an issue it would be the facts about Lincoln became a little overwhelming but I learned a lot and was entertained at the same time. Highly Recommend.
Too bad. James D. Best's Steve Dancy novels set in the Old West are sooooo good, I had high hopes for this novel, but was really disappointed. Nowhere near as engaging and well-written as his other novels.
This was a cross between some Janet Evanovich novels, and The DaVinci Code. The characters were a bit thin and not quite believable, and the plot was predictable. Still, an enjoyable read.
Interesting premise and surprisingly good read. Question some may ask: "is the premise fiction or thinly veiled non-fiction?" Me, I enjoy these alternate history twists and what ifs....

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James D. Best is the author of The Shopkeeper, Leadville, Murder at Thumb Butte, The Return, Tempest at Dawn, Principled Action, The Shut Mouth Society, and The Digital Organization. James has written monthly columns for two magazine and numerous journal articles. He has also ghost written two books and contributed to others.

You can learn more about James and his books at http://jamesdbest.blogspo...more
More about James D. Best...
The Shopkeeper Tempest at Dawn Leadville Murder at Thumb Butte The Return (Steve Dancy Tales, #4)

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