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The Shut Mouth Society

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  417 Ratings  ·  64 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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Jul 29, 2015 nicole rated it really liked it  ·  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
Mar 19, 2009 Scot rated it liked it
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
Jul 24, 2012 Lauren Gemske rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
L S Hardy
Jan 26, 2016 L S Hardy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where history and and mystery meet

The Shut Mouth Society has something for both the history lover and the mystery lover, so it is perfect for anyone who is both. Set in modern day America, the mystery could come right out of the headlines: drug cartels, political intrigue, money laundering, and racism.
All of this is triggered by the discovery of secret societies dating back to the Civil War and Reconstruction. The basic premise of the story is the little known fact that our beloved 16th preside
Rebecca Graf
Jun 10, 2015 Rebecca Graf rated it it was amazing
A police detective is asked to bring a renowned Lincoln specialist to a friend’s house who might have a document belonging to Lincoln that had never been seen before. Mysterious directions about a secret society are dismissed until a heinous murder occurs. Then both the detective and the professor find themselves running for their lives.

This was a very enjoyable read that had me reading until I had absorbed the last word. Everything was kept in the dark and pulling me along wanting to know more.
Aug 09, 2014 Carolyn rated it really liked it
4 1/4 stars. Really like historical fiction because is learn a lot while enjoying a good story.
Mar 04, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
A mix between National Treasure and The Da Vinci Code...

I got this as a free Kindle book years ago and finally decided to read it. Plot-wise, it's pretty good, but the writing is kind of clunky in places. I'm sure it's a quirk of the kindle edition, but there were definite typos or weird words. For example, it said "rhubarb" once where I'm pretty sure it was supposed to say "hubbub". I also take issue to "Columbians" vs. "Colombians" since an editor should have caught that.

Anyway, the story is p
Feb 03, 2012 Dave rated it it was ok
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
Oct 28, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 15, 2009 Alicia rated it did not like it
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
Apr 09, 2016 Jean rated it it was amazing
This novel impressed me so much. I already have enjoyed some of James D. Best's historical western fiction and think highly of him. Still, I was unprepared for how quickly I got caught up in this novel and how difficult it was to put down. There's plenty of action: murders, conspiracy, escapes, a bit of romance and so on, along with history lessons. I highly recommend it!
Faith Nelson
Apr 14, 2013 Faith Nelson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
May 19, 2015 Tracy rated it did not like it
It took me forever to finish this book - I found it plodding and boring... I'm not a huge fan of writing styles that say a lot of things that don't need to be said. 'He walked to the phone. He lifted the receiver. He heard the dial tone. He dialed the number.' There was way too much of that for me.
Bill Main
Apr 11, 2016 Bill Main rated it liked it
Best's Tempest at Dawn is a favorite of mine. This morning he offered a deal on twitter to read this. After spending months on research, I think I'm going to enjoy this guilty pleasure. Thank you Mr. Best!
Jan 25, 2014 Martha rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 09, 2012 Anne Ryan rated it it was ok
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
May 04, 2009 Tina rated it it was ok
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
Oct 10, 2012 Kristina Seleshanko rated it liked it
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
Jul 20, 2012 Bob Caroti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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!
Bob Ely
Oct 14, 2015 Bob Ely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining book. I liked the historical perspective that was brought in.
Nov 09, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2010
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
Feb 28, 2013 Harris Guilmette rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 21, 2012 Elise rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 05, 2009 Selena rated it it was ok
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
Nov 20, 2012 Dave Compton rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 11, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing
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.
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James Best is the author of the bestselling Steve Dancy Tales: The Shopkeeper, Leadville, Murder at Thumb Butte, The Return, and Jenny's Revenge. His other novels include Tempest at Dawn and The Shut Mouth Society. Principled Action and The Digital Organization are his nonfiction books. James has ghost written three books, authored two regular magazine columns, and published numerous journal artic ...more
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“good convention, with the military class and the” 1 likes
“He suspended habeas corpus, arrested newspaper editors, jailed Northerners without hearings or trials, bypassed Congress, ignored the Supreme Court, and even arrested a member of Congress. He justified these violations as part of the Executive’s War Powers and claimed that he violated the Constitution for the sole purpose of protecting it.” 0 likes
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