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Pinkerton's Secret: A Novel (John MacRae Books)

2.84  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  20 reviews
This romantic adventure conjures up the passionate life story of the Civil War era's legendary private eye, recounting dramatic exploits and his clandestine love affair with his partner

Allan Pinkerton's story opens in Chicago on the eve of the American Civil War. After battling con men, train robbers, and vicious gunmen, Pinkerton senses that change is in the air. Already
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2008)
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Average rating 2.84  · 
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 ·  88 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Mar 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
Alright. I admit, I didn't get past the first chapter. I have a problem with the F word. The rest was reflective of the first chapter and was obviously a very shallow book. I flipped through it and the writing was shallow, the plot was see-through and I pretty much didn't bother with it after leafing through it. Also, I was pretty disappointed when I realized it wasn't factually based. Blech! ...more
Carl Brookins
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it

"I am the greatest criminal detective of the age.” Possibly a real quote from the founder of possibly the first private detective agency in the nation. Alan Pinkerton certainly had the ego to allow such a statement from his lips. There are other outrageous self-serving quotes on the dust jacket of this fine and enjoyable novel. Yes, it is fiction.
The fictional account of the life and career of Alan Pinkerton from his birth in Scotland to his modeling of the Secret Service and strike-breaking act
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dime novel fans
Recommended to Eric by: Library
Shelves: western
I was in the local library returning a book on CD for my mother (I hadn't been to the library in almost a decade), and I saw this novel near the checkout line. I've always found the Wild West interesting (HBO's Deadwood was a favorite of mine), so I picked it up and took it out.

I looked here on Goodreads and saw that the reviews were not flattering, and almost didn't read it. But it was not a long book, and I didn't want to return it without reading it, so I started it anyway, fearing it would b
Sep 21, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a very enjoyable fictional account, narrated in the first person by Pinkerton, of the beginning of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. It's an adventure story, a love story, and offers interesting looks into the times of the Civil War and most especially, a very different take on Abraham Lincoln and his role in the emancipation of the slaves. ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Although this book was nothing like what I imagined, I found it to be very interesting and engaging. I was a refreshing contrast to another book that I am reading in small spurts. I know that I am going counter to the average opinion, but I think this is worth at least a "3.5" if not a full "4.0".

Here we get to see the life of the first organized and effective detecive force. Although I knew that Pinkerton had been around for the Civil War, I did not know much about him or his organization. (Exc
April Helms
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults
A fictionalized account of the relationship between Allan Pinkerton, who founded the Pinkerton Agency, and Kate Warne, the agency's first female detective. The action of the novel is set right before the Civil War, when the Pinkerton Agency really started to take off, conducting undercover work to root out Confederate spies. The story is told from Allan Pinkerton's point of view. I don't know enough about Allan Pinkerton to say how much of his personality is the author's conjecture and how much ...more
Jan 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
I purposely read an entire book before glancing at the author's bio at the back of the book. Had I looked at Eric Lerner's bio first before reading this book I probably would not have read the book - the man wrote Bird On a Wire... you know, with Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn? Now, I have fond memories of watching that movie on TBS back in the day, more than once, but let's face it - it's a ridiculous movie.

That said, this book (Lerner's first novel), was equally ridiculous. As one can determine fr
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
I randomly picked up this book at the library and (unfortunately) read some very negative reviews on goodreads about 1/3 of the way through. Nevertheless, I did like the book, even the ending, from the point of view of the story. I do like historical fiction to generally stay true to the known facts, however, and this book does not at the end. A brief review of Wikipedia indicates that much of the stories are true, but not the various endings, which is disappointing. So I might rate it more of a ...more
I liked this book and especially the historical aspect of how pinkerton detective agency came into being. The book started to drag about two thirds of the way through. I thought the author spent too much time on the civil war and the development of the relationship between Allen Pinkerton and Kate Warne. It was almost as if the author suddenly remembered that he had to end the book and you were left hanging. Still it was a good read and enjoyable and for someone who likes historical fiction they ...more
Jul 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
I've long been interested in the Pinkerton Agency, but this book was something of a disappointment. It focuses on the agency's founding & early years & on the role of its first female agent. Told in first person with the narrator's superior attituted, Pinkerton comes across as an idealistic, heroic, if self-centered & self-important figure who played key roles in the Underground Railroad, protecting Lincoln, & rooting out traitors & corrupt businessmen during the Civil War ...more
Apr 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
Although I enjoyed the overall premise of this book, I found the narrator (and the author) a bit too smug. The book focuses on the beginnings of the Pinkerton Agency, shown through the eyes of Allen Pinkerton, and the story of his female detective. Historically, the book was interesting, but by the end of the story, I had decided that I really didn't care what happened to Pinkerton himself. ...more
Aug 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Jkrentz
I struggled between a 3 and a 4 in rating this book... I think the ending made it more of a 3 for me. It was fascinating and thrilling until about 3/4 of the way to the end, then I felt that the author wasn't sure how to conclude. However... it did make me rethink Civil War times (like how history has written history in Lincoln's favor?) and dream of a little adventure. ...more
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Pinkerton's Secret is a love story that conjures up the passionate life of the Civil War's legendary private eye. He recounts his dramatic exploits and his affair with his partner, the first female detective. ...more
Mar 21, 2008 added it
minus five stars.

A very crude book.

It is unknown what Mr. Lerner has against Mr. Pinkerton to write such a crude book about him. Or maybe, it is the influence of all those years spent in Hollywood.

Do not waste your time on this book.
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
Good novel, slightly choppy, but fun to imagine a woman in a man's world who fit so adeptly. Plus I missed my calling as a private eye. ...more
Sep 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
I didn't love this book. It could have been a very interesting book except for all the gratuitous language (That I am sure was not really used in those days) and the sex. It was a little much. ...more
Sue Hara
Includes interesting bits of Civil War history and the Pinkerton Detective Agency's role. ...more
May 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
The good thing about this book is that it taught me I want to read a biography of Pinkerton. Otherwise, it dragged.
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2008
I dont really recommend this book. I didnt like it. I'm not sure why I finished it. Maybe I figured out 1/2 way through I didnt like it, but just wanted to finish? ...more
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Mar 18, 2009
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Jul 18, 2013
rated it it was ok
May 11, 2013
rated it it was ok
Nov 15, 2008
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Nov 02, 2011
rated it it was ok
Feb 02, 2011
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Mar 09, 2014
Cathy Miller
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Jul 18, 2019
Francois Arsenault
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Jul 07, 2011
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Jan 28, 2012
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