Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

Have you ever considered why anyone would want to rob a person’s body from a cemetery? The title of this book, Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, captured my attention.  The cover design and the description on the back of the book were misleading. I expected a fictional suspenseful mystery and realized it was actually a  historical nonfiction book as I read it. The plot involved robbers planning to steal President Lincoln’s body, an undercover agent, and the Secret Service agents who swore to defend the Government.

This crime thriller, which took place in the 1870s, included coney money. Coney money was fake money. At the age of 20, Ben Boyd became an expert at designing and  carving counterfeit plates. These twenty and fifty dollars plates were used to print nearly $265,000 in fake bills.  This is equal to nearly six million dollars in today’s currency!   Eventually, he was caught and thrown in jail. Ben Boyd’s skills were valued by other coney men who wanted  him to make them rich by printing even more fake money. The ringleader of this notorious gang, Big Jim planned to steal President Lincoln’s body and exchange it for Ben Boyd’s release from prison. Readers will have to read several chapters to discover how the thieves planned to steal the coffin and whether or not they were successful.

Even though this book was based on true events, it was not an exciting to read. The author’s  writing style was dry and dull . Sheinkin could have described the coney money in a couple of chapters instead of  half the book.  There are too many names that didn’t connect with what was happening. Almost every sentence introduced a new person, but the author did not reference them very often.  Also, Big Jim comes and goes so it was really hard to keep track of him and his role. In conclusion, the way Steven Sheinkin writes is not a style that interests me, so  I will not be rereading or recommending this book.

Author:Steve Sheinkin

Genre: American History