Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Review: The Assassination of Governor Boggs

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Book Review: The Assassination of Governor Boggs by Rod Miller

Twenty-five years after the attempted assassination of Governor Lilburn Boggs, an outspoken opponent of the early Mormons, his son wants to know who the shooter was. The fact that the governor survived the four bullets that tore through his skull is remarkable; he lived another eighteen years, evidently with his wits intact.

William Boggs of Napa, California hires Pinkerton detective and Civil War veteran Calvin Pogue to find the answer, once and for all: who shot his father? Pogue takes the cold case and literally follows its trail from Missouri to Utah, interviewing anyone he can find who knows about the incident, including Brigham Young himself, and ending with Porter Rockwell, the fear-inspiring former bodyguard of both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Rockwell is also known as a renowed sharpshooter and drinker. Illiterate and a survivalist who could handle horses and cattle with ease, the loyal Rockwell was always considered the chief suspect but was never charged with the crime.

Brigham Young states that in his his opinion Rockwell's innocence is "a certainty- if only, for no other reason, that Boggs survived. Had Port fired the shot, that would not have been the case."

After exhaustive research and interviews Pogue concludes: "When confronted about the attempted killing by this investigator, Rockwell, as is his wont, neither admitted nor denied it directly. Instead he beat around the bush with vague declarations." 

Rockwell sums it up this way: "I never killed that man. And if ever I'd had the chance, I'd have done it again."

The dialogue and written correspondence sound true to the times. Each  character has a distinctive voice, and the historical notes and rich description draw the reader into the story immediately. The sly humor also catches the reader off guard in this lively historical novel. 

A bibliography would be helpful so readers can find actual accounts and articles about this still-unsolved historical mystery.  

At the end, most readers will still wonder "whodunnit." Which makes this book an entertaining and lively whodunnit. With a surprise at the end - --I never saw it coming!

Author Rod Miller describes himself as: poet, novelist, historian, biographer, journalist, essayist, reviewer, screenwriter." He's also an experienced rider and rodeo participant. A visit to his webpage reveals that Rod's work appears in "books and magazines, anthologies and collections, online and on the screen. From poems to stories to articles to opinion, he writes in a variety of styles for various media. His subject matter is, largely, the American West, and he writes about its people and its places, its past and its present."

·       Paperback: 224 pages
·       Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (May 9, 2011)
·       Language: English
·       ISBN-10: 1599558637

Miller then

Miller now

  • The Assassination of Governor Boggs
  • by Rod Miller

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (May 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599558637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599558639


CTW said...

Interesting premise for a book. I wish Miller well.

Diane said...

Ooooh! This sounds like my kind of book! A whodunit with both a western and a historical bent. And about a true crime! Perfect set-up. And a promised twist? This just keeps getting better and better! A must read!
Thank you for this peek!

Rod Miller said...

Janet: From one Aggie to another, I appreciate your review of THE ASSASSINATION OF GOVERNOR BOGGS. All the best to you and your readers. :Rod Miller

"Dustmop" Mark Cheney said...

I will definitely read this book! I visited Gov. Boggs grave site in Napa on the hill behind the Napa Stake Center of the 1960's when I was a boy.
Also agree that a bibliography would be nice with historical novels, but my editors usually discourage that with fiction. Too bad!

Janet Kay Jensen said...

I noticed that another blogger listed Rod's sources in an interview with him. Of course as a work of fiction it's not required, but I always appreciate it. i.e. Gerald Lund with his Work and Glory series. He listed sources and then listed "literary license" sections and characters, too. I didn't know Gov. Boggs was buried in Napa! I still don't know how he survived the injuries, with nary a neurosurgeon in sight!