McKinley assassination provides setting for ‘Shadows’

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July 10, 2019 - 11:03 AM

Americans have a fascination for conspiracy theories, particularly those involving a presidential assassination. In the novel “Assassin of Shadows,” author Lawrence Goldstone uses perhaps the least known presidential assassination, that of William McKinley, as a springboard for the plot. 

After anarchist Leon Czolgosz shoots the president at the Pan American Exposition in 1901, Secret Service agents Walter George and Harry Swayne are sent to investigate. George, in particular, is dogged in his pursuit of the truth despite encountering a large number of people who don’t want him to complete his job. He becomes convinced that Czolgosz was just the front man for a conspiracy of anarchists, perhaps involving the most famous one of all, Emma Goldman, who in real life was a political ally of Czolgosz.

Vivi seemingly has what is to her the perfect life: working in London at a job that has her traveling the world, a beautiful apartment, and a handsome boyfriend. Then in “One Minute Later” by Susan Lewis, it all comes crashing down. At her 27th birthday party she suddenly collapses. A previously unrecognized congenital heart problem is diagnosed which threatens her life. Without a heart transplant, she probably has less than a year to live. Forced to move back in with her mother in the small town where she grew up, Vivi has to learn to cope with her new reality. It gives her the chance to re-connect with her childhood best friend and perhaps even learn some secrets from her family’s past—her mother had always refused to reveal who Vivi’s father was.

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