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Girl in Disguise Hardcover – March 21, 2017
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"Greer Macallister brings the original Miss Pinkerton roaring back to life in this electrifying tale. Girl in Disguise is a rollicking nineteenth-century thrill ride, complete with clever disguises and coded messages, foiled plots and hidden agendas, lies, indiscretion, and forbidden love. Kate Warne is a scrappy, tough-as-nails detective who did a man's job for the first time in American history. She lives and breathes again in this riveting novel." - Amy Stewart, New York Times bestselling author of Girl Waits with Gun
"I was absolutely ensnared by Girl In Disguise, Greer Macallister's unflinching investigation of what it means to be true to yourself while living a life of deception. Mysterious Kate Warne, who fought perception to become the first female Pinkerton detective, is just the kind of courageous, ingenious, fierce character I love. I could not stop turning pages as she dons disguises, tells lies, rubs shoulders with lady spies, hardened criminals, double agents, and President Lincoln, and manages to uncover the truth-not just about the crimes she investigates, but her own heart. Chock full of fascinating ripped-from-the-headlines period details and intriguing historical personages, I drank this book down in a single shot." - Erin Lindsay McCabe, USA Today bestselling author of I Shall Be Near To You
"an exciting, well-crafted historical novel. Loaded with suspense and action, this is a well-told, superb story." - Publishers Weekly, STARRED
"With cunning, guile, and a dash of desperation, Kate Warne charms her way into the old boys' club of a mid-19th-century Chicago detective agency and soon finds herself catapulted into a world of spies, rogues, and double-crossers. As she dons and sheds all manner of disguises, Kate discovers that she has a knack for subterfuge - and more than that, she likes it. Inspired by a real-life story, Greer Macallister has created a fast-paced, lively tale of intrigue and deception, with a heroine at its center so appealingly complicated that she leaps off the page." - Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
"From the underbelly of Chicago to the front lines of the Civil War, Girl in Disguise crackles with spirit, and the trailblazing Kate Warne is a character I would follow anywhere. In Macallister's confident hands, this novel is packed full of adventure, moxie, and heart. I dare you not to get hooked." - Rae Meadows, author of I Will Send Rain and Mercy Train
"If you love historical fiction, you're going to devour GIRL IN DISGUISE. The time, the place, the girl this book takes you on a thrill ride with the first female detective, making her way by pluck and luck through the seedy streets of 19th century Chicago, finding her place in a male-dominated world" - Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue
"All hail a mighty woman in a man's world! Greer Macallister aims her pen at Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective, and hits the mark with this rousing, action-packed adventure. A book that brings to light a commanding and little-known contribution to American history." - Sarah McCoy, New York Times and international bestselling author of The Mapmaker's Children
"Macallister is becoming a leading voice in strong, female-driven historical fiction. Exciting, frightening, and unspeakably moving, Girl in Disguise reveals what one courageous woman endures to enact justice in a nation at war, and change the course of history." - Erika Robuck, national bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl
"Girl in Disguise cleverly unearths the story of Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective. Fast-paced, subversive, and with rich prose, it's everything an historical mystery should be. In the end it will leave you stunned. And then you will want to read everything else Greer Macallister has ever written" - Ariel Lawhon, author of Flight of Dreams
"A celebration of a singular woman's life that's guided by facts but features some inviting imaginings." - Kirkus
"The best book I read in 2016 hasn't been published yet. Historical fiction at its best.... a rollicking tale." - Publishers Weekly
"Macallister's story is a rip-roaring, fast-paced treat to read, with compelling characters, twisted villains, and mounds of historical details adeptly woven into the tale of a courageous woman who loves her job more than anything or anyone else." - Booklist
"a sure crowd-pleaser for lovers of historical fiction and chilling plotlines." - Library Journal
"...the balance of beautiful prose with both the hard truths of Kate's experiences and and her emotional journey turn the sketchy facts of a shadowy historical figure into a very realistic, living and breathing person. What a pleasure to learn about one such woman, especially one we know so little about, through Macallister's eloquence and artistry!" - BookBrowse
"A Spunky Spy Saga....Girl in Disguise, Macallister's sophomore effort, dives into case after case, convincing the reader as well as Pinkerton that Kate is an ace detective in this dangerous man's world. Kate gets better as she goes - and so does the book." - NPR Books
"Kate's voice is fresh and compelling, and therefore, overall, this is a very well-written and enjoyable novel." - Historical Novels Review
About the Author
Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist whose work has appeared in publications such as The North American Review, The Missouri Review, and The Messenger. Her plays have been performed at American University, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.
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Top customer reviews
There was a wonderful Canadian television series, called “The Pinkertons,” that featured Kate Warne. It had a talented and very likeable cast, especially Martha MacIsaac as Kate Warne. It was only on one year, but I hope it shows up on video. It was through that show that I first learned of Kate.
So I was very much looking forward to this fictionalized book about Kate. Still, I always worry about how a real character, especially a woman, is portrayed in fiction. I have to say it started off badly for me, seeming like a trite Hollywood version of her story, with Kate deciding to pose as a prostitute to seduce a man and get information. Fortunately, it quickly moved on from there, and I thought the book very entertaining and well done. Various famous Pinkerton cases are woven in, including several that Kate herself was known to have been involved in. The most famous, of course, was the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on his way from Illinois to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration.
The Pinkerton’s investigation of Rose Greenhow, a famous Confederate spy, is another prominent event in the book. I was a few times reminded of a terrific nonfiction book, “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War,” by Karen Abbott. I was not surprised when the author also praised it in her end notes. If you haven’t read it yet, you should.
I was completely caught up in “Girl in Disguise” and couldn’t put it down. Kate was portrayed in a very human manner. She even has a romance, and I am happy to say, the author did not go with the obvious and make her romantic partner to be Allan Pinkerton. Some people suspect an affair between the two because they can’t imagine any other reason he would have hired a woman and kept her around, but I always thought that very unlikely. Would she be buried in his family plot (Graceland Cemetery in Chicago) if she were more than a close friend? Can you imagine the family standing for that? I can’t.
I was ready to give this book five stars as I really thought it was entertaining. Then . . . inexplicably, the author has Kate go all girly weak, freaking out over something bad that happened, and running away! The author has Kate sulking and hiding out in the Dakotas. This was during the Civil War, a very active time for the Pinkertons, who were agents for the North. No, no, no. Anything remotely like that certainly would have been career suicide for any woman. I was shocked. Still, I liked the book, but I have to detract one star for that embarrassing twist in the plot.
The biggest problem with it was that it postulated the absurd plot point of a female Piinkerton and we all knew that was nonsense just shoved into the plot to provide a hedge against feminist reaction; her name, not that it mattered, was Kate Warne
So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that there really was a female Pinkerton named Kate Warne and she was, for all practical purposes, the country's, the WORLD'S first female PI
You can, further imagine my surprise to discover that this (at best) fair to middling series could easily have been one of the great series of all time... all it needed was Greer Macallister writing it!
Oh, what a joy of a novel this is! I envy you the fun you're gonna have with it, 'cause I can't have that first reading experience again
Even if you've never forgiven Pinkerton for what he did to Cio-cio San, I promised, you will love this book!
Girl in Disguise is Greer Macallister's exceptionally well-researched 2nd historical fiction female protagonist novel (The Magician's Lie being the first). Greer finely uses details to craft a narrative that dress her characters-- quite literally -- as she has a whole closet full of disguises. You feel the train sway beneath you as she travels from one dangerous assignment to the next. You empathize with her as she butts heads with her male colleagues who don't think that 'Detectiving is any place for a woman'. You hold your breath as she keeps her composure facing certain death, or even foiling the assassination of a future President in Baltimore(true story!). She was secret service, before the Secret Service existed. Just as Kate Warne won over Allan Pinkerton, Girl in Disguise will win you over as well.
I first encountered Greer Macallister's work through the Gaithersburg Book Festival in 2015, and enthusiastically read The Magician's Lie cover to cover while I awaited her next book, which she presented at the 2017 Gaithersburg Book Festival. Girl in Disguise more than equals her first book. She writes with a depth of character development (I've even seen photos of the author visiting Kate Warne's grave site in the Pinkerton plots in the Graceland Chicago Cemetery) rarely exhibited in the writings of many contemporary novelists. Girl in Disguise is worthy to add to your reading collection. You will be hearing much more from Ms. Mcallister in the years to come.