Longshot in Missouri by Keith R. Baker is he first book of the Longshot series. In the book we meet Rob Finn, an Irishman living in Wisconsin during the Civil War.
Rob joined the Union Army and it soon became evident that he was a superior marksman and Rob was selected by the Pinkerton Agency in Chicago. Allan Pinkerton ran an intelligence agency that reported directly to President Lincoln.
How cool is that!
Rob was a spy and he got the nickname “Longshot” due to his ability to hit a target (usually a high-ranking Confederate officer) from a long range.
While on assignment, tragedy strikes his family and Rob loses his wife, Brigid, and two of his sons to cholera. At this point, Rob starts to re-evaluate his involvement in the war.
His beliefs about the “rightness” of the war are also shaken when, as part of a mission, he has to come in contact with Confederate sympathizers. That’s when Rob starts to realize that, maybe, everything about this war is not really black or white.
I really enjoyed the story and Rob’s journey. He feels like a real person, which is probably because he was inspired by a real person. The author explains in the Dedication that this book was inspired by his great grandfather’s life.
The Rob in the books is strong and kind and, by the end of the book, he is full of conflicting feelings regarding his loyalty and his duty.
There are other characters in the book that I like very much as well, starting with Mr. Pinkerton. He may treat his employees like a benevolent father, but he has a job to do and he is willing to go to any length to help his side win this war. He obviously likes and respects Rob, but he is still a piece in a huge puzzle, and Mr. Pinkerton expects him to fit in his place.
I also liked Catherine, Rob’s daughter. After her mother’s death she had to grow up fast and help with her younger siblings, particularly since her father had to be away from home for long periods of time. Catherine is sweet and wise, and she discovers that she is also strong. I really hope to see more of her in upcoming books.
On a side note, when I updated my Goodreads page stating that I had started reading Longshot in Missouri, the author sent me a message and a friend request. Isn’t that awesome? I love that about technology and social media.
The next book in the series is Longshot into the West.