Monday, November 29, 2021

Book Review: THE INNOCENTS by C. A. Asbrey


Pinkerton Detective Abigail MacKay is a master of disguises—and of new crime-solving technology! But she’ll have to move fast to stay a step ahead of Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy. 
Nat and Jake are the ringleaders of The Innocents, a western gang that specializes in holding up trains carrying payrolls—and Nat is pretty savvy when it comes to using the new sciences of 1868 in committing his crimes.  

Charismatic Nat and handsome Jake are on the run, and they’ve always gotten away before—before Abi. But when Abi is caught by another band of outlaws during the chase, there’s no other choice for Nat and Jake but to save her life. Abi owes them, and she agrees to help them bring in the murderer of a family friend. 

The web of criminal activity grows more entangled with each passing day, but Nat, Jake, and Abi are united in their efforts to find the murderer. Once that happens, all bets are off, and Abi will be turning Nat and Jake over to the law. But can she do it? She finds herself falling for Nat, but is that growing attraction real? Or is he just using her to learn more about the Pinkertons’ methods? Abi always gets her man—but she may have met her match in her “best enemies”—THE INNOCENTS. 

Book Review 

This is my first read by C. A. Asbrey and I'm glad I picked this one up. What attracted me was the idea of a female Pinkerton agent, not well believed in 1800s Wyoming. Abi explains it well - nobody expects a woman to be an agent and they let their guard down. She's also a wizard at disguises. As Nat and Jake try to figure her out, they don't always recognize her. 

Abi took on this role after her husband was killed and she was left alone. She needed a goal and taking down the Innocents gang leaders, Nat and Jake, is her current goal. Only there's something between Nat and Abi, even as she holds to the line. She has her honor to consider.

Aside from the old west setting, what makes this a great read is the characters. Abi, the independent woman in a time when women were not independent, who manages to slip into situations easily and begins to question her assumption that she would remain alone for the rest of her life. Nat and Jake are quite the pair, with Jake not very trusting and Nat the charmer - and the challenger. Yet, both are gentleman and protective of women. They manage to unite to find the killer of two women and ensure that other such ladies do not get lured to their death thanks to Abi's ingenuity.  

If you like mystery set in history, twists to the plot, and loyalty among friends, you'll like this one. It's well-written with a touch of humor and potential for romance. This is the first in The Innocents series, and a quick glance at the next few is enticing. 

About the Author 

C.A. Asbrey developed a deep interest in early forensics and detection methods working in the field. She researched early detectives and the tools available to them for years before developing her characters. They are compelling versions of real people, all her crimes are based on fictionalized versions of real crimes, and the methods used to solve them were available to detectives at the time. 

She likes her mysteries twisty, complex, and intricate, through a fog of history and a touch of light humor. She is a writer of mysteries and a fan of all things Victorian and obscure, topped off with interest in early forensics, science, music, jaywalking, ordering the best meal at the table in a restaurant, and dropping out of society to do whatever she wants. She enjoys an eclectic mix of the old and new, foreign and obscure, funny and dramatic, so includes these elements in her writing. 

She loves finding gadgets which were invented earlier than popular wisdom accepts, especially when they involve the spying and scientific techniques of the of the past. If you are looking for historically accurate mysteries laced with vivid characterizations, romance, and compelling plots, these are the books for you. 

You can follow her on Twitter

The Innocents Series 

The Innocents (Amazon purchase link)
Innocent as Sin 
Innocent Bystander 
In all Innocence 
Innocent Minds 
Innocent to the Last