A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister- Feature and Review


For the first female Pinkerton detective, respect is hard to come by. Danger, however, is not.

In the tumultuous years of the Civil War, the streets of Chicago offer a woman mostly danger and ruin-unless that woman is Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective and a desperate widow with a knack for manipulation.

Descending into undercover operations, Kate is able to infiltrate the seedy side of the city in ways her fellow detectives can't. She's a seductress, an exotic foreign medium, or a rich train passenger, all depending on the day and the robber, thief, or murderer she's been assigned to nab.

Inspired by the real story of Kate Warne, this spirited novel follows the detective's rise during one of the nation's greatest times of crisis, bringing to life a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.



Girl in DisguiseGirl in Disguise by Greer Macallister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister is a 2017 Sourcebooks Landmark publication.

‘Someone has to go first’

This is a biographical novel based on Kate Warne, the first female Pinkerton detective.

I enjoyed reading this fictional account of Kate’s life, how she convinced Pinkerton to hire her, how she eventually garnered the respect of the other detectives, trained other female operatives, and became a spy during the civil war.

What a fascinating life!

Yet, it would seem Kate was often conflicted about the lies and subterfuge, she was forced to use in order to get the job done, questioning the morality of it, while at the same time reveling in the adventure, and satisfying her need to contribute and be a productive citizen.

‘The Woman I’d become since Pinkerton hired me- excited by subterfuge, capable of any and all lies, slipping into and out of identities like dresses- was she the real me?
Had I been her all along, and the good girl I thought myself the real disguise?”

I enjoyed reading about the cases she worked, the costumes or disguises she wore, and the roles she played in order to trap the suspects. I was equally impressed with her humanity and fortitude, her loyalty, and remarkable grace under pressure and the mark she left behind for women to someday embark on careers in law enforcement.
Her story is compelling, sad in some ways, but ultimately inspiring.

Overall, this was a very interesting and absorbing read, and a must for those who enjoy historical fiction.





Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister is a poet, short story writer, playwright and novelist. Her debut novel THE MAGICIAN'S LIE was a USA Today and MIBA Indie bestseller, an Indie Next, LibraryReads, and Target Book Club Pick, and was chosen by guest judge Whoopi Goldberg as a Book of the Month Club main selection. It has been optioned for film by Jessica Chastain's Freckle Films.

Macallister's new novel GIRL IN DISGUISE is inspired by the real-life first female Pinkerton detective, Kate Warne, who was hired by Allan Pinkerton to solve cases and fight crime in 1850s Chicago. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and Booklist called it "a rip-roaring, fast-paced treat to read."


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