JEFFERSON DAVIS (L) POSING AS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (R)
HOUSE OF DAVIS is a capital crime story buried in the facts of U.S. history. The book assembles the circumstances surrounding the life and times of Kentucky-born slave politician Jefferson Davis, beginning on July 4, 1850 with the mysterious poisoning by fruit (cherries) of his ex-father-in-law, 12th President Zachary Taylor, and ending on October 16, 1906 with the death of his widow on the anniversary of John Brown’s raid at Harper’s Ferry. Gathering historical evidence culled from the far corners of the nation’s historical archives, drawing primary material together not previously admitted into evidence, HOUSE OF DAVIS splinters the wooden story of America’s only confederate president and musters facts in the case for a long-rumored Washington, D.C. conspiracy.
WILLIAM B. HALDEMAN (L) POSING AS LOS ANGELES TIMES PUBLISHER “HARRISON GRAY OTIS” (R)
SUNSET CLUB tracks down two-dozen Kentucky spies recruited by Jefferson Davis in the final year of the Civil War. Those Blue Grass secret service men perfected the art of role-playing, first by pretending to be Midwesterners on cavalry raids north with Blue Grass maurauder John Hunt Morgan, then by disguising themselves as Union soldiers on trains south from their secret service hideouts in Canada. They prepared Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth at one such lair, which is why they were indicted for treason by the U.S. government. Nevertheless, nearly all the spies later received pardons. Most returned home to Kentucky where they led seemingly conventional second lives as lawyers. Still, facts and photographs say they also led sunset third lives as Hollywood’s paramount actors, and that non-fiction tale is more incredible than the Wizard of Oz.
DAUGHTER OF CONFEDERACY “WINNIE” DAVIS (L) POSING AS LA ACTRESS “NELLIE” DAVIS (R)
SOUTHLAND is a history of Los Angeles before the golden age of Hollywood. It’s also a non-fiction crime noir that lives up to the sprawling city’s reputation for aliases and intrigue. The facts are gathered around 6,656 acres of land lying beneath L.A.’s star-studded town of Pacific Palisades. In 1910, at a New Year’s celebration hosted by a matron of the first family of European heritage to settle the property, Maria Dionisia Jesus de Garcia and her family, 13 victims in all, were mysteriously poisoned by fruit (pears). Pulling evidence together from the far corners of the archives, culling facts together not previously admitted into evidence, SOUTHLAND shows how the family was murdered and points a finger at the children of Jefferson Davis “buried” in Hollywood Cemetery.