This time the young archivist discovers a killer in Washington, D.C., who’s meticulously recreating the crimes of the four U.S. presidential assassins…but targeting religious leaders.
What could this killer’s purpose be?
And does this killer have anything in common with the four assassins?
Beecher’s about to find out. And most terrifyingly, he’s about to come face-to-face with…the fifth assassin.
Check out this clip of Meltzer chatting with Glenn on the radio about the extensive research and investigating he undertook to prepare for The Fifth Assassin:
In the following excerpt, Beecher White discovers clues at a murder scene—a D.C. church, of all places—that tell him the killer is up to something…atypical:
“Tot, on the night of Lincoln’s assassination in Ford’s Theater, John Wilkes Booth didn’t just come in and pull the trigger. Tell me what you know about the precautions he took.”
He knows the story. “He drilled a hole in the door.”
“Exactly. Hours before the play started, Booth went up into Lincoln’s box and drilled a peephole in the right side of the door so he could see inside and make sure there were no guards. And what else?” I ask.
“He took a long, narrow piece of pine—the neck of an old music stand—and he hid it in the box so that once he was inside, he could use it to bar the door.”
“And what about the weapons?”
“Forty-four caliber, single-shot Derringer pistol. But since it had only that one shot, he also brought a knife that—” Tot cuts himself off, knowing what it said about the rector in the police report. Shot once in the back; throat slit in the front. “Wait. You really think—?”
“Look for yourself,” I say, reaching up toward an old framed watercolor that hangs on the wall. The picture shows the church back when it and the White House were the only two buildings on the block. But as I pull the frame from the wall…
There it is.
Just under the nail that holds the picture in place is a small round peephole. Even from here, I can tell it goes through the wall and into the Lincoln Pew.
“That’s when I started looking for this…” I add, pointing to the church’s main doors—and the metal urn that serves as an umbrella stand. There are two stray umbrellas in there. Plus one long, narrow piece of pine. [...]
I stay silent, still sifting through the details. Between the time of death… the way it was set up… and all that preparation to make it just right… This is more than a copycat. This is a full-on recreation.
Here’s Meltzer discussing The Fifth Assassin on the Wilkow! show and how it relates to current events: