Interview with John Holt   9 comments

Today’s interview is with John Holt, whose book The Thackery Journal asks the question “Were Lincoln’s own generals complicit in his assassination?” John has written a very well-researched book about the Civil War that suggests, very credibly, that Lincoln’s assassination was planned by his own generals who used John Wilkes Booth to cover up their treachery.


John HoltTell us a little bit about yourself, John. 

I was born in Hertfordshire too long ago now. Since 1980 I have lived in Essex, in a small town about 40 miles northeast of London, with my wife Margaret, my daughter Eizabeth, and Missy our cat who adopted us. I used to work as a Senior Project Manager with the Greater London Council. Then in 1986 I started my own surveying practice. In 2004 I suffered a heart attack, and I finally retired in 2008. In April 2012 I was diagnosed with a cancer. After several tests this was confirmed in the October of that year, and I started treatment in the November. I January 2013 I started an eight week course of radiotherapy. A blood test in May of this year showed no trace of the cancer. So I am hopeful that when I see my oncologist in November I will get the all clear.


I’m glad to hear that. You’ve written quite a few books.  Seven in total, five of which feature your private detective Tom Kendall. The Thackery Journal is a historical fiction/slash political thriller. What brought you to write this book?

The answer to that is quite complicated, but here goes. The first novel that I wrote was The Kammersee Affair, a story about the search for hidden Nazi gold. We went for a holiday to Grundlsee in the Austrian lakes. We discovered that during the war the next lake, Toplitz, was used by the German Navy to test rockets. As the war came to a close many items were hidden in the lake, including rumours of hidden gold. This gave me the idea for Kammersee. Shortly afterwards I heard about a hoard of Confederate gold going missing during the Civil War. I had no idea as to where the gold had gone, but I started to imagine how someone would feel when being pursued. This led to the last chapter of The Thackery Journal, and there it remained for some while. I started work on the first of my Tom Kendall novels, The Mackenzie Dossier. Gradually the idea of where the Confederate gold had gone, and why, began to form in my head. The gold was used to finance the assassination plot. But still the book wasn’t going anywhere, except I had developed a couple of opening chapters. I started to research the Civil War, and ended up with about 200 pages of data, but still no story. I produced three more Tom Kendall novels, The Marinski Affair, Epidemic, and A Killing In The City. Then suddenly the whole idea of “Thackery” came to me. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, and how. The book was finished, after almost five years, in three months.


This book plays on the sentiments of many a conspiracy theorist out there. It’s up there with Kennedy and the Grassy Knoll. Did John Wilkes Booth act alone or was he part of a wider conspiracy? This is a work of fiction, but it draws on historical documentation.  We were all taught in school that Booth acted alone, though supported by a handful of conspirators he was the only one actually in the theater at the time. Many of us even remember details of what is said to have happened that night.  Tell us a little bit about why it might be plausible that Booth wasn’t even in the theater.

The Thackery Journal is a work of fiction, nothing more and nothing less. In the whole book there are only a handful of characters who actually existed, the main ones being John Wilkes Booth, Ulysses S Grant, and Abraham Lincoln. Apart from the battles depicted, the only real events that occurred are Lincoln at Fort Massachusetts, and the assassination at the Ford Theater. The suggested conspiracy concerning Booth and Lincolns Generals, is simply that, a suggestion and it is not based on any evidence whatsoever. However the question could be asked as to why was Lincoln assassinated. What earthly difference would Lincoln’s death make to Booth? Alright he was a Southerner, and clearly he could have had a reason for hating Lincoln. But so could thousands of other Southerners. Nothing would be gained by killing Lincoln, he would simply be replaced by another Northerner. Booth was a simple actor and had nothing whatsoever to gain, except money. However, Lincoln’s own generals would have had much to gain by installing Grant as their President.


Holt BooksTell us about your other books.

 I love the old film noir with Humphrey Bogart, Cagney, Edward G Robinson. I had always wanted to write a detective story in the same style. Snappy dialogue, fast talking, fast acting. So I started The Mackenzie Dossier, hoping that I could re-create the crime thrillers from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. I soon realised that I couldn’t do it. It just didn’t work. But what happened was, in fact, so much better because I realised that I was developing my own style, my own characters, my own brand, and so private detective Tom Kendall was created. Since Mackenzie Kendall has appeared in four more novels, the latest, simply called Kendall was published just a few short weeks ago. Although the fifth in the series it is actually a prequel. I am currently working on a sixth novel to feature Kendall, but it is early days yet. I’m afraid it will probably be another year before it becomes available. I have also made a start on a adventure story set in the 1930’s. It is loosely based on a true story about a submarine going to the North Pole. It never reached its destination, and was later found at the bottom of a Norwegian fjord. What actually happened was never discovered. There is also a very basic idea for another Civil War novel. So it looks like a busy year ahead.


thackery journalWhere can we find your books? Three of my books “A Killing In The City”, “The Mackenzie Dossier” and “The Marinski Affair” are available in EPUB form for Nook, Kobo, and itunes –

All of my seven novels are available in MOBI form – my Amazon author page is –

My novel “Epidemic” will be available on Countdown from the 21 September 70 28 September, priced at 99 cents/99 pence –



And where can people find you?
My author page on Facebook –
My twitter site –

9 responses to “Interview with John Holt

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  1. Thank you for featuring me today – I hope that you enjoyed it


  2. Wonderful to read all about you again John. I know that when you were on my blog you gained a lot of interest and I hope that continues. Well deserved. Thanks for hosting him – fab writer. 🙂


  3. Great interview, John and Aurorawatch. Praying for your results in November, John.


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