Saturday, December 1, 2012


Thriller Guy is turning the blog over to his alter ego, Allen Appel today.

Because I wrote two books about Abraham Lincoln, a lot of people have been asking me my opinion of the new Spielberg film. I liked it, which sounds like faint praise but considering how badly they could have mangled it I thought they did a good job. I do have to say, though, they screwed up by not ending the movie with the shot of Lincoln leaving the White House to go to the theatre. I would bet a thousand dollars that Tony Kushner ended his screenplay at that point and then a focus group or some dunderhead producer felt they just had to include the assassination and the scene of Lincoln giving his second inaugural speech, which looked like it had been clipped out of an earlier version and tacked on at the end.

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Click to order
         For my own Lincoln books I spent many months researching before undertaking the actual writing. I read every available biography, spent many days at the Library of Congress and looked into every Lincoln nook and cranny on the Internet. Because Lincoln was an active, speaking character in the two books I knew I had to have him tell some jokes, so I researched that area in depth. The jokes he tells in the movie are mostly ones I have heard many times. In my books I tried to put in only jokes that I hadn’t heard before and which were not recorded over and over in other books. So if you’d like to read some new Lincoln jokes, you can download the Kindle book of In Time of War, the fifth volume in my Pastmaster series, or for even more hilarity read Abraham Lincoln: Detective. This is a mystery with Lincoln taking the Sherlock Holmes role with Watson being played by his law partner, William Herndon. I think it’s a funny, intriguing look at the young Lincoln just at the point of his life shortly before he married Mary Todd.

For Thriller Guy’s next blog I’ll tell some of the Lincoln jokes in these two books. Meanwhile, here are two from my Lincoln joke file.

Number One: He was quite capable, however, of telling the story of the man in the theatre who placed his high hat on the adjoining seat, open side up, and becoming interested in the play, failed to note the approach of a fat dowager until she had plumped down upon it. Then gazing ruefully at the ruin of his top-piece, he reproachfully observed: "Madam, I could have told you the hat wouldn't fit before you tried it on."

Number Two: Trial: A small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand, an elderly grandmother. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?” She responded, “Why yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you will never amount to anything but a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.”

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?” She again replied, “Why yes, I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He’s lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. Yes, I know him.”

At this point, the judge gaveled the courtroom to silence, called both counselors to the bench, and in a very quiet voice said, “If either of you bastards asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for contempt.”


  1. Lincoln: Detective was a good read. I especially enjoyed it knowing the meticulous detail you put into your research, so seeing Lincoln presented in what had to be as authentic as anything portrayal of a very real period of his life that I had never known about was seriously entertaining. The more I dug into the man the more fascinating things there were to learn about him. Picked up all the remaining Alex B. e-books as well.

  2. Research is one of the most important aspects of writing, whether you're writing fiction or non-fiction. I think there are certain elements of good fiction that must be credible to be really well accepted. Research not only helps entertain, but inform the readers (always important for a writer.) It was definitely time consuming for my own thriller, but in the end it is always worth it. Great job on doing the research for your Lincoln books!