If historical fiction is more up your alley, John J. Miller’s novel “The First Assassin” is a great read. Miller’s story begins on a train headed toward Washington, D.C., ostensibly bringing President-elect Abraham Lincoln to the nation’s capital, as assassins lie in wait. But Lincoln has already made the trip under cover of darkness, aborting what will be a series of attempts on his life by bungling amateurs and hired guns in the weeks following the inauguration. Miller manages to keep readers turning the next 375 pages, even though outcome is never in doubt. He does so by bringing the reader into the heart of the city of Washington in 1861 — recreating its sights, sounds, even its smells, in such realistic fashion, you feel like you’re there. Miller blends historical figures with purely fictional ones and weaves a tale that is exciting and believable, even at its most fantastic.