cover image Blood of the Oak

Blood of the Oak

Eliot Pattison. Counterpoint, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-61902-615-5

In 1765, the French and Indian War is over, but the American colonies are not at peace, as shown in Edgar-winner Pattison’s superior fourth mystery featuring Scottish ex-pat Duncan McCallum (after 2013’s Original Death). The Native Americans who inhabit the forests of New York have dubbed McCallum the Death Speaker for his ability to use his medical training to determine how people died. That skill is all too useful when Red Jacob, an Oneida who served with English frontier rangers, is murdered by someone who almost claimed the life of his superior, Duncan’s friend, Capt. Patrick Woolford. Theirs is not the last blood shed. Duncan soon finds himself on the trail of ruthless killers who are targeting messengers working for some secret committees in different cities, whose leaders include Benjamin Franklin. Pattison does a brilliant job of showing how political events at this time paved the way for the start of the Revolutionary War. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary Agency. (Mar.)