cover image Freedom’s Ghost

Freedom’s Ghost

Eliot Pattison. Counterpoint, $29 (400p) ISBN 978-1-64009-320-1

Edgar Award winner Pattison (The King’s Beast) delivers another rousing adventure for Scotsman Duncan McCallum in pre–Revolutionary War America. The year is 1770, and Massachusetts is a powder keg waiting to explode as tensions mount between the British Redcoats and the American Sons of Liberty. When a British soldier is found dead with his lips sewn shut, it falls to McCallum, currently employed by merchant John Hancock, to uncover who is responsible. During his investigation, McCallum rubs elbows with John Adams, British Maj. Gen. Thomas Gage, Benjamin Franklin, and Crispus Attucks, the real-life Black Indigenous sailor who was the first person killed at the Boston Massacre. As more Redcoat bodies pile up, McCallum’s investigation, aided by his resourceful fiancée, Sarah Ramsey, is stymied by agents working for the shadowy Black Office of the British War Council. The climax involves a furious chase up the Hudson River as McCallum’s brig, filled with escaped slaves, is pursued by a slave-catching schooner. Though the narrative is a bit overcrowded, McCallum is a forward-thinking hero who embraces equality, and Pattison fully immerses readers in the daily life of colonial Boston and Manhattan. This historical mystery is good fun. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary. (Oct.)