The Easter Man
Hampshire House Publishing 2020
Reviewed by Mark T. Sneed for Reader Views (04/2021)
“The Easter Man” is the third book in Stan Freeman’s John Nolan detective novels. Freeman’s vision is unique and I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the story. It’s a period piece, first and foremost set in the pre-World War I before America enters the war and the story weaves through the growing nation and industrial revolution. As a historical fiction detective mystery, it’s pretty good and there is a surprising introduction to the story that sets up the entirety of “The Easter Man.”
A sinking ferry might have been brushed off as an accident, but John Nolan, private detective, is asked to investigate when it’s suspected the Germans are onto the undercover men in the police department. I love the reluctant detective. Nolan is refreshing as a detective who is not the typical gumshoe. He is not wise cracking. He is not like other fictional sleuths. Nolan just wants to know the truth. He does not seek fame or glory. He is definitely a different kind of detective. I like Nolan’s humility. He is given a task and begins it and like a dog with a bone refuses to give up until he is done.
This iteration of Freeman’s early twentieth century gumshoe finds the New York detective trying to beat Germans from sabotaging and sinking ships that are carrying cargo to the troops. The race to stop the bad guys and find the mastermind behind the plot takes the usual twists and turns of any detective novel. Love the authentic dialog. Love the period. I find the genre remarkable. It is a period piece in all its glory. There are moments in “The Easter Man” where I found myself swept up in the pre-World War I splendor and wonder. Freeman’s style is easy to enjoy and I recommend it to fans of historical mystery thrillers.