Boston University School of Law

July 11, 2008

Lawyer and mystery writer Joseph Eliot Pattison (’77) publishes new book, Bone Rattler

bone rattler

Lawyer Joseph Pattison by day and author Eliot Pattison by night, Joseph Eliot Pattison (’77) has had much success balancing dual careers as a full-time attorney and award-winning fiction writer. Even with attention divided between his professions, the reach of Pattison’s writing is unstoppable--his “Inspector Shan” mystery series has sold over 1.5 million copies in 20 languages. Now Pattison has combined his passion for 18th century America with his flair for fiction in Bone Rattler, the flagship book in his upcoming series.

Bone Rattler explores the role of outcasts and exiles in shaping America, with the main character an exiled Scot aided by an Iroquois Native American. “In a very real sense the story of nearly everyone who landed in these shores in this period had a theme of escape or exile," said Pattison. "The tribes too had their outcasts and exiles, often as a result of European population pressure that had started in the 17th century.”

Pattison hopes Bone Rattler will breed new outlooks about 18th century America in his readers. “I think we have lost sight of the roots that were laid for our country in the 18th century (which easily introduced as much change as the 20th century), and we have never sufficiently understood the role of outcasts and exiles in shaping America,” said the author.

As a historical fiction writer, Pattison said he feels a major gap in American education is fleshing out the country’s past in such a way that shows how exciting the times really were. He writes his stories in hopes of filling these gaps. “History didn’t happen in a well-defined progression of macro steps, it was a function of the microscopic steps of millions of widely divergent individuals, " said Pattison. "And if you want to get someone hooked on history you don’t do it by pie charts or lists of Presidents, you do it by creating a human connection with individuals who resided in the past."

>>Learn more about Eliot Pattison’s fiction on his Web site