Book Review: “The Missing Man” by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

by | Aug 6, 2017 | 0 comments


The Missing Man: A Morton Farrier Novella
By Nathan Dylan Goodwin
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2017
144 pp.


I’m hooked on genealogical crime stories

My introduction to the genre of genealogical mystery books began many years ago with The Famous DAR Murder Mystery by Graham Landrum. As a DAR member myself, I couldn’t help enjoying the story of four little, old ladies (stereotypical DAR members) who stumble upon a modern-day corpse and become embroiled in a dangerous mystery.

Years later, as a new Kindle user trolling for books about genealogy, I stumbled across Patricia Sprinkle’s Death on the Family Treethe first book in her “Family Tree Mysteries” series. I eagerly devoured the entire 3-book series, then moved on to Steve Robinson’s “Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery” books.

I eventually found my way to Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s “Morton Farrier: Forensic Genealogist” stories, and I’ve been a Morton Fangirl ever since. 😍


Who is Morton Farrier?

Cover of "The Missing Man" by Nathan Dylan GoodwinForensic genealogist Morton Farrier is “a stubborn, determined man who uses whatever means necessary to uncover the past.” Based in East Kent, England, Morton gets himself into all sorts of life-and-death situations while making the job of a forensic genealogist seem very exciting!

In a somewhat ironic twist, Morton himself is an adoptee. Having solved dozens of difficult cases for others, the painful reality is that uncovering his own family history is the one case he may never be able to crack.

The Missing Man is the 6th book in the Morton Farrier series. Unlike the previous books that take place in England, The Missing Man “crosses the pond” and is set in the United States.

Armed with little more than a few unopened letters written by his biological father to his mother in 1976, Morton and his new wife Juliette head to Massachusetts for a three-week honeymoon, in hopes of finally solving the mystery of Morton’s parentage:

“It was to be the most important case of Morton Farrier’s career in forensic genealogy so far. A case that had eluded him for many years: finding his own father. Harley ‘Jack’ Jacklin disappeared just six days after a fatal fire at his Cape Cod home on Christmas Eve in 1976, leaving no trace behind. Now his son, Morton, must travel to the East Coast of America to unravel the family’s dark secrets in order to discover what happened to him.”


My Impression

The Missing Man “novella” is about half the size of Goodwin’s previous books (with the exception of The Orange Lillies), clocking in at just 144 pages. But don’t let that fool you: a TON of juicy action is packed into those pages!

Honestly, from page one I was hooked and could hardly put the book down. I initially sat down just to read a few chapters… but before I knew it, I had read half the book. By the next day, I was finished.

And wow, I did not see that coming! 😮

As a genealogist myself, what I love about these books is that I feel as if I am right there alongside Morton making his discoveries with him. We all know that thrill of finding a genealogical clue: the vital record naming unknown family members, the newspaper article explaining what happened, the will that tells who got what… or didn’t.

Goodwin’s books are rich with details that will leave you feeling the same excitement as his characters.

I can’t wait to find out what Morton gets up to next!


Where to Find It

The Missing Man is available from in Kindle and paperback formats. Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the book for free, and Amazon Prime subscribers can borrow the book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Visit the book’s page on Amazon to read a sample online, or to download a sample to your Kindle. Reader reviews are overwhelmingly positive, so don’t just take my word for it – check them out! 😊


About the Author

To learn more about genealogical crime mystery author Nathan Dylan Goodwin, please visit his website.

I loved browsing through his Pinterest board, which is full of photos taken on his trip to Massachusetts to do research for the book. Caution: spoiler alert!

Other books in the Morton Farrier series include:

Hiding the Past
The Lost Ancestor
The Orange Lillies (novella)
The America Ground
The Spyglass File

Many thanks to Nathan Dylan Goodwin who sent me a complimentary copy of The Missing Man. This review is my own, honest opinion and was not provided in exchange for the book.

What are you reading this summer?


My Descendant's Ancestors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.


What do you think? Share your thoughts!

Elizabeth O'Neal

Elizabeth O'Neal

Genealogist, Writer, Web Developer, Educator

Elizabeth O'Neal is passionate about helping others discover, preserve and share their family stories. She hopes her only descendant will someday develop an interest in her ancestry.


Hello, I'm Elizabeth! I'm a genealogist, writer, and educator, and I've been looking for my descendant's ancestors for 3x's longer than she's been alive. I tell some of their stories here, but I also share tech and blogging tips, news, and other stuff I like. I am the host of the Genealogy Blog Party, which I hope you will join! Find out more right here.

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