Keith McCafferty’s fourth fly-fishing mystery novel reunites beloved characters private investigator Sean Stranahan and Hyalite County Sheriff Martha Ettinger to solve a gruesome murder case.
Set in Montana’s Crazy Mountains, the story opens with the discovery of the dead body of a teenage girl wedged in the rock chimney of a remote cabin. Uncovering the circumstances that brought her to this tragic end takes Stranahan on a wild ride of discovery, involving a number of colorful characters and situations that propel him into danger (and the occasional amorous involvement).
Having cooled their intimate friendship for various reasons, Ettinger is usually on hand to spar with Stranahan while they unravel clues to the girl’s initial disappearance and subsequent death. Their dialogue is crisp and clever. She’s smart and savvy, and he has the reputation of “a man who can get to the bottom of a dark river.”
McCafferty brings in characters that you would love to spend a day on the river with, or, on the other hand, not meet in a dark alley. There is the lovely and aloof mother of the victim, the phony too-sentimental stepfather, a grimy horse trainer, an overly amorous librarian, a monster-sized “mountain man,” and a cast of local “regulars,” who all converge to keep readers wondering where the mystery is headed.
The author’s references to geographical landmarks and his sentiment for the art of fly-fishing are a constant undercurrent that courses through all of his novels and gives dimension to his stories and their players.
The Bozeman-based writer is an award-winning survival and outdoor skills editor for Field & Stream magazine and previously authored The Royal Wulff Murders, The Gray Ghost Murders, and Dead Man’s Fancy.
– Judy Shafter