On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
I can’t believe I missed my trip to Montana last year courtesy of author Keith McCafferty.
So glad I was able to catch up before the next adventure with Sean Stranahan and Martha Ettinger.
Cold Hearted River
5th in Series
Setting – Montana
Viking (June 28, 2016)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Paperback: 336 pages (June 6, 2017)
Kindle ASIN: B018RVBUHK
In the wake of Fourth of July fireworks in Montana’s Madison Valley, Hyalite County sheriff Martha Ettinger and Deputy Sheriff Harold Little Feather investigate a horrific scene at the Palisades cliffs, where a herd of bison have fallen to their deaths. Victims of blind panic caused by the pyrotechnics, or a ritualistic hunting practice dating back thousands of years? The person who would know is beyond asking, an Indian man found dead among the bison, his leg pierced by an arrow.
Farther up the valley, fly fisherman, painter, and sometime private detective Sean Stranahan has been hired by the beautiful Ida Evening Star, a Chippewa Cree woman who moonlights as a mermaid at the Trout Tails Bar & Grill, to find her old flame, John Running Boy. The cases seem unrelated—until Sean’s search leads him right to the brink of the buffalo jump.
Our visit to Montana starts right after the Independence Day celebration. Sheriff Martha Ettinger and Deputy Sheriff Harold Little Feather are called in to investigate a murder and massacre. A herd of buffalo have plummeted off the edge of a cliff and a man is found dead nearby. When they notice the man has an arrow in his leg they have to assume it wasn’t the fireworks that started the stampede.
We find Sean Stranahan taking it easy painting and finishing until he is approached to help Ida Evening Star find a man she hasn’t seen in years. While performing as a mermaid in the local tavern she noticed him watching her. Could it really have been her old boyfriend, John Running Boy? Sean agrees to help her and it isn’t long before his investigation runs right into Martha’s. They have parted ways but he is hoping they can still work together.
I have been a fan of Keith McCafferty since I read the first book in this series. I just love the way he writes. The main character, Sean Stranahan, is so genuine, laid back, calm, and easy going in almost everything he does. That is the way the author writes. He includes very graphic details of people, time and place. As with all the other books in this series I was hooked from page 1.
That is not to say the book is not full of suspense because it is. There are surprises around every turn of this complex mystery. Sean has his way of investigating and Martha has hers. Harold Little Feather helps out when they need to involve and talk to the people on the reservation. They do make a good team even though there is romantic tension now that Martha is no longer with Sean and seeing Harold. The modes of investigation are credible and the dialogue is stellar. The characters themselves and their relationships continue to evolve and remain engaging. The mystery ebbs and flows. The final twist was absolutely fantastic.
I did not know much about these “buffalo jumps” prior to reading this story. The author weaves the history of such feats into the story to give a reader like me plenty of background and understanding about the American buffalo and their dwindling numbers. The political spin and the public/private land quandary was very topical and interesting. McCafferty takes on a serious issue in a fictional way that can create and raise awareness. I applaud him for doing this.
Mr. McCafferty is a true storyteller. I can picture a group of us all around a campfire and him telling us this story of Sean, Martha, the Native Americans, the law, and the buffalo. Escape west and enjoy. I truly did.
About The Author
Keith McCafferty is the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor of Field & Stream. He has written articles for publications as diverse as Fly Fisherman Magazine, Mother Earth News, Gray’s Sporting Journal and the Chicago Tribune, and on subjects ranging from mosquitoes to wolves to mercenaries and exorcism. Based in Montana and working on assignment around the globe–he recently spent a month in India trekking the Himalayas, fishing for golden mahseer and studying tigers–Keith has won numerous awards, including the Robert Traver Award for angling literature. He has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award. Find out more about Keith and his books on his webpage here.
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