Posted in E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes Reviews 2013

Review: The Gray Ghost Murders by Keith McCafferty


The Gray Ghost Murders: A Novel
2nd in Series
Viking (February 21, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0670025695
E-Book File Size: 634 KB



Montana’s favorite fly fisherman detective is back on the case in this compelling follow-up to The Royal Wulff Murders…

Two bodies have been found on Sphinx Mountain, and Sheriff Martha Ettinger suspects murder, but she needs more details and some evidence wouldn’t hurt. She again needs the help of private investigator Sean Stranahan. He has already been nosing around the area on another case. He’s been hired by The Madison River Liars and Fly Tiers Club, a group of fly-fishermen, who have reported some very valuable flies stolen. Could the disappearance of a vintage Gray Ghost fly from a riverside cabin in the Madison Valley be connected to the gray ghosts who haunt Sphinx Mountain? Sean is determined to find out even if it means questioning a Congressman and putting himself in the line of fire.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I love the way Keith McCafferty writes. Last year I reviewed The Royal Wulff Murders, his descriptive style and melodic flow drew me right into the story. He continues right where he left off in this sequel.

“For the wonder of a trout had nothing to do with its spots or the sheen of its flanks, but its ability to pull the angler back through time until he was no longer what the world had made of him, but who he was when the world was new.”

He also crafted a wonderful mystery with full rich characters that jump right off the page. From the young boy to the men nearing the end of their lives, their individual stories shine but still blend together in a story that is about so much more than fly fishing. The strong women in this story are also so well written.

In addition to the beautiful Big Sky Country pictures McCafferty draws with his words there is suspense, chills, and surprises peppered with a bit of humor and even a little romance. You don’t need to know a thing about fly fishing to enjoy this mystery although if you do, you will love this book. I liked this one even more than the last one and the only fish I catch comes from the grocery store. 

I sure hope the author has the third installment in this series in the works. I wish I could start reading it today!!

a perfect escape


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About This Author
keith mccaffertyKeith 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 on his blog here. Like him on 25 (2)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

GRAY GHOST MURDERSreadalattechallenge_zps01d248d02013where are you reading2013EbookChallenge

Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday With Beth Groundwater (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

In 2011 I chose Beth Groundwater’s A Real Basket Case (A Claire Hanover Mystery) as the Best Mystery I had read that year. You can find my full review here.

I then contacted her and she sent me the first book in her other series, Deadly Currents (An RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery). My review for that one is here. When I found out the second RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery, Wicked Eddies was being released this month, I knew I had to invite her to stop by for a visit. These mysteries are not technically cozies, they are more mystery adventures, but if you love cozies, I think you will love these books. They have a little more edge and the main character works with law enforcement to help solve the crime, plus Beth’s knowledge of rafting and fishing makes these extraordinary reads. I hope you will join me in welcoming Beth here today!

Hi Beth!

Hi Everyone!

Thanks, Dollycas, for inviting me to visit your blog!

The Most Dangerous Sport

I’d like to talk today about the most dangerous sport. Since my RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery series features whitewater rafting and stars a whitewater river ranger named Mandy Tanner, you and your blog readers may think that I mean the sport of whitewater rafting. But, you’d be wrong!

Yes, whitewater rafting can be risky, but smart rafters know how to control and manage those risks. Also, the number of participants in the sport are few, compared to many other popular sports such as baseball and football, so the total number of rafting deaths per year is usually fairly low. Actually, the most dangerous sport in the world, the one that results in the most deaths per year, is fishing.

Fishing?! Yes, fishing.

Why, you might ask. Primarily it’s from the volatile mixture of booze and boats. Yes, there are many cases of drunken fishermen who fall out of boats and drown. Or who, like drunken drivers, crash their motorboats.

There are other causes of fishing-related deaths, though. In Wicked Eddies,the second book of my RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series that was released May 8th, the cause of one fisherman’s death is murder. Mandy Tanner discovers the body of fisherman Howie Abbott in a riverside campground with a camping ax in his neck. Turns out the man was a suspected cheater in fly-fishing tournaments and a big tournament is scheduled to take place soon on the Arkansas River near Salida, Colorado, where Mandy lives. Could that have been the cause of his death? Or was there some other other reason?

Back to other causes of fishing deaths. Here’s an excerpt from an early scene in Wicked Eddies, where Mandy’s boss, Steve Hadley, is briefing a group of search and rescue personnel, including river rangers, on the upcoming fly-fishing tournament:

When Steve’s turn came, he started off with a question, “What’s one of the most deadly sports in the world?”

Mandy knew the answer, but stayed quiet. Someone yelled out, “whitewater rafting,” a good guess, but not good enough.

“It’s fishing,” Steve said, nodding while surprised murmurs filled the room, “usually from the fatal combination of boats, alcohol, and people who don’t know how to swim. Now, given that we have serious competitors participating in this event, I expect that alcohol won’t play a large part until after the award ceremony.”

A few snorts and chuckles punctuated that remark.

Fly Fishing on the Arkansas Near Salida, Colorado

“However,” Steve continued, “we still have boats on the float- fishing practice and competition days giving us the same problems whitewater rafting boats do—hitting underwater obstacles and pitching their occupants into the water. And most of these teams are unfamiliar with the upper Arkansas, its rapids, and its hazards. So, I’m increasing river ranger patrols on the river during the competition.

“And then there are wading fishermen on the shore fishing days.” Steve shook his head and tsked. “I hate waders. As the old- timers know, we usually have at least one fly-fisherman die each season, from either getting a foot trapped or tripping while standing in the river wearing waders. The fisherman falls in the river, the waders fill up with water, dragging the wearer underwater, and then he drowns.”

A solemn silence descended on the group.

Yes, fishermen face many hazards in their sport! Along with working with the Sheriff’s Department to investigate Howie Abbott’s

murder, Mandy Tanner will be kept busy with her river ranger cohorts patrolling the river during the tournament and rescuing fishermen who need help. She’ll also be on the lookout for a missing teenage girl and a missing fisherman. My hope is that all of that activity and a healthy sprinkling of clues and red herrings makes for an exciting read!

Have you ever tried fishing? Did you get in any trouble or experience any dangers while doing so? I was lucky myself. When I took a fly-fishing lesson to research Wicked Eddies, the only harm I came to was when I managed to hook my thumb. 😉


Thank you Beth so much for being here today! I used to fish with my grandpa when I was little, catching bullheads in a nearby lake. Such wonderful memories with my bamboo pole, bobs, night crawlers and PBJ’s for lunch. 🙂 So I do share one thing with Mandy.

About Beth Groundwater:

Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A Real Basket Case, a Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, and To Hell in a Handbasket ) and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner (Deadly Currents,March, 2011, and Wicked Eddies, May, 2012). The third books in both series will appear in 2013. Beth enjoys Colorado’s many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting, and loves talking to book clubs. Please visit her website at and her blog at

Wicked Eddies
(An RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery)

2nd in the Series
Published by Midnight Ink
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Cover Design by Lisa Novak

Salida Colorado is getting ready for its annual fly fishing tournament. The river rangers are checking all the spots up and down the mighty Arkansas River making sure everything is ready for the participants. Mandy thinks it should be a busy weekend but it shouldn’t be too dangerous. Then she finds the dead body, would-be competitor Howie Abbott and it wasn’t a fish that drove that hatchet through his neck.

As Mandy searches for clues she finds out Howie Abbott is Cynthia’s uncle and her least favorite person on earth. She is not surprised when Cynthia becomes a prime suspect but she knows her friend is not a murderer. She takes in upon herself to find the real killer while being careful not to be carried away by the undertow or plunges too deep into Wicked Eddies.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Beth Groundwater writes what she knows. You can tell that by the way she writes. She takes us on a wild ride!

Cynthia was my favorite supporting character in Deadly Currents and she is center stage in this installment. She is so upset she is not even telling the blonde jokes that I loved. The author reveals Cynthia’s past and we get to see the person behind the jokes. The vulnerable Cynthia, a person I grew to care even more about.

Mandy is dealing with a lot in this story as well. She is still coming to terms with her own uncle’s death and trying to move forward which we know is never easy. Rob makes me a little mad as he continues to push her at times for his own agenda. Sometimes guys just don’t have a clue.

There are a couple of mysteries here, murder and missing persons along with the adventure of the fishing tournament that makes this a very fast paced story. Plenty of clues and plenty of distractions to keep the pages turning as we try to solve the mysteries ourselves.

You do not have to fish or ride the rapids to be hooked by this adventure, but you want to start after reading it! 

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I am giving away my gently read review copy!!

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Beth for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty

The Royal Wulff Murders: A Novel
Published by The Penguin Group
Jacket Design and Illustration by Jim Tierney
Available Now

The “Holy Grail” of trout rivers in Montana is the Madison River. It is here that a fishing guide reels in quite a catch. A dead body with a Royal Wulff trout fly through his lower lip and a stick in his eye. Obviously an easily explained drowning. Not so fast, Sheriff Martha Ettinger thinks there is more to the story. While questioning other fishermen she meets Sean Stranahan, a former private detective, painter and fly fisherman would has moved to Montana to escape his life back East and pursue his passion of painting.

Stranahan is still representing himself as a P.I. because his landlord likes to have the tenants represent a variety of occupations. He is totally surprised when Velvet Lafayette shows up at his door to hire him to find her missing brother. Are these cases related? Will Sean and Martha need to team up to find their answers? Just what is happening in and around Bridger, Montana? It is definitely more than meets the fly!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
You do not have to fish to enjoy this well written mystery. The first novel by Field & Stream Magazine Editor McCafferty is a very well crafted and complex whodunit. His love of nature shines as brightly as the sun through his detailed descriptions of everything from landscapes to ponds to fish and birds. Big Sky Country leaps right off the pages.

His characters are also well developed and so sharp that you clearly picture them in their waders casting out to reel in a great big trout or belting out a song or tracking down clues to catch a killer. My grandfather was quite a fisherman and somehow I could see him out there in that beautiful setting casting time and time again with a huge smile on his face. He would have loved this scenic locale.

The story has ebbs and flows, ripples and rapids, channels and cascades, unveiled at a pace to be savored not hurried, although by the last few chapters I was devouring the pages at a pretty rapid pace. There are a few red herrings swimming with all those trout.

If you are a nature lover who likes a fine mystery you will really enjoy this book.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Check back tomorrow. This book will be one of my books in the Leap Into Book Giveaway Hop!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”