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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. With unforgettable characters and written with Spur Award Winner Keith McCafferty's signature grace and wry humor, Buffalo Jump Blues weaves a gripping tale of murder, wildlife politics, and lost love.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-04-11
- Reviewer: Staff
At the start of McCafferty’s absorbing fifth Montana-set Sean Stranahan mystery (after 2015’s Crazy Mountain Kiss), something causes 11 bison to jump off the Palisades cliffs. Nearby, Sheriff Martha Ettinger and Deputy Harold Little Feather discover the corpse of a Native American man who was disemboweled, shot with an arrow, and left to die. Down at the local mermaid bar, performer Ida Evening Star hires fly-fishing private eye Stranahan to track down her childhood sweetheart, John Running Boy, whom she thinks may be in town. The cases intersect, and the investigators join forces when it’s determined the bison were driven to their deaths during a reenactment of an ancient hunting ritual in which Running Boy likely participated. Nuanced relationships, nontraditional heroes, and a strong sense of place offset two-dimensional antagonists with murky motives. McCafferty’s entertaining tale, which shines a light on the government’s slaughter of migrating bison, is sure to please advocates for change in current U.S. wildlife management policy. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary. (June)