Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!
I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.
Synopsis: Scarecrows are appearing in the cliffs above the Smith River in Montana, and state investigator Harold Little Feather, is trying to discover the culprit leaving the hay figures in the cliffs, with signs painted that read “No Smith River Mine–Not on My Watch.” The event is related to a copper mine project that threatens the river, but his investigation takes an ominous turn when a little girl claims that a scarecrow chased her in the night.
At the same time, Sean Stranahan and his friend “Rainbow” Sam Meslik have been contracted as guides to float a party down the river, which includes the manager of the mine project and the president of “Save Our Smith,” a grassroots organization devoted to stopping the project. Both men grew up on the Smith on neighboring ranches. When a dead body is found in the park, it’s revealed that the two have a shared history that runs much deeper and darker than their opposing viewpoints.
I’m several books behind with this mystery series, but I really like Keith McCafferty’s writing and the characters and mysteries in this series. The fly fishing setting in Montana is also a great plus!
What books are you looking forward to reading when they’re available?
Synopsis: A story of lost treasure, Cold Hearted River begins with the death of a woman, stranded in a spring snowstorm, who in desperation climbs into a bear s den. When Sheriff Martha Ettinger, reunited with once-again lover Sean Stranahan, investigates, she finds a fly wallet in a pannier of the dead woman’s horse, the leather engraved with the initials EH. Only a few days before, Patrick Willoughby, the president of the Madison River Liars and Fly Tiers Club, had been approached by a man selling fishing gear that he claims once belonged to Ernest Hemingway. A coincidence? Sean doesn’t think so, and he soon finds himself on the trail of a missing steamer trunk rumored to contain not only the famous writer’s valuable fly fishing gear, but priceless samples of his unpublished work.
The investigation will take Sean through extraordinary chapters in Hemingway’s life. Inspired by a true story, Cold Hearted River is a thrilling adventure, moving from Montana to Michigan, where a woman grapples with the secrets in her heart, to a cabin in Wyoming under the Froze To Death Plateau, and finally to the ruins in Havana, where an old man struggles to complete his life’s mission one true sentence at a time.”
The reasons this book appeals to me:
I like Sean Stranahan and these mysteries.
The mysteries take place in Montana north of Yellowstone National Park and revolve around fly fishing. My dad was a fly fisherman and tied his own ties. He fished the rivers of Oregon, but I feel closer to him when I read these books.
These books are a meld of police procedural and private investigation, because while Sean works as a fly fishing guide, artist and private investigator he also often works with Sheriff Martha Ettinger.
This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!
I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.
Last week–home and blog
We’re on our road trip and as with anything it has its ups and downs–mostly ups. The scenery is beautiful, my husband and I have lots of fun together and we’ve listened to two audiobooks while driving! The downsides–we’re tired since it is a busy schedule we’re keeping and we hit a deer in Canada.
We were almost to the U.S. border in Washington State when a deer jumped out and smashed in the right front of the car.
The big upside–we were unhurt and wonderful people stopped to help. We ended up having the car towed 120 miles to Spokane, Washington where we could find a repair shop and a rental car agency.
We’ve rented a car and are in Seattle for our niece’s wedding. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re going to do next since the car is not totaled, but will take some time to repair. However, all that is for next week. Right now we’re enjoying the wedding!
The first week we were gone I had posts scheduled and thought I would get more done while we were traveling, but that has been harder than it seems. Using my cell phone to prepare posts isn’t as easy as I thought and lots of places in the mountains and rural areas have no cell service. The next couple weeks I will see how much I can get done. I do hope to visit more blogs and catch up with what everyone else is doing.
My husband and I have been on a road trip for about 10 days now. We’ve had many adventures and seen beautiful places. I posted photos and some commentary earlier in the week (Mammoths and Black Hills) from our first major stop.
Our second major stop we visited Glacier National Park in northern Montana and had a beautiful day to see the mountains, rivers, lakes, valleys, waterfalls….
We decided to travel on the Going to the Sun Road which I heard about through the years, but I figured it had gotten wider and easier to drive on through the years. Maybe it has, but it’s still a narrow, twisty road that’s kind of scary some of the time as well as a road that shows beautiful scenery. Next time maybe we would let someone else do the driving since we saw cool, red buses on the road!
We reached the top of mountain pass and found a bit of roadside snow from earlier in the week. There is a visitor’s center and lots of trails to walk further into the mountains. A little earlier in the day there were mountain goats visible, but they had gone around to the other side of the mountain. Then we started down the mountain.
And down the mountain we went! This side was shorter which we were glad of! But the views were no less spectacular. Near the bottom was a beautiful lake and then we were outside the park.
We drove around the bottom side of the park from east to west back to our hotel. However, I saw a shortcut which we took. Of course, that turned out to be an unmaintained road with open range cattle and horses. Which we did see! Again it was a narrow, twisty road with drop offs, but pretty scenery!
We drove about seven hours on these roads. We were happy we’d seen Glacier National Park. The scenery is spectacular, but we were exhausted when we got back to the hotel.
The Royal Wulff Murdersby Keith McCafferty
Series: Sean Stranahan series #1
Published by Viking, 2012
Synopsis:A clever and fast-paced murder mystery full of wit, suspense, and fly fishing.
When a fishing guide reels in the body of a young man on the Madison, the Holy Grail of Montana trout rivers, Sheriff Martha Ettinger suspects foul play. It’s not just the stick jammed into the man’s eye that draws her attention; it’s the Royal Wulff trout fly stuck in his bloated lower lip. Following her instincts, Ettinger soon finds herself crossing paths with Montana newcomer Sean Stranahan.
Fly fisher, painter, and has-been private detective, Stranahan left a failed marriage and lackluster career to drive to Montana, where he lives in an art studio decorated with fly-tying feathers and mouse droppings. With more luck catching fish than clients, Stranahan is completely captivated when Southern siren Velvet Lafayette walks into his life, intent on hiring his services to find her missing brother. The clues lead Stranahan and Ettinger back to Montana’s Big Business: fly fishing. Where there’s money, there’s bound to be crime.
In Sean Stranahan’s philosophy of life, any man who had a fly rod, a quarter tank of gas, and four decent tires was never too far from home.
The rainbow marked the end of a story that had begun nearly nine months ago and he was reluctant to open his hand. Trout are the ghosts of moving waters, gone like the dreams one longs to remember. When this one glimmered away, he felt as if he’d caught smoke or that it had never been there in the first place.
I love the Montana setting with fly fishing, the beautiful outdoors and rivers and the dichotomy of the people who flock to the Montana rivers for the fishing–some who have vacation homes in Montana, but only spend a few weeks every year in the state–and those who live year round and try to make a living in Montana.
When a body is found in a popular fly fishing river the sheriff wonders if the young man is a victim of accidental drowning or murder.
Sean Stranahan is a painter, but not selling too many paintings. He’s recently come to Montana from New England and he’s living in his studio. He was a private detective in New England so his studio door is marked with both “Blue Ribbon Watercolors” and “Private Investigations.”
Velvet Lafayette walks into Sean’s office and hires him to find her father’s fishing spot. And keep his eye out for her brother. Sean asks her for her brother’s description since he has heard about the drowned fisherman. The two descriptions don’t match.
Sheriff Ettinger questions Sean while he’s out fishing when she and her deputies are questioning fishermen who might have seen something along the river where the young man died.
Later Sean is fishing with the fishing guide who found the body when someone shoots the guide. Sean manages to save the guide’s life and meets up again with Sheriff Ettinger.
They investigate these events from two different directions.
I enjoyed this book partly because I grew up living in the U.S. West and loving the outdoors, but I don’t think you have to be familiar with those aspects of the book to enjoy this story.
When Velvet Lafayette walks into Sean’s life I felt a flash of the hard-boiled detective story such as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon where the femme fatale leads the detective on. Velvet has a rather bizarre story and it’s hard to know if she’s telling the truth.
The story revolves around trout, fly fishing and rivers in Montana. I loved all the outdoor scenes and writing. I grew up camping and fishing with my family in Oregon. My Dad tied his own flies so I relate to the fly tying and fishing.
The Royal Wulff fly (which you can see on the cover of the book) is a dry-fly pattern originally tied by Lee Wulff in the 1930’s and still used by fishermen today. It resembles a number of different types of mayflies. I like the authenticity that Mr. McCafferty uses without making the book boring.
The book also features Sheriff Martha Ettinger who has fought her way to the top of her profession. Along with her department she investigates the death of the young man found in the river. She’s a great character to read about. We see only a little of the woman behind the sheriff and I like that.
The characters are well-written and varied. We have both the sheriff’s and Sean’s points-of-view and since they are coming at things from two different directions that makes the story interesting as I wondered where their investigations would converge.
I love the humor in the story. In the first paragraph: “The client, whose largest trout to date had been the size of a breakfast sausage, reared back as if to stick a tarpon.” That sets the stage for lots more humor!
I like Keith McCafferty’s writing a lot. I think an outdoorsman and writer like Mr. McCafferty is something of a philosopher and I find some of that in his writing along with a great story.
There might be too much “fish” talk for some readers, but I think the book is worth reading through that even if you don’t like fishing.
And concluding thoughts . . .
I’m ready to read more books by Mr. McCafferty! I’ve bought the second book in the series and hope to read it soon. The fourth book in the series–Crazy Mountain Kiss–comes out in June 2016.
Have you read this book? How did you like it?
As well as being a novelist for Viking/Penguin Books, 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.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): It’s April, but there’s still snow on the Montana mountains the day a member of the Madison River Liar and Fly Tiers club finds a Santa hat in the chimney of his rented cabin. With the flue clogged and desperate to make a fire, he climbs up to the roof, only to find the body of a teenage girl wedged into the chimney. When Sheriff Martha Ettinger and her team arrive to extract the body they identify the victim as Cinderella “Cindy” Huntingdon, a promising young rodeo star, missing since November.
Was Cindy murdered? Or running for her life—and if so, from whom? Cindy’s mother, Etta, hires private detective Sean Stranahan to find out. Jasper Fey, the girl’s stepfather, believes moving on is the only way to heal. But Etta’s not willing to let it go, and neither are Sean or Martha, who find clues to the death in the mysterious legends of the Crazy Mountains. The fourth book in McCafferty’s mystery series features a brisk, savvy plot and charming yet authentic characters—perfect for fans of C. J. Box and Craig Johnson.
Why I want this book
I read the first book in this series and really liked it.
The books are set in Montana about an avid fly fisherman who is also a private detective.
The series also has a female sheriff so the books are also a little bit police procedural–which I like!
What about you? Is there some book you are waiting impatiently for?