First Sentence: The hands shook as the watcher adjusted the focus ring of the binoculars.
Katie Sparrow’s search and rescue dog doesn’t find the reported lost
hiker. Instead, they find a buried body which, when uncovered, was a
murder victim. And then they find another. Fly-fishing guide, painter
and PI Sean Stranahan is hired to find a lost tackle box. The box is
also an entry to his being introduced to the members of the Madison
River Liars and Fly Tiers Club; a group of men who bought a cabin along
the river. It is they who really want to hire Stranahan to find two
valuable fishing flies which have been stolen from their cabin. The
trail turns very dark as Sean is asked to help the police with the
murders while still searching for the flies.
From the beginning, the
author’s love of fly fishing is very apparent. Even if fishing and
hunting, are not your style, don’t let that stop you from reading this
book for it is the characters that carry the story.
Stranahan may be
described as extremely good looking, but that really doesn’t much play
into the character. Yes, women are attracted to him, but he is anything
but a womanizer, and how refreshing is that. Not only that, there is
no profanity in the book; another nice change. And although he knows
how to use a gun, he doesn’t own one. If anything, it is Sherriff
Martha Ettinger who comes across as the tougher character, except where
her love life is concerned. Then, she is classically vulnerable.
Katie, the dog handler, facilitates moments of humor…”Godfrey, a
schoolteacher with a scratch to itch and lay south of his belt buckle
and a history of women cutting his fact out of photographs….” What’s
nice is that are the characters are clearly drawn and distinct.
provides excellent descriptions which help the reader understand the
love of fly fishers and give one a desire for traveling to Montana…”Above
him was one of those summer skies that people who live in the East can’t
believe are real, the light over the Gravelly Range lavender bleeding
to pink, the clouds rimmed with golden light from the setting sun and
the river a study in pointillism, as wavelets bounced colors back and
The plot is interesting and compelling. There are
layers and twists enough to keep you going. There is a classic short
story, "The Most Dangerous Game," referenced which, if the reader is
familiar with the story, gives a hint of the story’s path, but one isn’t
certain quite how it’s going to play in. There are characters one
suspects, but enough uncertainty to keep one guessing.
“The Gray Ghost Murders” is a very good read with layers and good suspense. It kept me involved from first page to last.
THE GRAY GHOST MURDERS (PI- Sean Stranahan-Montana-Contemp) – VG
McCafferty, Keith – 2nd in series