cover image Buffalo Jump Blues: A Sean Stranahan Mystery

Buffalo Jump Blues: A Sean Stranahan Mystery

Keith McCafferty. Viking, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-42959-3

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. [em]Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary. (June) [/em]