cover image Cold Hearted River: A Sean Stranahan Mystery

Cold Hearted River: A Sean Stranahan Mystery

Keith McCafferty. Viking, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-42960-9

In McCafferty’s intriguing sixth Sean Stranahan mystery (after 2016’s Buffalo Jump Blues), the Montana fishing guide helps his ex-girlfriend, Sheriff Martha Ettinger, retrieve Frieda Toliver’s belongings from the ridge where she died during a surprise snowstorm. Among Frieda’s effects is an old fly-fishing wallet bearing the initials “EH.” Patrick Willoughby of the Madison River Liars and Fly Tiers Club identifies the contents as an obscure three-fly cast favored by Ernest Hemingway—an odd coincidence, given that someone recently offered to sell Patrick a collection of Hemingway’s fishing tackle. Sean and Patrick go to appraise the gear and instead find the corpse of Frieda’s stepbrother. Sean’s efforts to locate the missing memorabilia and determine its provenance unearth tales of a stolen steamer trunk containing not just Hemingway’s rods and reels but also an unpublished short story. McCafferty writes about fly-fishing, Hemingway, and the American West with obvious affection and authority. Colorful characters and forbidding locales complement the book’s central puzzle, which has surprising real-life roots. [em]Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary. (July) [/em]