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by Keith McCafferty

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-670-02569-5
Publisher: Viking

A second spate of high-country homicides for Hyalite County sheriff Martha Ettinger and Sean Stranahan, the former Boston PI who solves murders when he isn’t painting or fishing.

Think big-city CSI teams have it tough? Their examinations of crime scenes are hardly ever interrupted by a grizzly bear like the one that sends Deputy Harold Little Feather to the hospital. The episode puts a serious crimp in Martha’s appetite for pawing around Sphinx Mountain, where dog handler Katie Sparrow’s German shepherd Lothar had led her to the decomposed remains of two unknown men. So Katie and Sean climb back alone to the scene of the crime and find a whopping big steel-jacketed bullet. The discovery means nothing to Sean, whom the Madison River Liars and Fly Tiers Club has hired in an amusingly roundabout way to recover a pair of hand-tied fishing flies most fishing clubs couldn’t afford. But when Montana congressman Weldon Crawford Jr., who sold the club its land, casually mentions his fondness for big guns in the course of a visit Sean’s paid ostensibly to ask if he’s had any break-ins lately, Sean can’t help wondering if the two cases are connected. Despite the rising body count, there’ll be time for some expert and revealing forensics, Sean’s romance with a sweet barista, and a novel and lethal twist on Richard Connell’s classic story “The Most Dangerous Game.”

The same regulars and the same great scenery as Martha and Sean’s debut (The Royal Wulff Murders, 2012). Though the felonious details this time are muddled and often hard to swallow, the central concept behind the complicated pair of cases is irresistible.