In the vein of Joe Pickett and Walt Longmire.
What is the Sean Stranahan series about?
Written by journalist and author Keith McCafferty, the Sean Stranahan series is a mystery series taking us to Montana for some fly fishing with a side of murder in the snow.
Sean Stranahan is a painter who moonlights as a fishing guide in the summer. He has a sharp sense of detail and a natural curiosity that frequently cause him to get embroiled in the investigation of crimes and mysteries in the untamed wilderness of Montana.
Stranahan becomes involved in numerous investigations throughout the series. He gathers information and pieces together each case’s truth using his powers of observation and local knowledge. He runs into a wide range of interesting people who are involved in the mystery as they develop, including law enforcement officers, other fisherman, Native Americans, and others.
How to read the Sean Stranahan Books in Order?
Every book in the Sean Stranahan series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- The Royal Wulff Murders (2012)
- The Gray Ghost Murders (2013)
- Dead Man’s Fancy (2014)
- Crazy Mountain Kiss (2015)
- Buffalo Jump Blues (2016)
- Cold Hearted River (2017)
- A Death in Eden (2018)
- The Bangtail Ghost (2020)
What is the plot of the Sean Stranahan novels?
The Royal Wulff Murders – Flyfisher, 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 Gray Ghost Murders – When the graves of two men are discovered on Sphinx Mountain, Sheriff Martha Ettinger suspects murder. But with the only evidence a hole in a skull that might or might not have been caused by a bullet, she once more finds herself turning to private investigator Sean Stranahan for help.
Dead Man’s Fancy – As Sheriff Martha Ettinger follows hoof tracks in the snow, she finds a man impaled on the antler tine of a giant bull elk, a kill that’s been claimed by a wolf pack. An accident? If not, is the killer human or animal? With private detective Sean Stranahan’s help, Ettinger will follow clues that point to an animal rights group called the Clan of the Three-Clawed Wolf and to their svengali master, whose eyes blaze with pagan fire.
Crazy Mountain Kiss – Climbing to the roof to see what’s clogging the flue of his rented cabin, an unsuspecting member of the Madison River Liars and Fly Tiers Club’s shocked to find the body of a teenage girl wedged into the chimney. A rodeo belt buckle identifies the recently deceased victim as Cinderella “Cindy” Huntington, a rising rodeo star. Hyalite County sheriff Martha Ettinger has been hunting for the girl since she went missing the previous November.
Buffalo Jump Blues – In the wake of Fourth of July fireworks in Montana’s Madison Valley, Hyalite County sheriff Martha Ettinger and Deputy Sheriff Harold Little Feather investigate a horrific scene at the Palisades cliffs, where a herd of bison have fallen to their deaths. Victims of blind panic caused by the pyrotechnics, or a ritualistic hunting practice dating back thousands of years?
Cold Hearted River – When a woman goes missing in a spring snowstorm and is found dead in a bear’s den, Sheriff Martha Ettinger reunites with her once-again lover Sean Stranahan to investigate. In a pannier of the dead woman’s horse, they find a wallet of old trout flies, the leather engraved with the initials EH. Only a few days before, Patrick Willoughby had been approached by a man selling fishing gear that he claimed once belonged to Ernest Hemingway. A coincidence?
A Death in Eden – When scarecrows appear on the cliffs above Montana’s famous Smith River and a little girl reports being chased by one in the night, state investigator Harold Little Feather is brought in to find the culprit.
The Bangtail Ghost – In Montana’s Gravelly Range, paw prints and a single whisker discovered at a scene of horrific violence suggest a woman had been attacked and carried away by a mountain lion. Sheriff Martha Ettinger employs her fiancé, sometimes-detective Sean Stranahan, to put a name to the gnawed bones comprising all that is left of the body.
What should you read if you like the Sean Stranahan novels?
If you like reading Keith McCafferty’s Sean Stranahan Mysteries, you may be interested in C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett series, Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series, William Kent Krueger’s Cork O’Connor books, Paul Doiron’s Mike Bowditch novels…