Sentence: The hands shook as the watcher adjusted the
focus ring of the binoculars.
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
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.
McCafferty provides excellent descriptions which help the
reader understand the love of fly fishers and give 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 forth…”
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. It kept
me involved from first page to last.