The Bangtail Ghost: A Sean Stranahan Mystery
Viking, 2020 (2020)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
he Bangtail Ghost
is the eighth in Keith McCafferty's mystery series that began with
The Royal Wulff Murders
(unusual titles!) Its leads are occasional PI Sean Stranahan, his tough fiancée Sheriff Martha Ettinger, and the magnificent state of Montana itself.
s the episode opens, a series of deaths, apparently by mountain lions, terrorize the Madison Valley. Sean works for outfitter Sam Meslik who calls for Sean and Martha to join him at a hunting rig where he's found blood on the snow. Martha wears the badge but she defers to trackers like Sean in the mountains.
he trailer on the site appears to belong to a Jane Doe prostitute. As they follow the trail, what they find suggests that she was dragged by a mountain lion before being killed and partially eaten. There are more killings (some told from the point of view of the mountain lion) and readers wonder where the mystery lurks inside this story.
ell, it turns out that the man-eater is not always a lion, and Sean comes much too close to becoming prey in a dramatic crescendo of a conclusion to
The Bangtail Ghost
. Read this intriguing mystery to learn fascinating details about the habits and habitats of mountain lions.
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