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Buffalo Jump Blues

(Sean Stranahan #5)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  763 ratings  ·  96 reviews
In the fifth novel in the Sean Stranahan mystery series, Montana's favorite fly fisherman-detective tackles a case of lost love, murder, and wildlife politics
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 her
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published June 28th 2016 by Viking
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
My first reaction when I started to read this book was puzzlement. Not over the story, but that Martha and Harold Little Feather seemed to be an item (again). I kept thinking, but what about Sean? What about the ending in the last book? Then, it was all cleared up and explained. Sigh, humans, that they never learn.

As for the story about the mass death of the bisons that was a gruesome scene to read about. I'm not a big fan of death of animals in books and reading about Harold walking around the
Brenda A
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-to-read
This surprised me because I wasn't expecting much out of it. Turns out it's a well-written novel with an element of suspense that keeps you motivated to keep reading. It's not something that occupied all of my time or head space; I was able to put it down for a couple days then come back to it without feeling like I was missing out. I'd say that's ultimately its only downside--there's no sense of urgency, even when all of our players are trying to solve the case and dealing with the climax of th ...more
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Our visit to Montana starts right after the Independence Day celebration. Sheriff Martha Ettinger and Deputy Sheriff Harold Little Feather are called in to investigate a murder and massacre. A herd of buffalo have plummeted off the edge of a cliff and a man is found dead nearby. When they notice the man has an arrow in his leg they have to assume it wasn’t the fireworks that started the stampede.

We find Sean Stranahan taking it easy painting and finishing until he is approache
Dale Kerbs
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
All good mystery novels contain the elements necessary to keep me following along, trying to solve the riddle, yet keeping me guessing until near the end. A successful series will take me places I want to be, filling me with the sights, sounds and smells of those locations in such a way that I feel as though I am there. It will introduce me to characters that I want to know, gradually letting me into their lives until I become invested in their successes and failures, including their loves – bo ...more
Carsten Hansen
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the interesting features of the First-to-read program is that frequently come across authors of whom you have previously heard nothing. That is the case with this book an Keith McGafferty.
The story takes place in Madison Valley, Montana right after the Fourth of July when the county sheriff and her deputy are investigating the herd of bison who had fallen to their death at Palisades Cliff, and those that haven't died are are put out of their misery.
They wonder if the buffalo were victims
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Really enjoyed this one. Eye-opening re: the plight of bison in this country. Damm guv'ment...
Chris Conley
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These Sean Stranahan books are terrific. I always come away from them wishing I had asked my dad to take me fly fishing with him. The outdoor stuff in these books is fascinating and the crimes he helps solve always keep me on my toes. And, in an interesting "huh" moment, I first heard of McCafferty in a talk by C.J. Box and in this book, Sean mentions reading C.J. Box. Fun. 😊
Cyn Mcdonald
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Trigger warning: Lots of dead bison.

The story is good. The supporting information about the plight of bison and the controversy over herds being permitted on public and reservation lands is well-presented, but ultimately frustrating and sad.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
5th novel in the Sean Stranahan series. The story takes place in Madison Valley, Montana. Beautiful country, which I have been blessed to visit. Good story with wonderful characters. One of my favorite series.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the third in the Sean Stranahan series I 've read and my favorite. In this book Keith McCafferty not only tells a good story but educates us a bit on the tensions between ranchers and those who want the buffalo to a have a greater range of freedom to roam, and between Native American ways and Those of the Whites. All in all a good story and some education along the way
Carolyn Livingston
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I selected this book from Free to Read because it has elements that I enjoy in a book. I like stories that have history and setting/place (especially American Southwest and West) as important elements, that include Native Americans, and that expand my knowledge in some way. The fact that my husband and I had visited a buffalo jump along Interstate 90 in eastern Montana a few years ago also played a part.

The book did not disappoint, with an interesting plot and characters and a story that kept m
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-montana
This mystery is a statement about outdated and absurd practices- the killing of bison in Idaho and Montana that stray from Yellowstone Park. This is done because of the ranching industry's hysterical anxiety over brucellosis despite there's no proof or evidence that bison have transmitted this disease to cattle. Beautiful animals being shot down because they are doing what is in their DNA-roaming. The author who lives in Bozeman, MT and is a former editor of Field and Stream Magazine is no stran ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This delightful series continues to gently sweep me down rivers and into the backcountry. As a whitewater river guide and outdoorsy gal, I appreciate the author's descriptions of rivers, currents, and - even though I'm not an angler - the details of fishing ties. This installment continues the author's focus on environmental issues, delving into the politics of managing bison herds in and around public lands. I came away surprised that unscientific beliefs drive public policy and sad about the s ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting story about the buffalo herds that wander into Idaho, Montana and any surrounding state from Yellowstone National Park and killed by the game wardens and others. Every year hundreds are killed to keep the herd size down because the cattlemen don't want to share the grazing lands.

The actual story is about two brothers who get two Native American young men to agree to do a "pishkin". That is the intentional running of a herd over a cliff. The Native American Indians did it in years pa
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
#5 in the Sean Stranahan series. This 2016 series entry by author Keith McCafferty deals with the modern plight of the American Buffalo and adds a pair of psychopathic twins getting involved with an underground reenactment of an historic Indian method of hunting buffalo. Not too much fishing in this series entry but it is still packed with regional color.

Something causes 11 bison to jump off the Palisades cliffs. Nearby, Sheriff Martha Ettinger and Deputy Harold Little Feather discover the corps
Mary Beth
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. This is the first of this series that I have read and it read well as a stand-alone story. I enjoyed the book very much. Good history of the northern plains bison and their long symbiotic history with local Native American tribes. Expounds upon the ridiculous regulatory restrictions that threaten the bison today. Quite a bit of foul language, but not exactly oppressive. The story was intricate and meaningful. The settings for the novel in and around the Y ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
References historical Indian culture, specifically the slaughter of buffalo by running them over a cliff, Indian values, and contemporary Indian life ... There's some interesting research (although occasionally presented in clunky paragraphs of exposition) about federal and state agencies' policies regarding the Yellowstone buffalo herds, brought down to particulars in the case of a buffalo calf that survives the jump and is saved from official destruction by some of the story's characters. The ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I believe this series continues to improve and this one tops the rest. A controversial subject is handled with a level of objectivity rarely seen in fiction or non-fiction for that matter. The characters are well developed and have increasing depth as the series progresses. One of the things I loved about living in Montana was the expressions used by the old timers. McCafferty sprinkles them in adding not just to the humor in the story but actually increasing the believebility of the characters. ...more
Dennis Robbins
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoyed the first four novels you will enjoy the fifth one in the Sean Stranahan mystery series. The backdrop is interesting: the technology of Buffalo jumps and the politics of Bison management in the American west. I have fly fishing comment about a statement on page 174, “I know that a March Brown and a gray drake don’t look alike but are actually the same species, Maccaffertium vicarium.” I know this is a play on the author’s name and I know that the March Brown and the “Gray Fox” wer ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book, well worth reading, character developments proceed. Interesting information about the reintroduction of bison in the US, and varying views of whether or not they should be allowed to roam outside a specific part of Yellowstone National Park, and who should decide and act. The plot is triggered by someone in Montana creating an over-the-cliff jump of a stray herd of bison.

I previously read his Grey Ghost Murders (#3 in the series) and enjoyed it, but must have been shortly bef
Theodore Kinni
Apr 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
Made it all the way to page 24, past the detailed descriptions of every firearm, to a conversation between the PI and a "mermaid" on a cigarette break outside a bar:

"What's you last name, Ida?"
"Evening Star."
"Like Venus?"
"No, Venus is a planet. It's just called the Evening Star."
"Ah. So that's why you asked me earlier about the stars."
"No, I was just making conversation."
"I showed you mine, show me yours. Is it out tonight?"
"Maybe if I knew you better."
"Are you?"
"Going to know me better? I don't
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Sean Stranahan series is what I like to call a buffer series. I like to read these books as a palette cleanser between other books. Buffalo Jump Blues was a fast read like the others, a nature based murder mystery type of thing. Unlike the previous books, I thought this one took a long time to get going. Never the less, if you are looking for something light, maybe something on the plane, this is a great book for that.

Fredrick Danysh
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
When buffalo leave the park they acquire a death sentence. Deputy Harold Little Feather finds a buffalo calf at the site of a buffalo jump where he has to put down several animals. He tries to hide the little bull from the state hunters who kill any buffalo that stray from the park. Sean Stranahan is hired to find a missing Indian. At the site of the jump a dead Indian is found eviscerated. Soon the cases are connected as violence continues. This was an interesting read.
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, native
This is a 4 1/2 at least. My husband and I read this mystery together, greatly enjoying the seamless blend of literature, environmental detail about animals and landscapes, and a great sensitivity and respect for Native people--all in a book that was suspenseful and excellently plotted. I will definitely be reading more in this remarkable series by an author who also writes about nature and the outdoors.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I love to read mysteries, and I rejoice when I find an author and protagonist I really like. This is my first McCafferty book; it is #5 in the Sean Stranahan series. Set in Montana, where I happened to be while reading this, the story centers on a modern-day buffalo hunt which results in a suspicious death. Besides the sleuthing, I was interested in the information about bison in the West today. It is a difficult issue, one with which I was previously unfamiliar.
J Booth
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Go ahead Jump!!!

Once again Keith McCafferty has produced a provoking good story with a familiar cast of characters in a storied landscape of Western flavor, danced amid the flavor of fly fishing and native American history. Entertaining and evocative, keeping the momentum from revelation to anticipation, culminating in an interesting story. Another but if McCafferty magic unfolds. Kudos.
Krissy Neddo
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Finally, Sean doesn't sleep with the woman involved in the "case"!! I just love these characters! Sam has grown on me and might even be my favorite in this one. The banter back and forth with Sam cracks me up. So even if this was not favorite of this series, I will definitely pick up the next one.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Perfect read for my return from Montana. First time with a McCafferty novel. Enjoyed the story, setting and of course the buffalo angle. Learned a lot about the buffalo and the west! Eye opening!
Some work to do on treating the majestic buffalo with respect.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All of the Sean Stranahan novels are well-written page-turning mysteries set in Wyoming and Montana (and nearby places) and weave in flyfishing and mystery and life in the West. My favorite mainstream mystery series (and the only one where I eagerly look forward to each installment).
Dana Jennings
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is my third in the Stranahan series - I started with #3. Each one is well written and innovative. CJ Box just got too horrid and gruesome for me. McCafferty is poetic and his characters quirky and fun.
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Keith McCafferty is the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor of Field & Stream. He has written articles for publications as diverse as Fly Fisherman Magazine, Mother Earth News, Grays Sporting Journal and the Chicago Tribune, and on subjects ranging from mosquitoes to wolves to mercenaries and exorcism. Based in Montana and working on assignment around the globe he recently spent a month in India tr ...more

Other books in the series

Sean Stranahan (7 books)
  • The Royal Wulff Murders (Sean Stranahan, #1)
  • The Gray Ghost Murders (Sean Stranahan, #2)
  • Dead Man's Fancy (Sean Stranahan, #3)
  • Crazy Mountain Kiss (Sean Stranahan, #4)
  • Cold Hearted River (Sean Stranahan #6)
  • A Death in Eden

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