"Keith McCafferty is a top-notch, first-rate, can't-miss novelist."
--C.J. Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author
When scarecrows appear in 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. Are the menacing effigies related to a copper-mining project that threatens the purity of the Smith? That's Harold's initial suspicion, but his investigation takes an ominous turn when a decapitated body is found in the river.
As Harold's search leads him back in time through the canyon's history, Sean Stranahan launches his raft upriver. He has been hired to guide a floating party that includes Clint McCaine, the manager of the mine project; Bart Trueblood, the president of “Save The Smith,” a grassroots organization devoted to stopping the project; and the documentarian filming their arguments. McCaine and Trueblood grew up on the Smith on neighboring ranches, and as they travel downstream, it’s revealed that the two share a past that runs much deeper and darker than their opposing viewpoints.
The currents of the seemingly unrelated trips will soon flow together, and Stranahan's long-time love Sheriff Martha Ettinger will enter the fray as the boats hurtle toward a date with danger at a place called Table Rock. A Death in Eden is the seventh novel in the acclaimed Sean Stranahan mystery series.
In McCafferty's enjoyable if flawed seventh outing for wilderness guide and PI Sean Stranahan (after 2017's Cold Hearted River), Sean rafts Montana's scenic Smith River with a TV reporter and two local men, childhood friends turned foes who represent opposing views of a copper mine proposed for the area. Meanwhile, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation agent Harold Little Feather and his 17-year-old son, Marcus, embark on a canoe trip in search of a mysterious man who has left scarecrows and anti-mine messages along the river. What appears a harmless, creative form of protest assumes sinister implications when Harold, Marcus, and the scarecrow-maker cross paths and later confront a murderous duo. McCafferty's passion for his wilderness setting, knowledge of fishing, and understanding of local issues combine to create a rich sense of place. Unfortunately, an array of both minor and significant continuity errors, from changing ages to inconsistent chronology, mar this entry. Fans will hope for a return to form next time.