The Jim Buchanan Novels

A series of mystery/suspense/thriller novels from present day, western Montana

Note: all photos were purchased royalty-free and licensed for commercial use.

Novel timeline (generally accepted start of series is 1995):

1995-96 –

Montana Harvest (published November 1, 2013)

1996-97 –

Mystery at Little Bitterroot (published March 8, 2016)


The Killing Zone (published April 1, 2017)

Missing in Montana (published February 15, 2019)

Miracle of the Talking Stick (published February 1, 2021)

Upcoming novels – Montana Ripper (1997), Incident at Dead River Junction (1997), Murders at Middle Fork (1997), Mystery at Fort Benton (1998), Children of the Yaak (1998), Ghost with a Gun (1999), The Coldfoot Killer (1999), The Scarlet Max (2000), Dimmuborgir: The Dark Fortress (2000), Apsáalooke Revenge (2001)

  • Upcoming prequel novels – Spirit Woman (1948), The Orion Prophecy (1961), Crow Star Child (1977), Blood on the Rez (1978), Akbaalia (1988), The Ghost Wind (1992)


James “Jim” (Little Hawk) Buchanan – 33 (at start of novel series), 6’4”, shoulder-length brown hair, worn in a pony tail, muscular build, named after the 15th President of the US, father was Scottish, mom was a full-blood Crow Indian.  Taylor High School football, basketball & baseball star. He was a University of Montana football star as a DT, and 1st round NFL pick who played DE. After an injury-filled three years in the NFL he turned down the remainder of his pro career to be a USAF Military Policeman (dog handler). His buddies in the USAF called him Hoss because of his size. He owns a deuce and half military surplus vehicle. After military service he was a Montana Highway Patrolman and then Cedar County Sheriff. Jim holds an instrument-rated pilot’s license. The Cedar County Sheriff’s responsibilities are to run the county jail and patrol that area of the county not under the jurisdiction of various local police offices.

Kate Buchanan – 33 (at start of novel series), 5’11”, brown hair, athletic build, James’ high school sweetheart, married when they were both 28. Moved to Montana with her hippie parents when she was only 5 years old.  Her parents (Joan and Pete) moved to Alaska when Kate was a teenager. Kate chose to stay behind and was raised by Sheriff Dan McCoy, Jim’s predecessor. Studied music at the University of Montana and eventually earned a Masters in Music Composition and a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision.

Alma Rose Two Elk – 17 (at start of novel series), 5’11”, black hair. Born out of wedlock on the Crow Reservation to 17-year old Jim Buchanan and 15-year old Shoshanna Pepper. Alma Rose is the Crow tribe’s Akbaalia (healer) and an athletically gifted young woman who aspires to become a forensic investigator in the University of Montana’s Criminal Justice Program.

Henry “Hank” Kelly – 62 (at start of novel series), 5’8”, short, white hair, thin build, Kate’s uncle, Vietnam Veteran, former military physician, spent 30 years in the NYC Coroner’s Office and decided to retire at 62.  Was a legend in NYC Police Precincts as an honest and thorough coroner.  Moved to Taylor Montana and accepted the position of Chief Medical Examiner with the intention to fully retire at 65.

Dan McCoy – 70 (at start of novel series), 6’ 2”, balding, spent 43 years as the Cedar County Sheriff plus a four-year gap in Vietnam (1965-68). Elevated to the rank of colonel in the Army Reserve. Jim relies on Dan’s honesty to help solve cases. Dan moved to Whitefish, Montana after his retirement.

Sarah Whispers Two Elk – 43 (at start of novel series), 5’11”, black hair, Jim’s half-sister, loves Jim as a true brother and adoptive mother to Alma Rose. Sarah Whispers has poor health due to a liver transplant.

Rocco “Rocky” Salvatore Salentino – 30 (at start of novel series), 6’0”, crew cut, brown hair, stocky build, Cedar County Undersheriff, USAF Military Policeman and Jim’s service buddy. Jim got Rocky a job in the sheriff’s department in 1995. Rocky was born & raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a 2nd  generation Italian-American. He was a former Fulton/Rockaway street-wise hoodlum. Friends back home called him Triple O (rOccO salentinO).

Acaraho Otaktay – 17 (at start of novel series), 6’0”, full-blood Native American with Crow, Sioux, and Cherokee heritage. Lives on the Crow Reservation. Is in love with Alma Rose Two Elk. Nephew of Willie Otaktay.

Alvin Birdhat “Preacher” Running Wolf – 41 (at start of novel series), 6’3”, full-blood Crow Indian. Crow Tribal Police Chief and full-time minister at the Apsáalooke Baptist Church in the town of Lodge Grass. 

Manuel “Manny” Costa – 43 (at start of novel series), 5’9”, Portuguese-American who is an FBI Special Agent in Charge. With a background of fighting organized crime in the NYC area, Manny now is often assigned to felony murder and kidnapping cases in Montana.

Linda Stevens – 30 (at start of novel series), 5’8”, short blond hair, athletic build, Taylor Police Captain and Kate Buchanan’s best friend.  Solid, rock steady person in town and Jim’s honest link to the Taylor Police Department.  Everything’s by the book with Linda.

Angel – 2 year-old German Shorthaired Pointer (at start of novel series). Obtained from a local rescue group as a puppy and trained by Jim to be a police service dog and companion animal. She is both loyal and protective of Jim and Kate.

Shadow – German Shepherd puppy (at start of novel series). Shadow was used as a watchdog for an outlaw biker gang and was found abandoned on a bench in the Cabinet Mountains. Shadow was rescued by Jim and entered in the service dog training program. He lives with Jim, Kate, and Angel.

Shoshanna Pepper Johnson – 31 (at start of novel series), 5’5”, long black hair, full-blood Crow Indian. Was Jim’s first love and gave birth to Alma Rose Two Elk when she was only 15. Ordered by the tribal council to give up Alma Rose to Sara Whispers at birth and hasn’t seen Alma Rose since then.

Jenny Nightstar Two Elk – died in 1977 from complications related to diabetes. Was the Crow Tribe’s Akbaalia (healer) and Jim’s mother.

Angus Hamish Buchanan – died in 1979 from a heart attack. Scottish immigrant and Jim’s father.

Bobby Rides in Clouds Two Elk – 46 (at start of novel series). Owns a grocery store on the Crow Reservation. Jim’s half-brother.

Alex “Axe” Killian – 29 (at start of novel series). Undercover FBI agent. Former Staff Sergeant, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia. Commanded a Ranger strike force in Somalia during 1993.

Peta Ross – 16 (at start of novel series). Kidnapped in 1992 at the age of 13 by the religious cult, Children of the Big Sky. Renamed Eden Child by the cult’s leader, Solomon Child. Daughter of Montana Governor Robert Ross.

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