Monday, February 5, 2024

What Happens in Montana by Kim McCollum


“Reminiscent of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty…a quest for trust and forgiveness amongst four women which tests the limits of the long friendships and marital bonds.” – Peter Kiesners, author of Scorpion Grass


“…a real page turner. A strong five stars!” – Diane Hawley Nagamoto, author of The Butterfly CafĂ©


“A poignant, realistic story that will tug at your emotions.” – Regina Buttner, author of Down a Bad Road and Absolution


“…well researched, wonderfully written, and historically accurate, is a testament to the power of women’s friendships across generations.” – Sara Fraser, author of Just River


A ghost’s antics, a harrowing moose chase, a hypnosis session, and smuggled booze lead to spilled secrets and betrayal, but do they also lead to murder?


At a hot springs retreat in Montana, whiskey-swigging Maude, the nearly eighty-year-old chef, longs for the glory days when the retreat hosted martini-sipping celebrities instead of long-haired hippies who refuse to wear deodorant. Brooke, feisty, adventurous, and a bit reckless, proposes a reunion at the retreat with her best friends to get away from the chaos of her life with teenagers and the emotional aftermath of her postponed wedding. One of those friends, Tracy, has devoted her life to her children and her husband despite her excruciating boredom. But a long-held secret could cost her the most important friendships in her life. Haunting the place is a ghost who, in life, dealt with tragedy by turning to prostitution which led to her murder over 100 years ago at the very place they all are staying.


What Happens in Montana explores friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness with blunt truth and witty insights. Together, these friends learn to navigate empty nests, infidelity, deception, and poltergeists. Most importantly, they learn their friendship is strong enough to get them through it all.


Publisher: Life: Black Rose Writing


ISBN-13: 1685133606

Print length: 335 pages


Purchase a copy of What Happens in Montana by visiting AmazonBarnes and Noble, or Make sure you also add What Happens in Montana to your Goodreads reading list. 


Read an Excerpt

I glanced at the bird-like woman who sat across from him and wondered how she kissed him with that facial hair. Didn’t it smell like whatever he ate? Or scratch her face? Didn’t errant hair ever tickle her nose and make her sneeze? Maybe they had been together so long that they didn’t really kiss much anymore. Just a peck hello and goodbye. I supposed I could handle facial hair if that was my only interaction with it.


“Hello, I’m Maude, and I’ll be taking care of you tonight. Can I get you anything to drink besides water?”


“Water is fine for me. Dear, what would you like?”


“Oh, I’d like sparkling water. One of those flavored ones, if you have it. Not one that has calories or sugar or anything. Just the essence of lime or tangerine or whatever. Do you know what I mean?” She looked at me with big, pleading eyes. I saw such hunger in those eyes. Lord, this woman needed a huge steak and a baked potato with butter and sour cream. Then she needed a good bottle of wine to go with it and a German chocolate cake to finish it all. This woman didn’t look as though she had been properly nourished and decades. But what I saw most in her eyes was that she had not allowed herself to live. She imposed such restrictions on her life – what to eat, what to wear, what friends to have, what church to attend, what car to drive, what words to say – that she forgot what she wanted. She forgot how to live. She was just going through the motions. She might as well already be dead. 


I wanted to tell her to forget calories, forget working out at least five days a week, forget always needing to be a size zero, forget what others think, forget keeping her house perfectly in order, for surely this woman’s house was always in order, and throw all caution to the wind. Eat an entire gallon of ice cream while binge watching Grace and Frankie. Stay in your pajamas till noon and dance to Uptown Funk with the volume so loud the neighbors will call the police. Hike to the top of Boulder peak at dawn to watch the sunrise regardless of the animals you might encounter. Tell your husband to shave that nasty dead rat on his face and kiss him like you did when you were a teen teenager. Just don’t live like life will last forever.


Instead, I said, “Sure. We have lime, grapefruit, and coconut sparkling water.”

 About Author Kim McCollum

Kim McCollum graduated from Barnard College as a Japanese major and headed to work on Wall Street. Many miserable all-nighters and the birth of her first child led her to stay home to raise her children. Eventually, she pursued her passion for writing. An excerpt from this novel appeared in The Copperfield Review Quarterly and her short stories have appeared in The Dillydoun Review, Beyond Solace, and Fiction on the Web. She lives in Bozeman, MT with her husband, Brian, and their blended menagerie of five kids, two dogs, and seven spoiled chickens. What Happens in Montana is her first novel.

 Find Kim on her website:


Twitter/X: @KFMcCollum


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