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(A Sam Rivers Mystery)

Contact Information: Liliane Opsomer                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tel: 205-443-7981



(A Sam Rivers Mystery)
by Cary J. Griffith
$16.95 – ISBN 978-1-64755-081-3 – June 14, 2022 – 384 pages

In this outdoors mystery, special agent Sam Rivers investigates the unexplained―and very unlikely―cougar attack that has killed a wealthy business owner.

The sighting of a cougar in the Minnesota River Valley, outside the Twin Cities, is incredibly rare. A deadly cougar attack on a human in this area is about as likely as getting struck by lightning―twice. Yet when wealthy business owner Jack McGregor is found dead, the physical evidence seems incontrovertible.


Sheriff Rusty Benson brings in Sam Rivers, a US Fish & Wildlife (USFW) special agent and a wildlife biologist, to examine the scene and sign off on his conclusions. But Sam’s experiences have given him a penchant for understanding predators, and he has more questions than answers. 

Details begin to surface that challenge law enforcement’s open-and-shut case. To find justice, Sam must take matters into his own hands. He enlists the help of reporter Diane Talbott and his wolf-dog, Gray, who’s in training to become a working dog for the USFW. Gray’s nose leads the investigation in unexpected directions. The more rocks that Sam turns over, the more motives for murdering Jack McGregor seem to slither out. 

With no help or support from local law enforcement, Sam and his team are all that stand between justice and those who might otherwise get away with murder. Sam’s knowledge of the backcountry, cougars, and the criminal mind are put to the test as he tries to solve the case―and stay alive. 

In Cougar Claw, natural history writer Cary J. Griffith brings back Sam Rivers, the predator’s predator, and pens a puzzling mystery filled with suspense and intrigue.

About the author: Award-winning author Cary J. Griffith grew up among the woods, fields, and emerald waters of eastern Iowa. His childhood fostered a lifelong love of wild places. He earned a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa and an M.A. in library science from the University of Minnesota. Cary’s books explore the natural world. In nonfiction, he covers the borderlands between civilization and wild places. In fiction, he focuses on the ways some people use flora and fauna to commit crimes, while others with more reverence and understanding of the natural world leverage their knowledge to bring criminals to justice. He lives with his family in a suburb of Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

For a high-resolution cover image or a review copy, contact Liliane Opsomer at 205-443-7981 or

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Praise for COUGAR CLAW

"A deadly threat from the wild comes far too close for comfort when an urban bicyclist is found mauled to death by a cougar. In this second book in the Sam Rivers mystery series, Cary Griffith takes this U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agent on a hair-raising hunt to find the cougar—and the truth. Mixing deep knowledge of the natural world with the twists and turns of the best suspense novels, Cougar Claw is a thoughtful and thrilling story.”

—Mary Logue, author of the Claire Watkins mysteries and The Streel

"In this highly anticipated second novel in the Sam Rivers series, Cary J. Griffith delivers another finely researched and compellingly written thriller. Both the beauty and the savagery of our natural world form the heart of a Griffith story. In this case, it’s the predatory habits of cougars. When the killing of a Twin Cities man in an apparent cougar attack brings Sam to the Minnesota River Valley to investigate, what follows is a gradual and fascinating revelation of not just the predatory nature of cougars, but that of humans as well.”

—William Kent Krueger, Edgar Award-winning author of This Tender Land

“Griffith—and his very engaging hero, Sam Rivers—knows the Minnesota wilderness inside and out. But be careful. After staying up all night to devour you may find yourself listening for a low growl the next time you’re alone in the forest.”

—Brian Freeman, New York Times Best-selling Author of The Deep, Deep Snow


"From the first page to the last, Cougar Claw blends high suspense with the quiet observations of the predator’s predator, Sam Rivers. Between Griffith’s descriptions of Minnesota’s natural beauty and the human nature of his characters, this is a book you won’t want to end.” —Debra H. Goldstein, award-winning author of the Sarah Blair mystery series 

"Cougar Claw, the second installment in the Sam Rivers series, sends the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Special Agent to the scene of a grisly cougar killing on the outskirts of the Twin Cities. As usual in Sam Rivers’ world, all is not as it seems. Griffith doubles down on his strengths in this series, giving us another vibrant cast of allies, suspects, and a misunderstood predator, while navigating a path between animal rights and human fears of the natural world. I can’t wait for Sam Rivers’ next assignment.

— Mindy Mejia, author of Everything You Want Me To Be and Strike Me Down  


Sam Rivers, special agent for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, returns to Minnesota's Iron Range. He investigates wolf depredation of livestock, but wolves aren't the only predators around. A murder lands him on a case unlike any he's worked before.

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