What Happens in Montana

What Happens in Montana is a compelling read for those who appreciate mysteries interlaced with rich character studies and themes centered around friendship and growth. McCollum’s novel is a testament to the intricacies of human and supernatural connections, making it a recommended read for fans of drama and mystery alike.


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Literary Titan

"Kim McCollum's ability to expertly blend drama and mystery in this novel displays an excellent level of storytelling talent. I look forward to reading more of her works."

Readers' Favorite

"With a clever blend of mystery and reality, What Happens in Montana offers a captivating journey through the landscapes of Montana and the spirals of intrigue, keeping the reader engaged until the last page."

The Historical Fiction Company

I loved every aspect of this book. I was sucked in from the first page, and it was made a lot better that the story was being introduced to us from Maude's perspective. Ironically, her ability to not be shocked by anything made each scene more shocking to the reader. Who would discover a dead body in their garden and not panic? She was the same person who talked to ghosts. Each character in this book was so lively and distinct that they gave life to the book. The four friends, Brooke, Krista, Quinn, and Tracy, meshed so well in their differences and were so exciting together that I would love to read more books dedicated entirely to them, their friendship, and the adventures they embarked on together...


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Official OnlineBookClub.org review

What Happens in Montana, by debut author, Kim McCollum, is a beautifully written tale of strong female relationships that draws you in from the beginning and won’t let go. It’s an exquisitely unfolding look into the lives of four women who gather at a spa in the mountains of Montana, and the eighty-year-old wizened cook who has made friends with the resident ghost who was murdered at the resort. This story has it all; humor, a possible murder lurking in the background, a love interest, and a devastating secret that could destroy friendships. Add in the ghost, whose story is mesmerizing, and you have a real page turner. Did I mention you won’t be able to put this book down? When you do reluctantly come to the satisfying end, the story will stay with you for a long time. Reading this book is like spending the afternoon with comforting friends. Enjoy the experience.

Diane Dickinson
Author of Final Transaction

In Kim McCollum’s debut novel, historical and individual worlds collide, and explosive secrets are revealed. What Happens in Montana deftly alternates between a well-researched journey to the past of Prohibition-era speakeasies, and an exploration of the entangled lives of five women in present-day Montana and Las Vegas. Shifting between several points of view, which include those of a troubled spirit, a quartet of women struggling under the burden of their respective secrets, and a lonely old cook who will ultimately unite them, McCollum has created a bighearted, gently-humorous novel about forgiveness, redemption, and the power of connection. What Happens in Montana is an unexpected delight - a fast-paced and engaging read that uses parallels between the past and the present to illustrate the myriad ways in which the very best and worst of human nature remain largely unchanged over time. With a natural gift for story-telling, reminiscent of Elin Hilderbrand’s, McCollum is definitely an author to watch! Highly recommended for readers of historical and contemporary fiction, and those who enjoy a feel-good read with sympathetic characters and a satisfying conclusion

Troy Hollan
Author of Clucked

Reminiscent of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, What Happens in Montana is a quest for trust and forgiveness amongst four women which tests the limits of their long friendships and marital bonds. Despite new and old challenges, they still manage to live it up with whiskey and laughs in an otherwise dry hotel imbued with surprises

Peter Kiesners
Author of Scorpion Grass

When four friends head to Montana on a hot-springs retreat, secrets are revealed, lives are endangered, and friendships are strengthened. McCollum’s novel, well-researched, wonderfully written, and historically accurate, is a testament to the power of women’s friendships across generations. Through intertwining narratives of a long-deceased daughter of a bootlegging single mom in Montana, a crotchety chef, and a group of moms, this well-paced story is a truly enjoyable read; you will cheer for all of these women, and for the special connection between friends.

Sara Fraser
Author of Just River and Long Division

Kim McCollum's debut novel, What Happens in Montana, is a real page-turner and I was transported straight to the Montana of today and to the rustic Montana of yesterday. When I reached the end of the book, I was reluctant to put it down. I wanted to stay connected to these women for much longer! A strong five stars!

Diane Hawley Nagamoto
Author of The Butterfly Cafe

What Happens in Montana is an intriguing blend of historical and women's fiction, with timelines that alternate between a contemporary new-agey retreat and the gritty world of Butte during the Prohibition era. The retreat is haunted by the ghost of Simone, who was tricked into prostitution at age 16. Simone drifts unseen around the retreat, concerned by the antics of the four women who've come for what they expect to be a fun-filled reunion weekend. The past inevitably collides with the present when reckless whims are indulged and painful secrets are revealed. A poignant, realistic story that will tug at your emotions.

Regina Buttner
Author of Down a Bad Road and Absolution


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A girlfriends’ reunion at a haunted, holistic hot springs retreat in Montana leads to spilled secrets and betrayal, but does it also lead to murder?


Whiskey-swigging Maude Reeves, 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. She prefers the company of her dog and the ghost who haunts the retreat to regular people, but one of the ladies who arrives for the reunion bears a striking resemblance to her late daughter, and she is helplessly drawn in. Brooke, feisty, adventurous, and a bit reckless, proposes the reunion at the retreat with her best friends to get away from the current chaos of her life. One of those friends, Tracy, has devoted her life to her children and her husband despite her excruciating boredom. But a long-held secret threatens these friendships she holds most dear. 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 are all staying.


What Happens in Montana explores friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness with blunt truth and witty insights. Join Maude and her newfound friends as they confront the challenges of life, love, and the occasional poltergeist. Is their friendship strong enough to get them through it all?


Maxy Awards Runner-up
Literary Titan Book Award
Firebird Book Award Winner



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Kim McCollum

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.

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