Books of 2011 # 19 – Back of Beyond by C J Box

As with David Hewson, here’s another author who makes multiple appearances in my top thirty-one of 2011, C J Box.

Back of BeyondBack of Beyond by C.J. Box
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cody Hoyt is a troubled cop, at the edge of control, with the threats of alcohol abuse and violence only ever a step away.

When he receives word that his friend and AA mentor has been burnt alive in a fire Hoyt goes to the scene.  First impressions are of an accident, but Cody Hoyt realises that not everything is how it seems, and sets to work investigating his friends murder.

A recovered computer hard-drive from the scene leads Cody on the trail of the murderer and to a backcountry outfitter and a trip into Yellowstone National Park.  Can Cody stop the killer before he strikes again, and perhaps his next victim is Cody’s son who is on the same backcountry trip with his stepdad.

C. J. Box starts this one out at what seems like a perceptively slow pace, but the initial investigation  rapidly leads to a rattling pace that sees the story expand and lay out a great narrative, in one of the most stunning locations on the planet.  Box doesn’t stint on using the backdrop as a part of the tale, using wolves, bears and hot springs as part of the story.

The tale can be tricky to follow if you’re not paying attention, and if you’re planning to work out the who, what, why before the end you’ll need to be playing close attention.

C. J. Box is probably best known for his Joe Pickett series, but this stand alone (although Hoyt has appeared before), is just as good as any of the Pickett series, and well worth a read this summer.

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