Book Review: Back Of Beyond by 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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The Return of Sherlock Holmes

One of my favourite genres when it comes to reading is the crime novel.  For me I suspect it started probably from watching black and white Sherlock Holmes movies on tv as a kid.  

Holmes

The Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, Holmes and Watson was where I began.  As I grew a little older I seem to remember moving on to the novels, and I still have the first one, a folio edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. 

A little older still and I had moved on to The Hardy Boys

Shore_road

I think if you were a boy you either read The Hardy Boys or Alfred Hitchcocks The Three Investigators

Three

if you were a girl then it was probably Nancy Drew .  I started with The Shore Road Mystery and The Great Airport Mystery, and my collection grew from there.

From there I moved onto Dick Francis, Agatha Christie and Robert B Parker as well as many others.  For an English Literature project I covered the Sherlock Holmes stories, and have read crime novels ever since.

There are times when I don’t read at all however.  Normally they come after I have read several books back-to-back and can’t seem to settle into another one, they don’t pass the 50 page rule.  (The one that says if I’m not hooked within the first 50 pages then I’m not going to and probably should give up).  They are of course not always crime, my other vices range from natural history and travel to military history and real science to name a few. 

After a recent non-reading spell though I was really struggling and I found myself turning to my kindle and opening the complete works of Sherlock Holmes again.  I’m not sure how long it’s been since I read Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales of the great British detective, and I happened to select The Red Headed League, a little at random.  I must admit to not really remembering the story, but it was just what I needed to kickstart me back into a “crime-phase”.  From there I went onto reading some newer crime, including a book that I have agreed to review for the authors upcoming virtual tour in September, but more of that nearer the time. 

I am pleased that Holmes and Watson can still spark that interest in my reading and drive me back to the genre that I love.  In my head I have also plotted out the next couple of books that I want to read, a David Hewson

Lizards_bite

a Peter James, perhaps some Parker and Christie too, as well some scenes for my own writing; all from reading that one Holmes and Watson story, so there will definitely be more of the greatest detective due of all time too.