I’ve read a few CJ Box books and enjoyed them well enough. They’re usually a part of the Joe Pickett series, but this one is the first of a series I started reading in and thought I’d finished long ago. It’s newish AND it was available at the library! So I grabbed it.
Back of Beyond
by C.J. Box – 2011
Read by Holter Graham 11h 3m Rating: A+ / crime-thriller
(#1 in Cody and Cassie series)
I think Back of Beyond may be better than the other books I’ve read by Box. The blurbs for focus on Cody Hoyt, the alcoholic cop who relapses while chasing after the killer of his sponsor, but that’s not the half of what all is going on in this book.
Cody Hoyt is the new cop on the block in a smallish Montana town. He’s returned from duty in Denver where he got in trouble, but he’s been sober for two months now, thanks to AA. Then his sponsor Hank, with 14 years sober, is found dead in the ruins of his burned out home.
Other law enforcement see this as an accident because an empty bottle is also found in the ruins, but Cody knows better. Hank Winters wouldn’t have done that. And Hank’s treasured AA chips are missing from the briefcase where he kept them. Cody knows this is murder, but how to investigate when his colleagues think otherwise. Still, he has to pursue this.
The other thread in the book is about a group of people on horseback for a wilderness trip. These folks have their own troubles as do the outfitter and his girlfriend. Cody is also chasing after his own young adult son who is with this group and apparently in danger.
The characters are interesting, sometimes fun, and realistic at the same time. That’s doing pretty well for a thriller. I like the Montana/Wyoming setting (Yellowstone National Park and area). The tension is masterfully built. The plot and subplots are twisty. And I wasn’t that fond of the ending which felt messy to me. Oh well – I’ll be reading more of C.J. Box.