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Badlands (Highway Quartet #3)
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Archive: Other Books > Badlands by C.J. Box 4 stars

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Ellen | 2137 comments Reeling from a difficult murder case in her home state of Montana, Inspector Cassie Dewell decides to take a job as the chief inspector in the oil boom town of Grimstad, ND. Leaving her young son and her mother behind in Montana until she can find a place for them in North Dakota, Cassie checks in with the Grimstad sheriff's office and is immediately caught up in a particularly gruesome case involving murder, drugs and an innocent special-needs 12-year-old boy named Kyle. Kyle was born with alcohol fetal syndrome which has left him undersized and his speech very difficult to understand, but there is nothing wrong with his brain and he is, indeed, very smart. While delivering paper on his bicycle early one morning, Kyle hears speeding vehicles on the nearby highway. Riding into the woods along the roadway he watches as two cars come hurtling down the road. One of the drivers loses control and his car rolls violently as the other car speeds away. Kyle noticed that a white bag was ejected from the wrecked vehicle so he retrieves it from the snowy roadside. Suddenly he sees a police car coming up on the accident scene and Kyle returns to the trees to hide, afraid he will get in trouble for stealing. Kyle takes the bag home where his mother's druggie boyfriend, T-Lock, grabs it and sees rolls of cash and hundreds of small bags of drugs. Knowing he is sitting on a goldmine, T-Lock makes plans to launder the money and sell the drugs. Unfortunately for T-Lock, the drugs belong to a vicious Salvadoran gang who are not above a bit of body dismemberment to learn where the stash ended up. Cassie, knowing there is at least one police officer involved with the gang, cannot trust anyone on the force except the sheriff, and soon she will be desperately trying to keep Kyle from becoming another victim.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It was very suspenseful, a tad graphic at times, but with characters that I liked. The description of the brutality of a North Dakota winter was well drawn and served to remind me of why I don't live up north anymore. This is the 3rd C.J. Box novel I have read and I am looking forward to reading many more.


message 2: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5801 comments I love Box's Joe Picket series ... I'll have to try this.


Ellen | 2137 comments I hope you are smarter than I was BC, and read The Highway first. This is book 2 in the series and somehow I failed to notice that.


message 4: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5801 comments Ellen wrote: "I hope you are smarter than I was BC, and read The Highway first. This is book 2 in the series and somehow I failed to notice that."

Fore-warned is fore-armed .... I'll definitely start with book 1 in the series.


message 5: by Sara (new)

Sara (mootastic1) | 770 comments This book sounds like a good fit for March's tag.


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