First Sentence: “The trap is set and he’s on his way,” Cassie Dewell said to Sheriff Jon Kirkbride.
Inspector Cassie Dewell has been hunting the Lizard King, a serial killer whose victims have included truck-stop prostitutes, runaways, and her former boss. Now, she hopes she has set up the perfect lure to get him to come to her. Yet she is also concerned about the disappearance of Kyle Westergaard, a young man with mild fetal-alcohol syndrome, and his friend Raheem.
Box does a very good job of explaining the details of things; lot lizards, the way in which independent truckers work, etc. The details are important, but at the same time, he does it without disrupting the flow or making one feel as though he has dumbed-down the information.
The characters are very well drawn and developed. They are people one would like to know, one has been unfortunate enough to know, and those one hopes never to know. Cassie and Wyatt, in particular, are wonderful characters.
There are villains, and then there are villains! From the very first book in which the Lizard King appeared, “The Highway,” it was clear Box had created one of the most frightening villains there is, partly because the type of crimes he commits are actually happening across our interstate highways. That said, one needn’t have read the first three books, as Box also does a good job of catching up new readers.
Box is always such a pleasure to read. He is a wonderful wordsmith with a very visual style who creates excellent analogies—“…driving an 18-wheeler was like piloting a ship on the ocean. The captain of that ship had an entire blue-water sea in front of him and he could go anywhere on it.” In spite of this being his 24th book, plus some short stories, there’s no sign of them being formulaic or getting stale. Each is informative and very exciting, so much so that I often forget to make review notes while reading his books. They are that absorbing.
“Paradise Valley” is another great book by C.J. Box that is filled with excellent suspense, yet comes to a complete and satisfying ending.
PARADISE VALLEY (Pol Proc-Cassie Dewell, North Dakota, Contemp) – VG
Box, C.J. – 3rd in series
Minotaur Books – July 2017