Even the bad guys are fascinating here

2016-01-08 06:00
Badlands by CJ Box. PHOTO: supplied

Badlands by CJ Box. PHOTO: supplied

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EDGAR award-winning, New York Times best-selling author C.J. Box is back with a masterpiece of suspense.

Cassie Dewell, a single mother to six-year-old Ben, arrives in town as the new chief investigator for the sheriff’s department.

Dewell was introduced in Box’s book from 2013, The Highway, and brings her observation skills and detecting abilities to help Sheriff Jon Kirkbride return order to his beloved but troubled community.

Even as Cassie is committed to learning her way around this new landscape, she remains obsessed with catching the serial killer who slipped away from the law in The Highway.

In Badlands, Box takes a small town just east of the border of Montana and chillingly depicts how the current oil boom parallels the gold rush days of the 1800s.

The author introduces Kyle Westergaard, a 12-year-old boy with foetal alcohol syndrome.

The story is told through Cassie and Kyle’s viewpoints.

How Kyle is seen by the outside world, with his unusual facial features­ and limited ability to speak, is different from what readers are allowed to share by seeing inside his head.

When the temperature drops to 30 below and a gang war heats up, Cassie realises that she may be in over her head.

The characters in Badlands are finely drawn and display interesting layers to their personalities.

Even the bad guys doing ruthless and horrible things are made fascinating, and there are several characters that beg to be brought back for the next adventure.

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