Minotaur Books 2008
I just discovered C.J. Box’ books last year. This is already my third book. I really love the action, characters and the storylines. Best of all, they are set in the part of the U.S. that I love – the West, primarily Wyoming. So far, this one is my favorite, even though it’s set in Idaho.
The countryside in northern Idaho has changed. Ranching is no longer what it used to be, and outsiders are moving in and changing the culture. For some reason, many of the outsiders are former police officers from Los Angeles. And, they seem to have plenty of money.
Twelve-year-old Annie and her younger brother William were fishing in a backwoods stream when, unfortunately, they witnessed a murder. They followed their first instinct and ran. They are now on the run in the woods. Four men, the murderers, are attempting to find Annie and William. The children don’t know it yet, but those four men are former police officers. People they’ve been taught to trust are now the bad guys.
To make the search for the two children suit their purposes, the four former cops volunteer to lead the search. The inexperienced sheriff lets them. One of the four stays with the children’s mother so they can be there if the children should call her. She’s virtually a prisoner in her own house.
In the middle of the night the children make it to a barn where they can rest and hide. They’re on the property of one of the oldest cattle ranches in the region. Jess Rawlins is the children’s hero, though they are very skeptical at first. They just don’t know who to trust.
Eventually, Jess wins them over and they begin working on a plan. Annie, by the way, is a smart and resourceful girl. The plan is to do all they can to keep the children safe, while at the same time notifying the right authorities who will believe their story about the retired cops.
This story had additional pieces to it having to do with the banker, the new sheriff, Jess Raslins’ ex-wife and son, the investigation of a robbery, and so much more than there is room to explain here. In spite of all those pieces, this is a very fast-paced novel. It all takes place in a little over two days.
If you like a page turning story set in the modern West, this book is for you. I highly recommend it.