Harper Collins Publishers Australia
Head of Zeus
Can one woman tame the last frontier?
Grimstad, North Dakota. A place people used to be from – but were never headed to – has struck oil. As pipelines snake across the prairie, oil flows out and men and money flow in. And with them, comes crime. North Dakota’s new oil capital has a serious law and order problem and newly qualified detective Cassie Dewell has just been appointed its deputy sheriff.
Twelve-year-old Kyle Westergaard is one of Grimstad’s paperboys. Kyle has been written off as the ‘slow’ kid, but he has dreams deeper than anyone can imagine – he wants to get out of town, take care of his alcoholic mother, and give them a better life. While delivering newspapers, he witnesses a car accident and now has money and a lot of white powder in his possession.
With the temperature dropping to 30 degress below and a gang war heating up, Cassie fears she might be in over her head. The key to it all will come in the most unlikely form: an undersized boy on a bike who keeps showing up where he doesn’t belong.
Let me start by stating I am a huge CJ Box fan – his Joe Pickett series is fantastic and I have read several of his standalones and one frightfully disturbing book I found so intense I could not read more than the first few chapters, (In Three Weeks to Say Goodbye, so powerful was the presence of bullying in this book I could not read it – my loss), so to say I like CJ Box’s work is an understatement.
What do I love about his writing? Everything – his writing flows across the page, his command of realistic dialogue and his ability to paint the setting and locations of his books is amazing. The characters become old friends – as you read on you adopt the main characters as your own friends – people you know, trust and admire. The narrative – always interesting; contemporary environmental issues take the main stage with intrigue and murder/mystery.
And Badlands has all those great characteristics and then some; an impressive, strong, female protagonist, situations that are diabolical with the most evil of villains who treat people as if mere carcasses, to be chopped and mutilated at their whim and the added factor of suspected corruption in the police force makes the tension palpable. The young boy Kyle adds an innocence and vulnerability to the mix.
Another great read from CJ Box!