The Edgar® Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author delivers a thriller about a troubled cop trying to save his son from a killer in Yellowstone.
Cody Hoyt, while a brilliant cop, is an alcoholic struggling with two months of sobriety when his mentor and AA sponsor Hank Winters is found burned to death in a remote mountain cabin. At first, it looks like the suicide of a man who’s fallen off the wagon, but Cody knows Hank better than that. Sober for 14 years, Hank took pride in his hard-won sobriety and never hesitated to drop whatever he was doing to talk Cody off a ledge. When Cody takes a closer look at the scene of his friend’s death, it becomes apparent that foul play is at hand. After years of bad behavior with his department, he’s in no position to be investigating a homicide, but this man was a friend and Cody’s determined to find his killer.
When clues found at the scene link the murderer to an outfitter leading tourists on a multi-day wilderness horseback trip into the remote corners of Yellowstone National Park—a pack trip that includes his son Justin—Cody is desperate to get on their trail and stop the killer before the group heads into the wild. Among the tourists is 14-year-old Gracie Sullivan, an awkward but intelligent loner who begins to suspect that someone in their party is dangerous. In a fatal cat-and-mouse game, where it becomes apparent the murderer is somehow aware of Cody’s every move, Cody treks into the wilderness to stop a killer hell bent on ruining the only thing in his life he cares about.
©2011 C.J. Box (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
“Box, a best-selling mystery writer and Wyoming native, crafts a taut tale, but it’s his details about the untamed flora and fauna – two-legged as well as four – that inhabit the wildness out West that hooks you.” (USA Today)
“Narrator Holter Graham’s renditions of the book’s characters are effective and distinct – and his portrayal of Bull Mitchell, the gruff but lovable retired trail guide, is particularly memorable…Graham’s crisp and steady narration makes for a fun ride.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Holter Graham’s crisp, clean narration reliably differentiates Cody’s cigarette-stained gruffness from the raised Canadian accents of the upper Midwest locals and admirably captures the regionalisms of other characters.” (Library Journal, starred review)
In the top 10%!
It might just be because I grew up in Montana, spent many summers in Yellowstone National Park and am a recovering drunk (23 years sober), but I loved the Hoyt character. Every part of his struggle rang true to me. I grew up with so many guys like him and I still know a bunch of families where it is not uncommon to have Cops & Criminals in the same clan. The references to sending guys to Deer Lodge (where the MT State Prison used to be) really hits home. I worked a couple of summers on a small ranch that bordered the Deer Lodge Prison ranch and spent many an hour riding those fences that separated the free from the chained. Hoyt's attempts to "DO RIGHT BY HIS BOY" really touches a nerve-many of my old pals used to joke that a strong marriage was the one that survived till the ten year high school reunion. Hoyt's demons are real to me and resonate with the struggles of many I know. I cannot read any Montana story of a lost soul, like Hoyt, struggling to find himself-without thinking of "A River Runs Through It" and Mr. Box is very close to the mastery of that gut-busting & heart-rending tale. Even his description of Townsend and Canyon Ferry (where my dad & little Sister share a cabin) struck true!
Mr. Box has obviously actually traversed much the Big Sky Country and has captured, with his keen ear, a good portion of the unique and quirky dialogue of the native locals!
I was especially impressed with the reverent treatment of the AA Sponsor's relationship to the newly sober->Mr. Box had that (to my mind & experience) EXACTLY RIGHT and since that is the fulcrum that catapults the plot forward, (Hoyt could not go off on this quest without the wrong done to his sponsor) and lends the entire tale a sense of both believability and justice!
My only regret was that I wasn't listening to this story as I drove from Missoula to the Three Forks and the Gateway...
The oral interpretation of the suffering and the struggles of Hoyt life and action was very moving and the tone, pacing and gruffness of the character really shone though!
YES...one of the great things about driving across Montana is that it is at least 10 hours North to South and at least 14 hours East to West (obeying the posted limits). so the ideal way to hear this book would be to start at Logan Pass on the Going to the Sun Highway (in Glacier) and drive down to Yellowstone! Which I intend to do with my wife when we retire!
The plot in the story is great! It is a mystery within a mystery and has a both a great hook and a great twist! But again I think the Hoyt character makes this story & I hope Mr. Box brings him back again & again!
Right from the start I want to state - I am a C.J. Box fan. That said, I am an even bigger fan after reading this book. The lead hero is built from some very human parts, and rises from his own ashes in a way that makes you feel good about the world. This is Box's 3rd stand alone book and I think it is as good or better than the others. Box can write, he develops interesting characters and puts them together in great scenery with a perfect amount of suspense and tension. I really liked this book and would recommend it highly
Being a huge fan of "Blue Heaven" - which is one of my all-time favorites - Back of Beyond didn't quite measure up to the pace and emotion of Blue Heaven. That being said, it definitely kept my interest, had some twist and turns, had likable and sustainable characters, and was solid to the end with an enjoyable payoff.
The setting, the plausible plot, and the honesty and transparency of the main character, Cody.
Definitely, Cody. No doubt that the person I was listening to was Cody in body, soul and spirit. Holter Graham nailed it.
There was not a particular moment, just the common thread of Cody's inability to mince words or suppress the truth (even when it was not beneficial to Cody's circumstances).
Some books are great, others are simply good solid entertainment that take you on a journey (in this case a suspenseful one) that in the end leave you satisfied. Back of Beyond is a good listen.
Baby Boomer in Raleigh NC. Faves include James Lee Burke, CJ Box, Baldacci, Flynn, Child, DeMille, Crais, Connolly, Thor, Coes, L'amour. Average two books/week.
Cody Hoyt is NOT Joe Pickett. The setting is Montana / Yellowstone but Cody doesn't have the solid likable character of CJ's awesome Joe Pickett.... plus there is no "Nate" in this either.
If one is unfamiliar with CJ Box, definitely go with a Joe PIckett first and read them IN ORDER.
My favorite style of novel are when nature and history become characters in the story. I prefer insight into myself, people and less action.
I've listened to every Joe Pickett novel... Some of the best books of the modern Wild West (I'm also a devoted Longmire fan) I was thrilled to find another series that brought to life the people and wildlife that I've visited on several Green River Lakes vacations and Yellowstone... But this was a detour.
There was a unpracticed, amateurish tone to this novel by both the author AND the narrator, that I'm kinda amazed it made it through the editing process and was published.
This book (series) tried WAY too hard. Character defects have more power with more subtlety and nuance... When a character sounds "canned" or "stereotyped" they sound too "contrived" and "forced." This goes for the main character, the older girl and others.
CJ Box seemed awkward and a bit lost creating these darker protagonists...pushing logic and credence beyond their breaking point. Most of these characters lacked the kind of development that would have helped them be believable. The motives of the ending antagonist was meant to be a fun plot twist... But there were never any hints that all was not what it seemed to give us the ride of suspicion. It ended up being too far fetched.
Ditto from above. This almost seemed like his first book. The first half of the book he, again, WAY overplayed the dialogue like in high school drama class. He used a halting staccato WAY too much that became annoying. Emotions were too intense and lacked subtlety and nuance. He seemed to get better over time... Slightly.
If you're eager to find out what else can CJ Box do and what his brilliant mind can produce... You will. I'm not sure trying to create the utter and complete opposite of Joe Pickett worked here...deep characters and people have lots and lots of gray.
You should read this book if you like mysteries--and modern westerns. I love Mr. Box's Joe Pickett series and I will be looking forward to more like this one about Cody Hoyt. This book kept me guessing till he tied all the loose ends together at the end. Good story and characters.
C.J. Box hits it again with the beginning of this new series whose protagonist is Montana Detective Cody Hoyt who is an admitted alcoholic and now an AA member.
C.J. can paint a picture with words and he does it again in this novel that takes place in Yellowstone. Even if you have not visited there you will know its beauty and treachery. Add teenagers along with all of their attitudes to the mix, plus a killer and you have one huge nail biter of a novel. Not only are you on the edge of your chair but you want to throttle someone or just yell “IDIOT” out loud…
Great read and start to a new series.
I'm an avid listener always searching for another good book and willing to share my thoughts with a pithy review.
CJ manages to keep you interested in the characters as well as the plot. Some are likable... others not so much. I found myself hoping these same characters would show up in follow on novels.
Gracie is a precocious teen who gets pushed around by her older sister, but she clearly knows how to think for herself. Cody's son Justin could easily play a major role in his dad's life as their years together pass.
I'm looking forward to reading my second book by CJ, but I haven't chosen just yet.
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