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Publisher's Summary

Edgar Award-winning, New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box is back with a masterpiece of suspense set in a time and place that listeners won't soon forget.

Twenty miles across the North Dakota border, where the scenery goes from rolling grass prairie to pipeline fields, detective Cassie Dewell has been assigned as the new deputy sheriff of Grimstad - a place people used to be from but were never headed to. Grimstad is now the oil capital of North Dakota. With oil comes money, with money comes drugs, and with drugs come the dirtiest criminals hustling to corner the market.

In the small town resides 12-year-old Kyle Westergaard. Even though Kyle has been written off as the "slow" kid, he has dreams deeper than anyone can imagine. He wants to get out of town, take care of his mother, and give them a better life. While delivering newspapers, he witnesses a car accident and takes a mysterious bundle from the scene. Now in possession of a lot of money and packets of white powder, Kyle wonders if his luck has changed.

When the temperature drops to 30 below and a gang war heats up, Cassie realizes that she may be in over her head. As she is propelled on a collision course with a murderous enemy, she finds that the key to it all might come in the most unlikely form: an undersized boy on a bike who keeps showing up where he doesn't belong. Because a boy like Kyle is invisible. But he sees everything.

©2015 C. J. Box (P)2015 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Huge C.J. Box fan; this book, however, not so much

Would you listen to Badlands again? Why?

No, once was enough. Just didn't hit the normal C.J.Box mark all of his other novels have.

Would you be willing to try another book from C. J. Box? Why or why not?

Have listened to all of his books so far, and certainly willing to listen to the next. I do prefer the Joe Pickett series, but even the other mystery/thriller, The Highway was a better listen.

Which scene was your favorite?

No particular scene stands out.

Any additional comments?

I've typed, erased, and re-typed my comments, not really being able to put in words why this book fell short for me. I think the marriage of characters brought forward from the Highway to the story of a small town gone boom-town just didn't work. Perhaps not enough development of the good guys, only the bad. There wasn't anything truly unique about the story, but at the same time C.J.B. did still write a good book. Just not a great one. I think I finished it more out of loyalty rather than thorough enjoyment.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Pleasant and Entertaining

Where does Badlands rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top 40 but I have downloaded probably over 600 books so top forty is a good position for me.

What did you like best about this story?

I live in the South and years ago I spent a day driving through the badlands and very much enjoyed the experience. The book's title is what drove me toward clicking the pre-release button and I was rewarded by the book.

What does January LaVoy bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She has a style in this story that makes the author's work just stand out.

Any additional comments?

I could visually see a picture of the events taking place as I listened. The young boy Kyle's voice was well presented with his speaking disability and because of his being a pre-teen my instinct was to picture and feel his situation. I liked the book.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Way beyond excellent!

Clear your day, if you start this. There's just no place you can stop. C. J. Box outdoes himself on this one, even though it's not a Joe Pickett adventure, and it's set in North Dakota, not Montana. AND it has a female narrator.

I love the fact that this is set in the "man camps" of North Dakota, the frigid teeming hastily-racked up living quarters for the thousands of oil field workers who arrive from all over to work in the nascent "fracking" process. If you think about it, it's the ideal setting for criminality -- all the ingredients are there, and Box plots a great story. It's obvious to me that he must have spent some considerable time there himself -- no one could describe the minus-30 degree temperatures as well as he did, without having experienced it himself. The picture he painted of the area -- the long lines in stores, the universal uniform of Carheartt jackets and jeans, the unbelievably crowded "jack and jill" living conditions, where a single apartment is shared by four people who sleep in it during the day, and another four who pay to sleep there at night -- all rings true. He just transports you to another world -- not one you'd especially like to live in, maybe, but if Walmart workers and fast food joints are paying their help a minimum of $20 a hour, you could put up with a lot. For awhile. Serious money can be made here, quickly -- and as Box imagines, not all of it involves working in the oil fields themselves.

January LaVoy does a credible job as narrator -- she gets the local North Dakota accent quite well, not overdoing it so it sounds like comedy, but just enough to convey the idea that people talk a little funny in these parts. (I can say this because I'm a ND native. Even after decades away, people still tell me I talk funny too.)

This is a book I will listen to again and again -- I'm almost ready to listen again right now, having just finished it. If you like well-plotted adventure in exotic domestic locales, this is as good as you can get. I'm just spending my day now hoping that this is a first in a new series.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Violent

This book was very gruesome compared to the previous CJ Box books that I have listened to !!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Well-crafted mystery in unusual setting

This is my first CJ Box novel. This is a well-crafted story set in the imaginary boom town of Grimstad (a thinly disguised Williston, ND.) Awash in brand-new oil money, where Wal-Mart clerks make $18/hour with full benefits AND lodging to compete with the fracking fields, this is as close as we get to the gold rush in 2015. With exponential, rapid growth and 15 men for every woman, rough field work, and high salaries, drugs and violence are part of the cost of growth.

Cassie Dewell hires on to the expanding Sherrif's Department as chief investigator to look into some contract killings, one of which is witnessed by a teenager with a speech impediment and a rocky domestic situation. Box does a great job with several key plot elements, interweaving them loosely at first and then tighter and tighter as the plot accelerates. Box is a great storyteller.

Characters are reasonably well-drawn, and we get to know them through their actions, not just narrative. The most finely drawn characters are the disabled boy and Cassie, others have some stock elements but are believable.

This isn't a literary mystery - the language is not elevated to the level of James Lee Burke. And Cassie isn't a quirky smart alek like Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone. But she's a good cop with above-average technique, and you do want to find out what's next for Grimstad and Cassie at the end of the book.

The narrator did a decent job - her male voice-overs did sound a little like Mira Sorvino's character in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion - but this didn't detract from the story.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Simple, Straightforward, A Great Young Hero

The novel opens with Kyle Westergaard, a 12 year old paperboy who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, coming apon a wreck one morning and finds a duffle bag with a lot of money and drugs in it. The real story revolves around Kyle, how he is perceived, misundertood and is grossly underestimated by everyone around him. What a tale and what a hero!

Badlands features Detective Cassie Dewell, a 36 year old single mom. Cassie, a Montana native, has been on the hunt of a serial killer, a trucker called the Lizard King, presumably from a previous novel. Her killer has been apprended in Wilson, NC. She is flown in to identify him and make sure he is put away for good. However, this quickly becomes a back story. Dewell has accepted a new position as lead detective in a oil boom town in North Dakota where a drug war has developed. The same community where Kyle Westergaard resides.

January Lavoy was mesmerizing iin her performance.

I believe this the second novel featuring Cassie Dewell and there are sure to be more. There is no question the young boy steals the show in this story, leaving me to wonder if I find her character intriguing enough to start following the series. She is smart, but rather bland.

That said, this particular novel was absolutely an awesome ride!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • LLM
  • Carson City, NV, United States
  • 07-31-15

A Real Thriller with a not so thrill ending

We have been looking forward to getting this book and read it in one day...a pretty good thriller with plenty of edge of seat suspense. C J Box always has some great understanding of the economic and social effects of the area in which his stories develop. Its about parks, oil wells, ranching, solar power, fracking and so on. He has a really good understanding of the economics of the area and we always come away with new knowledge. We will have to wait for the next installment to learn the fate of Ms Cassie and the Lizard King. However, he did complete the main separate story.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Damn good!!

Great book! This author keeps improving, rather than cranking out the same thing over and over again (Lee Child). Plus, Box's grasp on bad human behavior makes his storytelling THAT much more realistic and engaging. Keep up the amazing work!!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Strong Women

I've always loved CJ Box's portray of women, and I'm happy to see a strong woman protagonist take on a difficult, complex challenge with guts and heart.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

January LaVoy as narrator does fantastically

I always love C.J. Box books, but the narrator of this one did exceptionally well at small differences between voices of different characters and of the same character in different moods and situations. It's almost like a full-cast reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful