Helllllo readers, it’s time for another book review. I’m sorry for the lack of Christmas tales but I don’t tend to buy/get requests/have time around this time of year. It’s one of the wobbles with scheduling posts in the future and it’s something I want to get better at – but having to shut my review requests inbox I’ve been battling through the books and festive tales have just been disregarded this year *sobs.* I must just say before we start this is the second in the Cody Hoyt series by C.J Box and I haven’t read the first because I’m silly and didn’t realise! Without delay le review.
It was Danielle and Gracie’s secret. A teenage adventure. A 1,000 mile drive along the spine of the Rocky Mountains to visit Danielle’s boyfriend in Montana. Their parents were never to know. But now the girls have simply vanished.
The only person who knows they’re missing is Danielle’s boyfriend. He persuades his father – a disgraced, suspended cop – to search for them. But he too simply disappears.
Now it’s up to rookie cop, war widow and single mother Cassie Dewell to find them. Her investigation will introduce her to FBI’s Highway Serial Killer Task Force, compel her to confront a spate of roadside sexual mutilations and murders, and lure her towards a darkness greater than anything she could ever have imagined.
As the blurb states the book follows two sister Gracie and Danielle Sullivan who set out from their mother’s home in Denver to celebrate Thanksgiving with their father. However Danielle has a secret; they’re going to visit her old boyfriend Justin but neither her sister nor Justin know until they’re on the road. Justin’s father Cody Hoyt is an ex-law enforcement officer fired for planting evidence and once he learns from Justin that the two girls have gone off the grid after failing to arrive, he goes out to search for them despite being fired for planting evidence in a previous murder trial. Cody aware that many young women have been vanishing in the region enlists Cassie to help him find the girls and the man he believes to be the kidnapper. Can they find the girls in time?
I’m going to try really hard to not give away any spoilers and yet still let you know how brilliant this book is. In terms of the writing the characters are wonderfully deep and full of character profiling. They spring from the page with realistic dialogue and believable actions. The build up of the characters Danielle and Gracie is skillfully done and seeing one play the hero or survivor and one more of a victim was a good contrast. The author also really plays with the different personalities of Cassie and Cody. We see Cassie come into her own as the good cop who though having to deal with the stresses of being a female officer in terms of sexism and the like – although not from Cody, grows strongly in confidence.
The action with the girls is continually intermixed with the life of a long-distance trucker who calls himself the Lizard King. Here we get insights into the life on the road and the traffic laws and the continuing hierarchy of the different truckers at the gas stations and the rules they live by. The writing has lots of different sub-plots that are intermixed well and flow well together. The descriptions are heady and the swapping between the girls, the Lizard king and the detectives story lines works well despite there being a lot to keep an eye out for.
I guess the only negative I can really come up with was there is definitely an unsavory tone to the book as a whole. The use of the truckers and girls they pick up and what happens next is disturbing and dark. There were quite a few horrific moments and this book definitely stayed with me and made an impact. For me, it’s a work of fiction and it’s important to remember that but there definitely was a very dark side to this book that surprised me a little. The only other complaint was some bits were overly repeated as if we couldn’t keep an eye on the plot twists which over time became tedious.
Overall though I thought this was a well crafted and created book. I thought the storyline was quite original (for me.) I know numerous readers would disagree with that looking at Goodreads and Amazon but I am yet to encounter a book that looks at this type of thriller plot. It also seems that those have read the first book in the series were a little angry. For me, reading the second only it didn’t affect me as much. Overall I solid although a little bit of a terrifying read.