Badlands (The Highway Quartet #3) by C.J. Box

Book Description:

Published: July 28, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

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 assigned as its deputy sheriff.

Twelve-year-old Kyle Westergaard is one of Grimstad’s paperboys. 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 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 below and a gang war heating up, Cassie fears she might be in over her head but 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.

Review –

Even thought I haven’t forgiven Mr. Box for killing of Cody Hoyt in Book Two, I decided to finish the series and Badlands came next.

Cassandra Dewell, Cody Hoyt’s ex-partner, can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County.

She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom (which I looked up and is true). But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.

This is a fantastic read, full of suspense and a bone chilling description of North Dakota’s weather that will have you grabbing for a parka!

The Highway (The Highway Quartet #2)

Book Description:

Published: July 30, 2013

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When two sisters set out across a remote stretch of Montana road to visit their friend, little do they know it will be the last time anyone might ever hear from them again. The girls–and their car–simply vanish. Former police investigator Cody Hoyt has just lost his job and has fallen off the wagon after a long stretch of sobriety. Convinced by his son and his former rookie partner, Cassie Dewell, he begins the drive south to the girls’ last known location. As Cody makes his way to the lonely stretch of Montana highway where they went missing, Cassie discovers that Gracie and Danielle Sullivan aren’t the first girls who have disappeared in this area. This majestic landscape is the hunting ground for a killer whose viciousness is outmatched only by his intelligence. And he might not be working alone. Time is running out for Gracie and Danielle…Can Cassie overcome her doubts and lack of experience and use her innate skill? Can Cody Hoyt battle his own demons and find this killer before another victim vanishes on the highway?

Review –

I’m sure I was not the only reader/listener that exclaimed WTF  when a six of the way through this book Cody Hoyt was killed off. (Sorry for the spoiler but I am pissed!) 

Here I am reading The Cody Hoyt Series, Book Two and BAM he is shot more than once in the face, at close range, and buried  his truck and all. I had to stop listening for several hours because I was in total disbelief. Surely the author, made a mistake, maybe it’s a dream sequence, like in Dallas, but no, it was for real.

The series has since been renamed The Highway Quartet, but killing off Cody killed more than just his character. It meant that his ex-wife, Jennie, and his son, Justin, won’t be in future books. Nor will Gracie and Danielle Sullivan and their  divorced parents because there were all part of Cody’s world.

I went on the finish listening to the book and one of the bad guys was caught (no spoilers here-but Cassie, Cody’s partner, learned well from him) but the main baddie, The Lizard King (a trucker who preys on women and rapes, tortures and kills them) gets away.

There are two more books in the series and I will read/listen to them but they just won’t hold the same appeal to me since Cody will be missing.

Still can’t get over why C. J. Box would kill him off!!!!!!!!!