02 March 2008

Good people, bad cops

Okay, I "know" I don't like violent, bloody, conflict-filled mysteries. I avoid reading them and I stop reading them when I start.

So, why did I like C. J. Box's latest violent, bloody, conflict-filled mystery? It's titled Blue Heaven. And I really liked this book.

In the opening scene, two kids witness a cold-blooded murder and become prey in a deadly chase. Those kids witness more murder and mayhem later, and nearly every character in the story is threatened by the bad guys.

There are lots of bad guys and lots of good guys (almost every character is a guy). There are few if any hints about how things are going to be resolved. Deadly threats hang over nearly every event in the story.

Box [left] does a masterful job of laying out the story. The action is nearly non-stop, but there's enough explanation for things to make sense. And nearly everything does make sense. I'm put off by unbelievable actions by characters in these stories, but incredulity only hit me once. I would have welcomed a little more explanation in the climax, but I'm a pretty literal reader.

Box's other books have been limited by some stock characters and some geography. This one is not, and I think it helped.

Joe Hartlaub, in his review at Book Reporter (see below), calls the book a "visual feast." I agree. Box does such a good job of painting word pictures of the people, events, and settings that it was almost like looking at story boards for a movie while someone described what was going on.

If any of you read this or any of Box's books, write and tell a little bit of the world what you think.

See also:

1 comment:

Ken Wedding said...

Kevin Tipple wrote:

Now, this I hated and quit after 100 pages. I almost never quit, but here I did becuase I have read the same type of thing too many times to count. It was not new for me.

Kevin R. Tipple