In this sprawling, ambitious stand-alone from Edgar-winner Box (Three Weeks to Say Goodbye), Cody Hoyt, an investigator in the sheriff's department of Montana's Lewis and Clark County, and a (barely) recovering alcoholic, goes in search of the man who burned his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor to death. What at first appears to be a random crime broadens in scope to include multiple murders... The action culminates with a chase into the "back of beyond," a remote wilderness area of Yellowstone, where Hoyt's son, Justin, who's in his late teens, is on an expedition with his new stepfather. Box makes the rugged expanses of the American West even more palpably compelling than his largely appealing characters; he provides backstories for even the most minor ones. This padding and some improbable plot twists tend to undercut the suspense, but Box's many fans won't mind a bit. 125,000 first printing; 10-city author tour. (Aug.)
"sprawling, ambitious...palpably compelling..."