A second standalone from the chronicler of Twelve Sleep County Game Warden Joe Pickett (Cold Wind, 2011, etc.) takes a Montana cop deep into the wilds of Yellowstone National Park in the hope of protecting his teenaged son from a determined killer.
The evidence says that Hank Winters died in a house fire shortly after downing several stiff drinks. But Cody Hoyt, an investigator for the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Department, doesn’t believe the evidence. Hank was Cody’s AA sponsor, and he knows that although he might have fallen off the wagon himself, his adamantine mentor never would have done so. If Hank didn’t drink from the uncapped flask found nearby, then someone must have planted it—and that rules out both accident and suicide. Kicked off the case, Cody still keeps working it with the help of his friend and colleague Larry Olson, who soon uncovers a nationwide chain of murders with a remarkably similar m.o. Even more chilling, however, is a clue that convinces Cody that the killer is headed to a backcountry expedition through Yellowstone Park, the very same place Cody’s son Justin has been taken by His Richness Walt Franck, the developer who’s engaged to Cody’s ex Jenny. As Cody laboriously makes his way closer to the park, dodging suspicious cops and murder attempts, Box keeps cutting away to the expedition organized by outfitter Jed McCarthy, whose party of a dozen amateur adventurers is methodically whittled away one by one. Can Cody, a refugee from the Denver PD who’s no great outdoorsman himself, catch up with the group and identify the killer in time to save his son’s life?
Once again, Box provides the complete suspense package: unobtrusively slick detection, buckets of surprises and mounting thrills, all amid his trademark settings in the majestic high country.