Box takes another break from the travails of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Vicious Circle, 2017, etc.) to throw a serial killer at a dogged investigator and vice versa.
His real name is Ronald Pergram, but he’s more widely known as the Lizard King because of his habit of abducting lot lizards—prostitutes who work truckers’ parking lots—and driving off with them into the endless sunset. And Cassandra Dewell, chief investigator for the Bakken County Sheriff’s Department, has been after him for more than three years, ever since veteran Sheriff Jon Kirkbride recruited her from Montana and began to train her as his successor. Now that the deep-laid trap Cassie’s set for the Lizard seems to be about to snap shut, she’s arranged for every available lawman to be on hand when the Lizard’s truck, complete with his latest victim, or at least with forensic evidence he hasn’t yet had time to clean off, crosses North Dakota and heads west into Bakken County. On the very same day Cassie’s set her trap, her son’s friend Kyle Westergaard and his buddy Raheem Johnson, both 14, plan to pull a Huck and Jim and light out for the wide open spaces on a boat they hope to row to New Orleans. All too predictably, Cassie’s trap goes horribly wrong, leaving her frozen out of the department by slimy new Bakken County attorney Avery Tibbs and the Lizard with several new hostages on his hands, setting the stage for a dogged pursuit all the way to Yellowstone National Park.
Box handles both the set pieces and the longer arc with professional dexterity. The results can’t exactly be called memorable, but if you like chases across wide-open spaces, you’ll race toward the satisfying climax without caring about anything else.