Paradise Valley: A Novel (Highway Quartet) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Paradise ValleyVery interesting story of an investigator, Cassie Dewell, of the Sheriff’s Department in Bakken County, North Dakota, who is chasing down a real killer. The killer ,known as the Lizard King, is an independent truck driver, and Cassie first came across him earlier when he had somehow beaten a possible conviction on a technicality. She receives word that he is back out and moving.

Cassie decides the only way to catch him is to set a trap and have him somehow get scheduled to make a pickup in her local area. She feels certain that if and when she does he will have a prostitute stashed away in his truck. This is what he has always done. He frequents truck stops and picks up the lizards (prostitutes) who work the stops. The prostitute is later found dead.

With the help of the Sheriff they get everything arranged and when his truck pulls in to make the pickup they are there and ready to get him. However they quickly discover he has another talent which is working with explosives! As they get closer to the truck it blows apart in a monstrous devastating explosion. The cab and most of the truck is demolished. Because of the damages the FBI and a local County Attorney became involved and immediately began to question Cassie’s maneuver.

The attorney went after both the Sheriff and Cassie for doing a stupid and hazardous action. The result of his denunciation of them got the Sheriff reprimanded and Cassie was fired. There had always been bad blood between the attorney and the sheriff and this whole episode convinced the Sheriff it was time to resign. Cassie meanwhile begins further tracking of the Lizard King when she finds enough evidence to indicate it wasn’t him in the truck.

However when he was in the area he did pick up a prostitute and somewhat on accident he also picked up a local matronly housewife and also two young boys who somehow got mixed up in the action that evolved.

How Cassie carries out her in depth investigation and eventual chasing down of the Lizard King makes a great story. The fellow is very intelligent and uses his explosives technology along with some other intriguing abilities to really put a lot of interesting highlights to a great read.

How the whole story plays out and comes to a conclusion is without a doubt a great piece of writing by C. J. Box. He has been and continues to be a very readable author with not only interesting but believable plots. This is another great one to read!!!