A killer with big wheels

 

The Highway. C.J. Box. Minotaur. 400 pages. $25.99.

With three-dimensional characters and a gripping plot, The Highway is the summer’s most terrifying novel, even more frightening because of its back story. C.J. Box bases his book on the real hunt for a murderer working as a long-haul trucker by the FBI’s Highway Serial Killer Task Force. While the FBI’s task force statistics are numbing, Box never stoops to the prurient while delivering an edgy, compelling novel.

Set in the remote corners of Montana, the isolated landscape lends a chilling atmosphere where the whine of an 18-wheeler and an unlit back road ratchet up the suspense.

For his 17th novel, Box puts aside his best-known character, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, and returns to Cody Holt, a Montana sheriff’s department investigator first introduced in the 2011 Back of Beyond. A perceptive detective, Cody often gets in trouble because of his grating personality and his penchant for skirting the law to make an arrest. His life is finally back on track: He stopped drinking and has reconciled with his ex-wife, Jenny, and his teenage son, Justin. Then he is fired from the Helena sheriff’s office for planting evidence that will lead to a killer’s arrest.

But Cody doesn’t have time to worry about his job. Justin is worried about his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Sullivan, and her sister, Gracie, who are on their way to visit him. Danielle is a texting fiend, but hours have passed since Justin heard from the teenage sisters.

The Highway is fueled by believable characters, including the complex Cody; his ex-partner Cassie Dewell, whose investigative skills are tested; and the sisters, the impetuous Danielle and the grounded Gracie. Box succinctly delves into the culture of long-distance truckers, careful to show that the majority are hardworking types who are “building America, one truckload at a time.”

Box, whose myriad awards include the Edgar, stretches his storytelling skills with The Highway, taking extreme risks with the plot, which accelerates from one harrowing, unpredictable twist to another. Prepare to be scared.

Oline H. Cogdill reviewed this book for The Sun Sentinel.

Read more Books stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">An Idea Whose Time Has Come:</span> Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.. Todd Purdum. Holt. 398 pages. $30.

    History

    Book assesses the impact of the Civil Rights Act 50 years later

    The veterans of the civil rights movement gathered at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in Texas this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and assess its impact. Then the living embodiment of that legislation walked on stage.

  • What do you recommend?

    “The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton — it’s a book built around characters and plots inspired by astrological principles. It’s a neo-Victorian murder mystery and a mere 832 pages long, and it made 28-year-old Catton the youngest person to win the coveted Man Booker Prize. The voice is natural, easy to understand and ambitious; she’s a novelist who is seeking to reclaim the authorial, a writer who seeks to entertain and enlighten.”

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">The Boom:</span> How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World. Russell Gold. Simon & Schuster. 384 pages. $26.

    Nonfiction

    Book considers the pros and cons of fracking

    Author considers both sides of the controversial issue.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category