Book: The Highway by C. J. Box (Review of audio book by MacMillan, read by Holter Graham)
C. J. Box, I learned when I previously reviewed Back of Beyond, has two teenage girls of his own. That explains his ability to nail the personality of two sisters–very different teenage types– who become the victims in this totally suspenseful and scary story about a Montana road trip gone wrong.
You don’t have to have read Back of Beyond to understand The Highway, because Box recaps the necessary threads about Montana sheriff investigator, Cody Hoyt, but I do recommend that you read my review of Back of Beyond to get more information about Box and the way he writes.
The Highway features enough twists and turns to make you carsick, as an evil truck driver preys on young women. Gradually you learn that he has a “partner” and the plot gets thicker than an oil slick. C. J. Box is a careful researcher, and he lets us in on all kinds of secrets of the life of long-haul truckers, as well as taking us on a ride Montana road trip through the countryside around Yellowstone.
Cody Hoyt has a new female partner, described as “an equality hire” who grows in confidence and competence as the novel unfolds. This character is a keeper, and I have no doubt that we’ll be reading more about her. Box leaves us with a cliff hanger that will make the reader wait anxiously for the next installment of his Montana mysteries.
I couldn’t help wondering if in the back of his mind, C.J. Box was writing a cautionary tale for his own teen girls. Don’t set off on a Montana road trip without letting people know where you are. Pay attention to the condition of your car. Don’t mess with truckers. Of course Gracie, the younger, less attractive and more canny of the two, pleads with pretty self-centered Danielle to follow those rules, but it is Danielle’s car and she’s driving–while she texts her boyfriend, Cody’s son.
The story takes place during Thanksgiving week, adding complications since most of the police departments involved–Cody and Cassie’s Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Department, neighboring county Sheriff’s Departments of Montana, and the Montana State Patrol–are overworked with holiday traffic and understaffed with their own personnel wanting to go on vacation.
I don’t want to drop any spoilers in here, so I”ll just say that the book strays from cop mystery to sheer terror tale and caught me totally off guard with its biggest plot surprise.
While I’m always looking for audio books to take along on road trips, and while I listened to this audio book non-stop until it ended, I’m not all that sure I’d want to listen to it on the road. Despite the fact that the title sounds appropriate for a Montana road trip, you wouldn’t want to be listening to it on a lonely dark stretch of Montana road. You wouldn’t want to be listening to it when you needed a potty break and were approaching a truck stop. But do listen in the safety of your home. If you’re reading the book, it is a page turner. If you are listening–its a track turner. It’s a thrilling read–in more ways than one.
How about your road trip fears? Biggest worry? Share!
Disclaimers: The terrific photos here come from Flickr with Creative Commons license. The exception is the photo of the author and truckers, from his web page. Please click on the photos to learn more about the photographers. MacMillan audio supplied the book to me for review. When you click on the Amazon links and buy ANYTHING AT ALL within 24 hours….A Traveler’s Library makes a few cents. THANKS!