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Paradise Valley: Highway Quartet    by C. J. Box order for
Paradise Valley
by C. J. Box
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Paradise Valley is the third in C.J. Box's compelling Highway Quartet that began with The Highway and continued in Badlands. It stars detective Cassie Dewell, a plump single mother obsessed with bringing to justice the Lizard King serial killer, who preys on lot lizards, prostitutes who work truck stops. He killed her partner Cody. She's been on his trail for over three years and it's taken her from Montana to North Dakota.

As Paradise Valley opens, Cassie continues to work as Chief Investigator in Bakken County, where her boss, Sheriff Kirkbride (who has her back) is close to retirement. She is engaged to marry Deputy Ian Davis, which complicates her life as he's a subordinate. And she has set a trap for the Lizard King. But the best laid plans oft go awry, as happens in this case with tragic consequences. The Feds and the ambitious new County Attorney blame Cassie. After being suspended, she quits.

As this develops, Badlands' star teen Kyle Westergaard (born with a mild case of fetal alcohol syndrome that affected his ability to speak) embarks on a long planned Huck Finn style boat trip down the Missouri with his friend Raheem. It's soon cut short and Kyle's grandmother seeks Cassie's help in finding out what's happened to them. And a cheerful middle aged housewife named Amanda disappears as well.

Though the official view is that the Lizard King is dead and gone, Cassie believes otherwise and keeps up the search for him from her new location back in Montana. She has help from attractive Sheriff Bryan Pederson and legendary outdoorsman Bull Mitchell. At the same time, readers share the points of view of young Kyle, Raheem and Amanda, struggling to survive. And they begin to wonder, who's hunting whom and who will be left standing?

As always, C.J. Box gives fans an electrifying and thoroughly engrossing read in Paradise Valley - highly recommended!

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