BOOK REVIEW: BLUE HEAVEN
Blue Heaven is a departure from Box's Joe Pickett series, but still holds all of the qualities that readers expect. Rather than game warden Joe Pickett, Blue Heaven's protagonist is a tough old rancher named Jess Rawlins. Box moves the setting slightly west into Idaho for this book.
The northern part of Idaho, known to natives as “North Idaho,” is also nicknamed “Blue Heaven,” because of all of the retired cops from California who retire to the area. One would think having retired police officers move in would be a good thing for a community, but the influx of newcomers has its drawbacks. They tend to stay to themselves and not mingle with the locals. Also they have bought up failing ranches and divided them into mini “gentleman's ranches.” They flash a lot of money around in an area that has lost most of the lumber and mining jobs, so there is economic resentment as well. But the biggest problem is that not all of the retired policemen are good cops. In fact, some of them are down right evil.
Two young children trying to find a spot to fish accidentally see what they believe is a murder being committed by a group of men. What's worse, one of the men sees the kids. The children, Annie and William Taylor, struggle to outwit their pursuers while trying to decide who, if anyone, they can trust. When Jess Rawlins finds the kids hiding in his barn, he has to decide whether to believe their far fetched story or not. What follows is a thrilling game of cat and mouse as Rawlins tries to hide and protect the children who are being pursued by four desperate men. Four very bad retired cops.
The book is told from multiple points of view, so the reader knows what is happening alternately with the children, another former cop still trying to close an old case, the banker who has some issues of his own to resolve and of coarse, the four bad men. Box does a great job of making the reader a part of the story. The characters are so strong and setting so clearly defined, its like the reader has lived with these people in Kootenai Bay forever.
REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR
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