Grimstad, North Dakota. A place people used to be from – but were never headed to – has struck oil. As pipelines snake across the prairie, oil flows out and men and money flow in. And with them, comes crime. North Dakota's new oil capital has a serious law and order problem and newly qualified detective Cassie Dewell has just been appointed its deputy sheriff.
Twelve-year-old Kyle Westergaard is one of Grimstad's paperboys. Kyle has been written off as the 'slow' kid, but he has dreams deeper than anyone can imagine – he wants to get out of town, take care of his alcoholic mother, and give them a better life. While delivering newspapers, he witnesses a car accident and now has money and a lot of white powder in his possession.
With the temperature dropping to 30 degress below and a gang war heating up, Cassie fears she might be in over her head. The key to it all will come in the most unlikely form: an undersized boy on a bike who keeps showing up where he doesn't belong.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In his second Cassie Dewell novel, C.J. Box takes us deep into the oil-rich and crime-riddled North Dakota town of Grimstad. Here we meet a newly promoted Dewell, deadly drug gangs, and most interestingly, a paperboy with learning difficulties. Once 12-year-old Kyle Westergaard finds himself in possession of a drug-stuffed duffel bag, Box’s story really heats up—and gains its heart. Suddenly, a breakneck crime thriller breaks out and is cooly taken to a rewarding conclusion.
Edgar-winner Box's superior thriller carries some characters and themes over from his two previous standalones, The Highway and Back of Beyond, as investigator Cassie Dewell relocates to North Dakota's boomtown oil fields. In the subzero prairie, the little town of Grimstad is bursting with thousands of roughnecks, its infrastructure and law enforcement system are almost overwhelmed, and ruthless drug dealers are flocking to a wide-open new frontier. Cassie arrives just as a series of brutal murders signals a war between drug gangs although the missing duffle bag the criminals are searching for has accidentally wound up in the hands of a special-needs paperboy, 12-year-old Kyle Westergaard. Kyle just wants a stable home life, but his possession of the bag full of drugs and money sets off more violent deaths. The story's brisk action is broken into alternating sections as Cassie and Kyle try to figure out what's going on and what they must do. The vulnerable boy's plight gives emotional heft to the criminal investigation, balancing cynicism with warm empathy. 250,000 first printing; author tour.