by C. J. Box
Minotaur Books, $25.99, 372 pages

Cody Hoyt, a Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s investigator, is sent into the Big Belt Mountains where a couple of hikers had found a half burned-out cabin with human remains inside. Everyone but Cody is quick to call it an accidental death. Cody is not so sure, because the remains are those of his AA sponsor with an empty whiskey bottle in his arms. Cody plants the seed of false evidence with a news reporter and then quickly proceeds to drink himself into a stupor. While in a drunken state the very next day, he manages to shoot the county coroner, and quickly finds himself suspended. He then launches himself into following the few clues he has and ends up pursuing an outfitter taking a bunch of greenhorns, including Cody’s son Justin, into the wilderness of Yellowstone National Park. A trail of death seems to be following the pack trip, and Cody becomes more and more convinced that his son is in danger.

There are not a lot of details on the natural beauty of Yellowstone National Park, but enough to keep the reader interested, as well as enough false trails and hidden clues to keep the amateur sleuths trying to solve the crime before the end of the book. Back of Beyond is a good read and, for those new to C. J. Box, one that will send them searching for some of his other 13 books.

Reviewed by Dick Morris

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