Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ENDANGERED by C.J. Box a Rugged West Crime Novel

Endangered by C.J. Box is the latest in the crime novel series that features Wyoming state game warden Joe Pickett. The novel is set against the rugged, sprawling western landscape that Pickett patrols, mostly alone.

The novel opens with Joe investigating the site of an illegal massacre of a flock of sage grouse, an endangered species. Before Joe can pursue the case further, he gets an unexpected call telling him that his step-daughter, April, has been found in a roadside ditch, brutally beaten and unconscious. It's uncertain whether she will survive.

Another crisis soon occurs when Joe's friend, Nate Romanowski, an undercover Federal informant, is set up and gunned down in a cold blooded ambush. After emergency surgery, Nate's life hangs in the balance.

As Pickett investigates both cases, he begins to wonder if the attacks on April and Nate are connected somehow. His digging points him toward the Cates family, a roughneck, violent clan that Joe Pickett may end up having to go against.

Endangered is a fast paced read, with several plot lines moving at the same time. Tough-skinned characters and the unforgiving western country add a strong regional flavor to the story.

Beach Rating: 4 Palm Trees

Thursday, March 5, 2015

BROADCHURCH Returns With Season 2 Mystery

Broadchurch (BBC America Cable) is back for Season 2 of this gripping British mystery series.

Season 1 dealt with the investigation of a boy's murder in the small English seaside town of Broadchurch. Teamed on the case were detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller. Hardy was an outsider assigned to the case, Miller a local native of the town. Miller personally knew many of the town residents, one of whom was secretly a killer.

The first season ended with a shocker: Detective Miller's own husband, Joe, turned out to be the killer. He was arrested and confessed to the crime as his wife reacted with stunned fury. She was sleeping right next to the killer all the time and never knew it. Case closed, right? Not so fast, it seems.

In the new season, Joe Miller suddenly pleads not guilty in  court, throwing the case into renewed chaos. A full criminal trial is begun, forcing the town, and Detective Miller, to relive all the agonizing emotions of the boy's murder.

The trial threatens to expose previously unknown revelations about the murder case and suggests new trouble ahead for detectives Hardy and Miller. The unexpected trial is a wrenching plot twist on a case that viewers thought was solved and done with. But there seems to be more coming that we never knew about before.

Another bonus is the prickly, entertaining chemistry between the two detectives as they face the pressures around them. With a cast of characters with hidden secrets of their own, Broadchurch is an engrossing drama of sinister psychological mystery at its best.