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Blue heaven

by C.J. Box.

Library Journal: Two young kids witness a backwoods execution-style murder in their rural Idaho hamlet. Worse yet, the killers—four retired cops from Los Angeles—see the children and begin a dogged pursuit. Struggling rancher Jess Rawlins is surprised to find Annie and William hiding in his barn, but he's wise enough to believe their lurid tale. He also astutely recognizes the goodness of a stranger in town: Eduardo Villatoro, a retired detective, is determined to put one last unsolved case—a big one—to rest. Villatoro's case is the final nail in the coffin for these bad cops, and it's up to Jess and him to save the children. Readers will be anticipating the final shootout long before the bad guys catch on. Popular series author Box's (Free Fire) first venture into stand-alone territory is a quick, satisfying, and straightforward—if fairly transparent—read. It should appeal to readers looking for a contemporary Western with an infusion of thriller; Michael McGarrity's books come to mind. Recommended for larger popular collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 9/1/07.]—Teresa L. Jacobsen, Solano Cty. Lib., Fairfield, CA

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Publishers Weekly : At the start of this overly complicated thriller from bestseller Box, his first stand-alone, siblings Annie and William Taylor, ages 12 and 10, witness a gruesome murder in the woods outside the small Idaho town of Kootenai Bay, nicknamed Blue Heaven for its abundance of retired LAPD officers. Annie and William make a run for it after they're spotted by the killers, a group of crooked LAPD cops who retired to Idaho eight years earlier after pulling a complicated heist in California that left a man dead. Rancher Jess Rawlins becomes the children's only hope of survival after they take refuge in his barn. Jess must stay one step ahead of the killers, who have volunteered to help the local authorities investigate the children's disappearance. Annie and William's mother is frantic, as the scheming officers try to persuade her the children are gone for good. A subplot involving a retired California detective pursuing the original robbery case adds too many extra characters and undercuts the suspense. Readers expecting the same brisk story lines as the author's Joe Pickett crime novels (Free Fire, etc.) will be disappointed. 100,000 first printing; author tour. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms