Saturday, June 13, 2009

CJ Box's Edgar Award Winning Novel Is A Heavenly Read

I was looking for something to read on an upcoming flight when I picked up "Blue Heaven" by CJ Box a few weeks ago. Finding something to pass the time in airports is crucial to maintaining sanity and avoiding boredom.

This novel didn't disappoint.

The story revolves around two young children, brother and sister, and an unlikely hero, a rancher who has a damaged relationship with his own son and who's facing foreclosure on a property that has been in his family for generations.

When the youngsters witness a murder while on a fishing trip, they are plunged into a desperate game of hide and seek that could cost them their lives. As the three killers pursue them, the children find refuge in the barn of the rancher, Jess Rawlins. Jess listens to their incredible tale of flight, and then makes a difficult decision to harbor them from the authorities, despite some misgivings about their unbelievable story. Perhaps it's a desire to amend for his own damaged relationship with his family, but Jess wants to believe these kids.

The novel includes an appearance by an ex-detective who can't let go of an unsolved robbery-murder case he worked for years, and which turns out to be crucial to understanding the peril faced by the kids, Annie & William. Additional characters, such as the town banker and the children's mother, enrich the plot. It seems that past history, even the history that some characters want to forget, are influencing the present, and may lead to murder, if the bad guys have their way.

This novel examines a classic theme that has been used successfully in numerous suspense/thriller stories, from Alfred Hitchcock to Patricia Carlon. A man (or woman) who struggles alone against seemingly insurmountable odds, but keeps on fighting. CJ Box has put a new spin on the theme, and it gave this reader a hell of a ride.