The Bitterroots

Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Cassie Dewell, Bk. 4). Aug. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9781250051059. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466852006. M
In Box’s fourth “Cassie Dewell” mystery (after Paradise Valley), Cassie is working as a PI in Helena, MT, conducting investigations for insurance companies and car dealerships, which feels like a breath of fresh air after her previous job in law enforcement. But then an old friend calls in a debt, and Cassie leaves the comfort of her new business to look into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a member of an influential family in a small, rural community. As she heads into the Bitterroot mountains, where a fire is raging, that fresh air disappears both literally and metaphorically. The family of the accused is the worst kind of dysfunctional, and there’s a trucker who seems bent on killing Cassie and her family, harkening back to her stressful days chasing a serial rapist and murdering trucker. After a slow start filling in Cassie’s history, Box shifts into high gear, pulling the plotlines together while writing lyrically of the Western landscape.
VERDICT Box gives a scathing look at the perverted nature of a backwoods isolationist family, at the same time providing a strong female protagonist. This will appeal to readers who enjoy works by Craig Johnson, Paul Doiron, Brian Panowich, and Nevada Barr. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]

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