Strange Brouhaha

Saturday, October 01, 2005

C.J. Box

This week, I read the Joe Pickett novels by C. J. Box. There are currently five of them; the most recent, Out of Range, was published in May.

If you're not a fan of characters like Harlan Coben's Win, or Robert Crais' Joe Pike, I advise you NOT to start reading the Pickett books with Trophy Hunt or Out of Range. Start with one of the others.

I'm not a big fan of characters like Win, Pike, and Box's Nate Romanowski. Don't get me wrong; I love the heck out of all of those books, all of those authors, but the "mysterious, amoral friend who will do the dirty work for the hero" is kind of a cop-out. Note that I don't include Hawk from the Spenser novels on that list; Hawk is an amplifier for Spenser: he doesn't do things that Spenser is unable or unwilling to do.

I'll spare you the gushing about the good writing and plotting; those things are good. The books are very engaging, no matter what order you read them in. Much like Eleanor Taylor Bland, the real reason to read Box is for the characters and their relationships. (Have I mentioned Bland? She's GREAT. The plotting is average, but there's just something evocative about her writing that makes you really feel what the characters are going through.)

If you're looking for something to read, try these books out.


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