While C.J. Box is considered to be the leading Western mystery writer, many readers are most familiar with his Joe Pickett series which has garnered him numerous awards. Lesser known are his Highway Series of books, and his newest release, “Treasure State”, features policewoman turned Private Investigator Cassie Dewell. Despite having heard much about Box’s works, this is my first time reading any of his books, and it was definitely a winner.
By now, many of you know that I like to start at the beginning of a series, but I received a free copy of this book and decided to dive right in. I am happy to report that while this is not a standalone novel, you certainly do not need extensive background on Cassie Dewell, as the author fills us in as we go as to her prior highlights and how they impact her current cases. Yes, cases. In “Treasure State” Cassie has to tackle two cases simultaneously.
She begins by being hired by the author of a poem that has set in motion a treasure hunt for a chest full of gold coins, valued at close to $3 Million. Cassie’s objective is to try and locate the author because he feels that the key to finding the treasure is locating him, and he does not want anyone to do that! Now that is a bit of a twist, since he is sure that she cannot locate him and therefore he will never be required to pay Cassie’s fee of $25,000. This in itself may be enough for most authors, but Box has now inserted a second totally unrelated case in this book. Cassie is contacted by a wealthy Florida retiree to locate a missing PI from Florida who was on the trail of a swindler who conned her out of millions of dollars. This sets up a most ambitious book, trying to find someone who does not want to be found, and yet also trying to find a missing person with few clues as to his whereabouts.
This is an easy to read book, that most all mystery fans will enjoy. The biggest negative for me was that lack of red herrings in the book and that we know what has happened to the missing PI and those involved. The author of the treasure hunt is more problematic, but in the end she gets enough clues to locate the author in a most unusual location.
Interesting cases and a straight forward style, makes this a good entry point for anyone who has not read Box’s works. Along the way we learn a bit of Montana history, specifically about the Copper Kings of Butte, and the little town of Anaconda. Good stuff, and enough for me to come back and revisit this authors previous works.