by C. J. Box
Minotaur, 2014. 278 pgs. Mystery
Cassie Dewell is thirty-six years old and a bit on the fleshy side (as my grandmother used to say), but she is a crackerjack of a detective and is looking forward to exercising the full scope of her gifts in a new job as deputy sheriff in Grimstad, North Dakota, an oil boomtown much in need of additional policing. Just before she arrives, young Kyle Westergaard, riding his paper route in the early morning hours, sees a man killed in a rollover accident caused by another car and a policeman arriving at the scene who does not tell the whole story. In the meantime, Kyle discovers a duffel bag full of money and white powder in baggies, which he carries away on his bike. Cassie's job is to smoke out the members of a drug cartel newly arrived in town who are butchering people hither and yon trying to find their product. Tense, brutal, and frigid (Box describes a North Dakota winter very well), Badlands is a quick, well-written, suspenseful book by the author of the Joe Pickett series.