The Highway

Author: C.J. Box

When teenagers Danielle and Gracie Sullivan (from Back of Beyond) take a clandestine car trip to visit their friend in Montana, little do they know it's the last time anyone will ever hear from them again. The girls and their car simply vanish. Cody Hoyt, who's just lost his job and has fallen off the wagon after a long stretch of sobriety, is in no condition to investigate. But his son Justin, whom the girls were going to visit, and his former partner, Cassie Dewell, convince him to drive south to their last known location. As Cody makes his way to the piece of highway where the girls went missing, Cassie discovers that there have been scores of disappearances in the state. There's a serial killer out there roaming the interstate, and Cody and Cassie must find him before he takes more lives. 

The Highway (Cody Hoyt, #2)

Library Journal (starred review):

Drawing on characters introduced in Back of Beyond, Box's stand-alone weaves together subplots into a nonstop, action-filled race against time. Rolling down the superhighway of suspense, this thriller will leave readers breathless.


Publishers Weekly (boxed signature review):

Filled with believable characters and hard, realistic dialogue, Edgar-winner Box’s perfectly paced novel offers a suspenseful story laced with more than a few shockingly unexpected plot twists.

As the film Duel demonstrated, the mere sight of an enormous truck speeding up behind you on a long, empty stretch of highway is never comforting; and Box works that inherent fear masterfully.


Associated Press:

The result is a violent, tension-packed, well-written thriller spiced with Box's vivid portrayal of the Western landscape that he loves. Along the way, Box also drops in surprising insights about the itinerant lives of long-haul truckers.

Box's previous thrillers, most of them featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, have all featured strong, tough-talking male protagonists, but the heroes of this one are the underestimated Cassie, who proves to be both tough and resourceful, and the courageous Gracie, who keeps her head when her flighty sister falls apart.

 The Highway is the second new thriller this year from the prolific Box, who seems to get better with every book.


The Globe and Mail:

Be warned: This is one scary novel. Fans of C.J. Box's excellent Joe Pickett series know that his characters get under your skin. This new series is even better than Pickett, but don’t read this book in the dark of the night.


Billings Gazette:

With The Highway, his latest contemporary Western suspense novel, C.J. Box is taking risks and flouting rules.

Through 13 novels featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett and three standalone thrillers, the Cheyenne, Wyo., author has earned a reputation as one of better mystery writers working today. 

But until The Highway, Box mostly played within the established one-good-guy-gets-one-bad-guy sandbox of the genre.

Not this time. It's clear that he feels he's built some capital with his readers — some measure of willingness to follow wherever he goes — and with The Highway, he's clearly cashing in and careening into new territory. And Box, a canny and consummate craftsman, gets away with it.

One of Box's bigger gifts is his ability to create sumptuous characters from spare, surgical strokes of prose. A favorite: "He drove his truck for eleven months and hunted elk with the other, and he could quote Shakespeare and Paul Harvey without missing a beat."

Want to share the literary road less traveled with people like that? Get off the genre interstate and take The Highway.


Criminal Element:

Box's ability to create vivid characters is one of the things that makes reading his books so enjoyable. He does an amazing job of not only creating the characters who are on the side of good, but the evil ones, too. His evil characters are even that much more stunning for their depiction and the author’s ability to produce chills down the reader's spine.

I originally thought of this book as a race against time, but have since amended my description to a fast moving, edge of your seat page-turner. I really couldn't put it down. Box tells his story as it needs to be told, and is not afraid to let the action go where it may and let the bodies fall. Things can't always be neat and tidy and summed up in the drawing room by a fire. But when you think about it, when are things really that neat and tidy in real life?


New York Journal of Books:

C. J. Box's ability to explore the mind of a serial killer and in doing so create a three-dimensional character is frightening. It would make one wonder about his dark side, if he didn't also create such wonderfully well-rounded characters whose goodness overcomes their flaws.

In The Highway the reader is taken for a terrifying ride with killers and can only hope rescuers arrive before the journey ends in a bloody torture chamber.