It wasn’t that long ago that C.J. Box, #1 bestselling author of Off The Grid, announced that he’ll be releasing two novels next year. First up is Vicious Circle, the latest installment of his long-running, mega-popular Joe Pickett series, in March. Then, next summer, Paradise Valley is scheduled to hit bookstores.
Originally, it was uncertain whether Box’s second 2017 novel would be a standalone thriller. He confirmed himself, though, via social media, that Paradise Valley would, in fact, be the third novel to feature investigator Cassie Dewell. Cassie was first introduced in The Highway, where she shared the spotlight with Cody Hoyt. Box then brought her back for last year’s Badlands as the main protagonist where, among other things, she tries to help a twelve-year-old kid named Kyle.
Now, as new details about Paradise Valley emerge, it appears that Cassie isn’t the only character from this series who’s returning in 2017. Kyle will be back as well, but, even bigger than that, the novel’s antagonist is someone C.J. Box fans will remember for sure.
Scroll down to read the plot details.
“For three years, Investigator Cassie Dewell has been on a hunt for a serial killer known as The Lizard King. He works as a long haul trucker. His prey are the “lot lizard” prostitutes who frequent truck stops. And she almost caught him…once. Working for the Bakken County, North Dakota sheriff’s department, Cassie has set what she believes is the perfect trap and she has lured him and his truck to a depot. Standing by, ready to close the net are half a dozen undercover officers, including Cassie’s fiance Ian. But the plan goes horribly wrong, and the blame falls to Cassie. Disgraced, she loses her job and investigation into her role is put into motion.
At the same time, Kyle Westergaard, a troubled kid whom Cassie has taken under her wing, has disappeared, telling everyone he is going on a long-planned adventure. Kyle’s grandmother begs Cassie to find him and with nothing else to do, she agrees–all the while planning a new trap for The Lizard King. But Cassie is now a lone wolf. And in the same way that two streams converge into a river, Kyle’s disappearance may have a more sinister meaning than anyone realizes. With no allies, no support, and only her own wits to rely on, Cassie must take down a killer who is as ruthless as he is cunning. But can she do it alone, without losing her own humanity or her own life?”
That’s right, The Lizard King, who terrorized young women in Box’s 2013 novel The Highway, will return in Paradise Valley! Frankly, he’s one of C.J. Box’s best bad guys and a deliciously loathsome character who will creep you out badly enough that sleeping with a night light for a while might be a good idea.
Paradise Valley (published by Minotaur Books) will be available wherever books are sold on July 25, 2017. It’s also available for pre-order here. If you haven’t read The Highway and Badlands, you have plenty of time to get caught up. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this series!