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Blue Heaven - Review

C.J. Box is one of those authors I have always wanted to read. Sitting, very lonely, on the shelf is his first book OPEN SEASON. First in his Joe Pickett series, I never read it and now I feel I am too far behind to play catch up. BLUE HEAVEN is his first non-series title. BLUE HEAVEN is set in North Idaho, the panhandle of the state. This section of Idaho has become a refuge for former/retired Los Angeles police officers. A lot of what BLUE HEAVEN is about is the uneasy relationship between the native population of Idaho and their new residents. Each group holds little respect for the other, each believing that their way of life holds more value than the other.

The story of BLUE HEAVEN surrounds the unfortunate witnessing of a murder by two young kids. The murder is that of a cop, killed by his own brethren to cover up for a highly lucrative crime in their past. The book is an intense thriller when its focus is on the evil that men do. The ordinariness of human deceit and how characters deal with the compromises they have made to just get through the day end up being fascinating. In lesser hands the downfall of human decency leads to tedious moralizing. Mr Box never falls into the trap of making his bad guys cartoons and his good guys wearisome supermen.

This book won the 2009 Edgar for Best Novel. It is easy to see why. The book deals with complex problems of the human condtion and refuses to give the easy answers the characters of this book are deperarly seeking.

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