Category Archives: book reviews

The Monday Book: THE DISAPPEARED by CJ Box

Paul Garrett, a regular contributor to THE MONDAY BOOK, reviews The Disappeared. It’s not his fault it’s appearing on a Tuesday.

My introduction to C. J. Box was his 2013 thriller The Highway, a book about a semi-driving serial killer. I picked up the book around ten-thirty one morning and the world stopped until 11:30 that night when my wife admonished me to put the book down and go to sleep. Since then, I have read several of his novels.  While he once produced a book about every couple of years, lately he has been pumping them out at a brisk pace, James Patterson style.

 In Disappeared, he continues the story of Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game Warden. Over the years we have become familiar with Joe, his wife, who is a librarian and sort-of silent partner in his investigations, and his two daughters, one adopted.  Along with the investigations, we have followed their personal difficulties.

Joe once again teams up with Nate Romanowski, a renegade and former special operator (think Jesse Ventura with an even bigger attitude). He once yanked the ears off a recalcitrant perp.

When A British celebrity and a fellow game warden both go missing at about the same time, the new governor sends Joe out to investigate.  Joe sets off on a search that jeopardizes his career as well as his life and that of his adopted daughter. On the trail of the missing, he crosses paths with the [PG1] standard variety of ne’er-do-wells and unique characters who populate his stories.

Like most of the Pickett stories, this is a procedural, wherein we follow Joe as he chases clues and goes down various blind alleys and switchbacks on the way to solving the crime. Picket stories take place in Northwestern Wyoming, and as usual the breathtaking and often desolate setting, brutal weather and environmentalism play important roles. Joe’s workmanlike prose gets the job done without flourish or extravagance.

The story develops like an avalanche crashing down Gannett Peak; slowly at first but gaining speed and momentum until reaching a final deadly crescendo. Though I consider myself adept at prematurely guessing the outcome of these types of stories, I was totally unprepared for the final plot twist that put everything in perspective.

The Disappeared will not disappoint C. J. Box fans. For those new to Joe Pickett, it will be a satisfying intro.


 [PG1]

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Filed under book reviews, out of things to read, publishing, reading, Wendy Welch

The Monday Book: MAKE WAY FOR THE DUCKLINGS by Robert McCloskey

I grew up on this book. It’s the story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, and since it was written in the 1940s, of course Mrs. Mallard took her husband’s last name. They set up house on an island in a lagoon off Boston Gardens. There, they are befriended by a policeman named Michael.

When Mr. Mallard flies off to visit upriver sites, he and Mrs. Mallard agree to meet in the gardens a week later, but to her surprise, Mrs. Mallard finds a huge stream of traffic between her and reuniting the children with their Egg Daddy.

Enter Michael, who sees the dilemma and radios for help. Soon four policeman, a patrol car, and numerous passersby form a cordon for the family, who are escorted in peace to the reunion. The family settles in the gardens so they don’t have to call out the city’s resources for future forays. You know, spending taxpayer money on journeys to recreational locations, that kind of thing.

I’m writing about this book today because it’s peaceful. Because Nancy Reagan gave Raisa Gorbachev a copy of the Boston Gardens bronze statue commemorating McCloskey’s ducklings to take back to the Soviet Union in the 1980s–another time when we were all afraid of each other. And because so many generations of children learned to read, learned to look after defenseless animals, and learned to value the small things because of this book.

If you’ve never read it, now’s a good time. If you have read it, now’s a good time to re-read it. Two wings up for Make Way for the Ducklings.

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Filed under book reviews, Wendy Welch, what's on your bedside table, writing, YA fiction