Category Archives: reading

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 – Born Fighting – Jim Webb

Jack’s job is the Monday book this week again – so a day late of course – –

I may have reviewed this book some years ago, but there’s nothing wrong with revisiting a book!

When I first read the book I was impressed, first of all, with the description of early Scottish history and then with the history of the ‘Scotch Irish’ in Ireland.

On re-reading, though, I have some doubts. I read ‘Wales – A History’ recently and that sheds a rather different light on the early history of the Celts (or Brythons) and that paints a contrasting picture. The lowland Scots, who were Webb’s ancestors, were part of the Brythonic culture and spoke Welsh rather than Gaelic or Scots. He doesn’t really cover that period well.

Then his coverage of the lowland Scots in Ireland seems to me now to be written strongly from a Protestant point of view and is rather condescending about the majority Catholic population. There is only passing reference to the Potato Famine which was effectively a British ‘pogrom’ against the inhabitants of the country and hugely important.

The book isn’t just a general history, but a very personal history and it’s important to bear that in mind. Webb’s roots are in Appalachia and he really starts from there and weaves everything around that. There’s no doubt that he set out to place himself in that context and that’s fair enough.

Webb writes well and Born Fighting is an easy read, however I would strongly recommend reading other books about the history of the Celts and the Appalachians alongside this one.

Wales – A History – Gwynfor Evans

The Thistle and the Brier – Richard Blaustein

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Filed under book reviews, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, reading, Scotland, small town USA, VA