Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Review of Stone Cold by C.J. Box (2014, Head of Zeus)
Stone Cold is an example of a law enforcement thriller; a kind of game warden ‘mission impossible.’ The format works by taking an ordinary family guy, putting him into an extraordinary situation, then letting the game of cat and mouse begin. If you are prepared to suspend your disbelief a few times it works pretty well. Pickett is an interesting enough character who rarely opts for the sensible course of action, or backs down, but instead goads the opposition and then battles through. In this, the fourteenth book in the series, the opposition is a millionaire who is running a high-class hitman-for-hire operation from his back woods ranch, who is a local philanthropist but also controls the local law enforcement though not some of his employees. There are a number of weak plot devices throughout, including the appearance of characters from previous books, and the thread involving Pickett’s daughter is an unnecessary distraction. That said, there’s a colourful set of characters, there’s plenty of action and tension, and the story rattles along at a fair clip. Overall, a tale that’s difficult to take too seriously, but is still entertaining fare.