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Cover image for The bitterroots : a novel
The bitterroots : a novel
Other title(s):
Bitter roots
Large print edition.
Farmington Hills, Mich : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2019.
Physical Description:
473 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
"Former police officer Cassie Dewell is trying to start over with her own private investigation firm. Guilty about not seeing her son and exhausted by the nights on stakeout, Cassie is nonetheless managing...until an old friend calls in a favor: she wants Cassie to help exonerate a man accused of assaulting a young girl from an influential family. Against her own better judgment, Cassie agrees. But out in the Big Sky Country of Montana, twisted family loyalty runs as deep as the ties to the land, and there's always something more to the story. As Cassie attempts to uncover the truth, she must fight against the ghosts of her own past that threaten to pull her back under"-- Provided by publisher.
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A #1 New York Times Bestselling AuthorFormer sheriff's investigator Cassie Dewell is starting her life over in private practice. When an old friend asks her to help exonerate a man accused of assaulting a young relative, Cassie reluctantly agrees. But out by the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana, twisted family loyalty runs deep, and there's always more to the story. The Kleinsassers have ruled here for decades, and the Iron Cross Ranch is their stronghold. They want to see Blake Kleinsasser, the black sheep of the family, put away forever for the assault. As Cassie attempts to uncover the truth, she must fight against both the family, whose roots are tangled and deadly, and the ghosts of her own past.

Author Notes

C. J. Box writes short stories and novels including the short story collection Shots Fired and the Joe Pickett series. His first stand-alone novel, Blue Heaven, won an Edgar Award for Best Novel of 2008. He has also received the Anthony Award, French Prix Calibre 38, Macavity Award, Gumshoe Award, and Barry Award. He co-owns an international tourism marketing firm with his wife. In 2008, he was awarded the "BIG WYO" Award from the Wyoming tourism industry. His titles often make the best seller list including Paradise Valley in 2017.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this outstanding novel from Edgar winner Box, erstwhile police officer Cassie Dewell, last seen in 2017's Paradise Valley, has rebooted her career and become a PI in Montana. A single mother, Cassie sometimes has to take work where she finds it, but her alarm bells go off when attorney Rachel Mitchell offers her a dubious assignment: investigating the arrest of millionaire Blake Kleinsasser, who has been charged with raping his 15-year-old niece, Franny Porché. The black sheep of his wealthy ranching family, Blake admits he was too drunk that night to remember whether he attacked Franny. Thus, gathering evidence that could clear Blake will be a huge challenge. How huge Cassie only gradually learns, as she canvasses the law enforcement of Lochsa County as well as the Kleinsasser family members. Local resistance soon escalates into serious peril when Cassie is arrested and thrown in jail on a trumped-up charge. Vividly etched characters and a realistic plot lift this outing, and the well-done Montana setting is a plus. Box remains at the top of his game. 300,000-copy announced first printing; author tour. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary (Aug.)

Kirkus Review

The creator of Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett (Wolf Pack, 2019, etc.) launches a new series starring a female private eye who messes with a powerful family and makes everyone involved rue the day.Cassie Dewell's been taking a monthly retainer from Bozeman attorney Rachel Mitchell for investigations of one sort and another, but she really doesn't want to look into the case of Rachel's newest client. That's partly because Blake Kleinsasser, the fourth-generation firstborn of a well-established ranching family who moved to New York and made his own bundle before returning back home, comes across as a repellent jerk and partly because all the evidence indicates that he raped Franny Porch, his 15-year-old niece. And there's plenty of evidence, from a rape kit showing his DNA to a lengthy, plausible statement from Franny. But Cassie owes Rachel, and Rachel tells her she doesn't have to dig up exculpatory evidence, just follow the trail where it leads so that she can close off every other possibility. So Cassie agrees even though there's an even more compelling reason not to: The KleinsassersHorst II and Margaret and their three other children, John Wayne, Rand, and Cheyenne, Franny's thrice-divorced motherare not only toxic, but viperishly dangerous to Blake and now Cassie. Everyone in Lochsa County, from Sheriff Ben Wagy on down, is in their pockets, and everyone Cassie talks to, from the Kleinsassers to the local law, finds new ways to make her life miserable. But Cassie, an ex-cop single mother, isn't one to back down, especially since she wonders why anyone would take all the trouble to stop an investigation of a case that was as rock-solid as this one's supposed to be.An appealing new heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a memorably nightmarish family make this one of Box's best. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

After catching the truck-driving serial killer known as the Lizard King in Paradise Valley (2017), Cassie Dewell left North Dakota, retired from law enforcement, and is now making her living as a PI in Bozeman, Montana, when she's obligated to take a repugnant case. A defense attorney is representing a prominent man accused of sexually assaulting his own niece, and the evidence against him is compelling; owing the lawyer a favor, Cassie agrees to run background, if only to confirm the man's guilt. But in fictional Lochsa County, in the shadow of the real-life Bitterroot Mountains, Cassie soon finds that nothing is as it seems. Corrupt towns are a staple of both crime fiction and westerns, as are twisted families ruled by evil patriarchs. Here, Box entwines those tropes with a harrowing subplot involving Cassie's son, Ben, and fashions a snare that will render readers utterly immobilized until they've closed the book. Game warden Joe Pickett may be Box's main man, but Cassie is equally compelling, and readers will be delighted to have her back. Not content with merely ruling Wyoming, Box has become the dominant mystery/thriller author of the mountain West and deservedly so.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With an announced 300,000-copy run and Box's legions of fans, there's not a library in the U.S. that can afford to ignore this one.--Keir Graff Copyright 2019 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In Box's fourth "Cassie Dewell" mystery (after Paradise Valley), Cassie is working as a PI in Helena, MT, conducting investigations for insurance companies and car dealerships, which feels like a breath of fresh air after her previous job in law enforcement. But then an old friend calls in a debt, and Cassie leaves the comfort of her new business to look into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a member of an influential family in a small, rural community. As she heads into the Bitterroot mountains, where a fire is raging, that fresh air disappears both literally and metaphorically. The family of the accused is the worst kind of dysfunctional, and there's a trucker who seems bent on killing Cassie and her family, harkening back to her stressful days chasing a serial rapist and murdering trucker. After a slow start filling in Cassie's history, Box shifts into high gear, pulling the plotlines together while writing lyrically of the Western landscape. VERDICT Box gives a scathing look at the perverted nature of a backwoods isolationist family, at the same time providing a strong female protagonist. This will appeal to readers who enjoy works by Craig Johnson, Paul Doiron, Brian Panowich, and Nevada Barr. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]--Sharon Mensing, Phoenix