Back of Beyond

Back of Beyond

C.J. Box

2011

The ABC series Big Sky was probably my favorite new show of the 2020-2021 television season. I’m sure that’s not saying much because I really don’t make much time for network TV these days. I have a tendency to wait until the end of a season then binge everything when it’s available on some streaming platform. Big Sky had me hooked week after week.

I was pretty psyched to find out toward the end of the season that the show is based on a series of novels by C.J. Box. Clearly, I had not been paying close attention to the opening credits that attributed the story to that series. I can’t say for sure, because I’m not there yet, but I think the first half of Big Sky‘s first season was based on The Highway, the second book in this particular series.

The first book, Back of Beyond, is a brand new story to me, completely untouched by the TV show thus far.

I’m not sure, but that may have made it difficult for me to get into the story starting out. Or it could have been that I checked Back of Beyond and The Highway out from the local library with the intention of reading both while out of town on vacation. And then vacation turned into me doing a lot more sleeping than reading. Hey, I needed the rest.

After returning home, I realized the books would be due back at the library soon, so I should at least get one of them read, right? Somewhere, I turned a corner with Back of Beyond and I couldn’t put it down. My free time in the last few days has been consumed with finishing this book, just so I could see if I was right.

Back of Beyond is a fantastic mystery/thriller that follows Cody Hoyt, a sheriff’s deputy in Helena, Montana. If you’re looking for a flawed hero, Cody Hoyt is your man. The murder of a local man and friend of Cody soon sparks an investigation that leads to Yellowstone National Park and a crime spree that goes far deeper than anyone in Helena could have imagined. That’s a horrible synopsis…

But the thing is I don’t want to give anything away. I don’t care that it’s a 10 year old book. If you like mysteries, this is a good one. If you like stories with the American west as the backdrop, this is a good one.

If you’re not willing to check out the book, at least watch Big Sky, which I’m happy to say is getting a second season. Maybe the writers will find a way to adapt Back of Beyond for a future storyline. Knowing what I know about the show, it would have to have some drastic changes, but it could be done.

Have you read Back of Beyond or anything else by C.J. Box? Have you seen Big Sky? Share your thoughts in the comments down below!

Feature Photo by Dustin Commer on Unsplash

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