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on 22 July 2010
C.J. Box sets up his plot like a classic western movie, framed by the stunning scenery of North Idaho where the local farming community is being shouldered aside by incomers retiring to the country and real estate agents trying to sell their land for development. One grizzled rancher,Jess Rawlins, a 63-year-old lonely divorcee, sticks to the old ways and his self-reliance (as well as a fair number of guns!) is vital to the survival of two local children who are thought to have been abducted, but are in fact on the run having witnessed a cold blooded murder. As Rawlins befriends - and shelters - the two runaways, he discovers that the bad guys have not only ridden into the nearby town, but have taken it over. A violent, classic western shoot-out is the inevitable outcome. With all its feelings of homage to the traditional Western, where one brave man stands tall in defence of the weak and innocent, this is a very modern thriller, scoring highly on plot,suspense and pace and with characters you believe in and are sometimes terrified by. Blue Heaven also sheds light on the contemporary problems facing the ranchers out in the still pretty Wild West. A cracking read, which will finally establish C.J. Box on this side of the Atlantic.
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on 10 November 2008
This is a very good book by CJ Box and the first i have read by him. The storyline doesn't drag at all, so you find yourself not putting the book down. The storyline of retired bent police officers, who kill somebody as two children watch is really gripping. You feel really sorry for the children, Annie and William, because you wonder who is going to believe two kids of 12 and 8 over four retired LAPD officers? They start to beileve they can trust no-one.
I love the characters in this book, as soon as the badguys appear you can feel yourself want to boo and hiss like at the pantomine!! I would definitely recommend this book.
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on 20 August 2014
First if all I'd like to advise anyone who is interested in this book for their kindle - NOT to purchase it as a single novel- you can buy it along with two other stories from the same author for the same price in the Amazon sale.

A decent little thriller, a good book to carry with you to read on journeys or when you have an idle moment. It's interesting enough to draw you in, but not such a page turner that you end up staying up late to finish it.

I like the Western setting but for me there were just a few too many characters, a few too many viewpoints. What really drew me to the book initially was the story of two children - Annie and Willie - and their perspective on seeing a murder committed and having to flee for their lives. However as the book progresses we see less and less of the action from their viewpoint and their mother Monica hardly gets a look in at all. Since the whole plot revolves around us caring what happens to them, and the horror that a group of grown men would hunt down innocent children I felt the story lost some impetus as we see the action mostly from a bunch of other characters - the rancher who takes them in, the bank manager who has a secret of his own, the retired detective chasing a hunch on his own time etc etc. (Frankly I wasn't sure we needed the character of Villatora the detective in the novel at all - he was a good character but I felt he deserved a novel of his own).

The ending disappoints- the action part of the novel just ends suddenly leaving us with a sentimental finale which didn't really work for me. However over all there's something about this author which gets under my skin and I will definitely try his other books while they are in the sale.
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on 12 February 2011
I have given this novel three stars as I enjoyed three fifths of it. It started so well, this multi-stranded story, whose threads weave together a quarter of the way through. The picture of a small rural town in idyllic countryside is skilfully constructed and characters are developed effectively, bringing to mind the wonderful author, Mary Lawson (The other side of the Bridge, and Crow Lake). The plot races from the start and the book is difficult to put down.

Sadly, just as the tale builds towards the climax, the hero, Jess starts behaving in an inexplicably unintelligent way. Knowing the bad guys are bound to come back, why would he leave the children alone in the house - having given 12 year old Annie a loaded gun and brief theoretical lesson on how to use it - against armed murderers? Why would Jess, a single man in his sixties, think he could go to his local supermarket and fill his trolley with Kids food and think no one would notice? Why didn't he just take the kids to the TV News stand that was pitched in the centre of town and let the kids tell their story on TV? Why did the good guys choose to "hole -up" at his ranch knowing that the murderers were on their way, when they could have just driven away? Yes, the possibility of a road block was considered but, bizarrely, dismissed as the more dangerous option.

I feel CJ Box has great potential as an author, but I think the publisher ought to have sent him away and told him to reconsider his conclusion. Having loved the story so much to start with, I felt cheated by the weak ending.
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on 30 December 2010
This is the first book I have read on my kindle and a book I'd certainly recommend. It is fast paced and doesn't get stuck im a rut throughout, with most of the characters creating a high level of intrigue.
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on 27 January 2011
This book is worth reading. A tense tale set against a backdrop of incomers to an old fashioned way of life, old -v- modern and atmospheric descriptions of the Idaho landscape. The characters are well developed, the plot has a couple of twists and you feel a steady build up of tension as the book progresses. Would def buy more by this author. Almost gave this book my first 5 star! Praise indeed
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on 21 May 2010
I'm off on a road trip to the American Northwest this autumn, and came across this book - set in Idaho and Washington - when doing my research. I had not heard of C. J. Box before.
The book involves a simple suspense story - two children on the run from a bunch of bad retired LA cops, with no-one on their side but a few local has-beens. But the author provides a rich social and geographical backdrop which offers up the stories of the main protagonists' lives as a complex complement to the rip-roaring chase narrative.
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on 30 August 2011
I'm giving this 5* because the description of the setting was so good, I felt I was there in the clear air of Idaho while reading this.

I imagined Harrison Ford as Jess Rawlins, the character seemed to fit the actor. The relationship between him and the children was built brilliantly over the course of the book. Characters were well drawn although the police officers and bad guys were stereotypical in places.

Great story, great characters and a wonderful setting. This was my first CJ Box novel and it won't be the last. Great stuff.
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on 2 February 2016
For a long time and for as many books as I read, none have had the effect that this book has had. Absolutely gripping story and I just could not put it down, day or night. C.J. Box has definitely become my new favourite author and I applaud her storytelling, utterly compelling, thank you x
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on 19 May 2015
Although a little predictable in parts, this was still a good read with a decent plot. It had some feisty and likeable characters. Some bits were a little hard to believe, like some of the sheriffs decisions and the whole scenario with Monica and Swann. Despite all of this, I still really enjoyed the novel and would recommend.
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