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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 August 2011
Cody Hoyt is a troubled cop, at the edge of control, with the threats of alcohol abuse and violence only ever a step away.

When he receives word that his friend and AA mentor has been burnt alive in a fire Hoyt goes to the scene. First impressions are of an accident, but Cody Hoyt realises that not everything is how it seems, and sets to work investigating his friends murder.

A recovered computer hard-drive from the scene leads Cody on the trail of the murderer and to a backcountry outfitter and a trip into Yellowstone National Park. Can Cody stop the killer before he strikes again, and perhaps his next victim is Cody's son who is on the same backcountry trip with his stepdad.

C. J. Box starts this one out at what seems like a perceptively slow pace, but the initial investigation rapidly leads to a rattling pace that sees the story expand and lay out a great narrative, in one of the most stunning locations on the planet. Box doesn't stint on using the backdrop as a part of the tale, using wolves, bears and hot springs as part of the story.

The tale can be tricky to follow if you're not paying attention, and if you're planning to work out the who, what, why before the end you'll need to be playing close attention.

C. J. Box is probably best known for his Joe Pickett series, but this stand alone (although Hoyt has appeared before), is just as good as any of the Pickett series, and well worth a read this summer.
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on 27 September 2011
The slow understated start to this book very effectively sets the scene for the rest of the book, establishing the main character Cody Hoyt and his relationship with colleagues and family. Detective Cody investigates the circumstances of a body found in a burnt cabin. As his investigation develops the pace quickens, and tension mounts as the story splits into two strands, the continued investigation by Cody, and the assorted group of people including his son travelling on horseback into the lesser travelled parts of Yellowstone park. The characters in the group are interesting and well developed and there is little clue as to what they have gotten into. All in all this makes a fantastic read with exciting conclusion as the strands converge in the depths of Yellowstone. My only criticisms would be on the plausability of some aspects of the plot, and as another reviewer points out the exposure of the final villain - which does not actually seem to actually expose him! But still a really enjoyable read.
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on 21 September 2011
Well, I found this book extremely exciting and interesting.
More to the point, I don't often feel that a 370 page thriller is too short! I had to stop several times to do something else to string out my enjoyment of the deftly handled plots.
After the final shoot-out, I did feel that the loose strands of the story were dealt with in rather a hurry - there's quite a comical moment when the hero asks if those listening have heard enough, when actually really the only person speaking is himself! Maybe the author was being hassled to deliver the manuscript?
No matter. This is a very enjoyable page-turner. I think one secret of its success may be that CJB creates a number of attractive likeable characters (whatever their incidental faults) with the result that you do care. I haven't read any of his other books yet, but in that regard he reminds me of the great Michael Connelly.
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2011
This is my fourth C J Box story and for me he has become an automatic buy. I still have several Joe Picket stories to read and I am confident that they will be to the same high standard as the authors other work.
Back of beyond is a fast paced refreshingly different thriller with a flawed hero (aren't we all?).
What I like about the author is that his stories are a bit different from the usual in that he takes the murder and mayhem out of the big cities like Boston or L.A. and lets it loose in the wide open spaces, forests and mountains of Montana.
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on 25 August 2011
C.J.Box is a good writer and his publisher has been pushing him considerably in the last year. However, whether he is pushing a stockpile of the books I do not know but if he is pressuring Box to write, it shows. I think that the writing is still good but by the time we hit Yellowstone Park the author is starting to lose his way and by the end there is an element of "who cares". Personally I think Joe Pickett is a better character, with Cody Hoyt you have to wonder how anyone could possibly take him seriously as a cop. C.J. needs to get back on form as I think he was trying too hard.
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on 16 December 2015
Great read. Well-written. Well put together. Easy to get into and go with the flow of the writer's style from the first few pages. Couldn't put it down. Characters well written, some very interesting, eg Jed the head of wilderness adventures, and his thought processes dealing with the group. Clearly research into police work and the outdoors went into this. I love outdoors books like the Nicolas Evans books (Horse Whisperer, Smoke jumpers, The Loop), so this was just up my street being set in Yellowstone. Very readable style - doesnt get bogged down in detail, but provides enough to be of interest, or move the scenes and story along. Has you guessing along the way. Really enjoyed it.
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on 2 August 2012
I've only recently started reading the C J Box series and Back of Beyond is the second one I've read featuring Cody Hoyt. It was set in Yellowstone Park where a group of people had just set off on a trek into the wilderness. But there is a killer among them and when Cody Hoyt realises his 17 year old son is on this trip it is a race against time for him to get there before his son is added to the body count piling up as he tracks them down. I almost felt I was there, so descriptive was the writing. It was definitely a "can't put down" book and I'm impatiently awaiting the next C J Box book. I've read all the Joe Pickett series, also set in Wyoming, and having arrived at them late, was able to read them in order one after the other. If you've not yet encountered C J Box, then give yourself a treat, but start from the beginning. I believe there is a new Joe Pickett book in the pipeline and also a new Cody Hoyt book sometime next year. I will buy both as soon as they are available.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 March 2014
'Back of Beyond' is C.J.Box's standalone crime thriller, as in not being based on his Joe Pickett character. The environment - the Yellowstone National Park and surroundings - remains an important part of the book, as does the author's description thereoff.

The book takes Cody Hoyt, an alcoholic, out of control policeman on the edge of being suspended and puts him into a situation - a murder of a good friend - that is likely to suffice in pushing him over the edge. Hoyt is not the very likeable type of protagonist and while rough around the edges (good), the author would have done better to define him in a more elaborate way - as it is, he could be claimed to be somewhat of a stereotype.

Even so, the book goes along at a good pace and there is a sufficient number of developments and complications to keep you engaged throughout. The search for the murderer takes the our protagonist to the Yellowstone Park proper, where the nature takes a prominent part in the proceedings, and the narration.

Apart from the less than complete main character one could also criticize the rather abrupt ending. While I do not at all mind books ending in the middle of events, here it looks somewhat rushed, as if the time to finish ran out for the author (as some other reviewers have pointed out).

For fans of crime fiction the book delivers well enough in my opinion, even if - according to those more familiar with his work - this cannot be said to be the pinnacle of his achievements. The action is well paced, the environment it is set into stunning, and there is enough of a mystery preserved to keep you guessing about the likely perpetrator a long time into the book. Certainly good enough for me to try some of the author's other work, like his Pickett series (Open Season (Joe Pickett 1)).
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on 22 October 2013
I have all of the Joe Pickett books and pre ordered the 14th. So, after reading Joe Pickett, decided to give this one a go. Sorry, CJ, not a patch on Joe!
Cody Hoyt is a bad tempered, alcoholic cop who I felt like hitting within pages of meetimng him.
The story revolves around a back to wilderness tour of the wilds of Yellowstone. The premise is good, and the people on the tour are very different, ranging from a group of Wall St bankers to a single woman.
But, the story dithers around, slows, comes back to life and finally centres on why the tour is happening in the first place.
Killings abound, and when Cody finds out his son is on the tour with his mums prospective husband, things take a personal turn.
Not a bad read, but rambled too much for me.
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on 17 October 2015
Really enjoyed this book. Excellent plot and well written. It kept me well and truly hooked from the first page. I didn't have a clue who the murderer was until towards the end of the book

Loved it!!!!
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