Friday, October 7, 2011

Back of Beyond Audio Book Review

A little while ago Ashley and I were asked to do a review of the audio book of Back of Beyond. This was the first Audio Book that Ashley and I have listened to together and we decided to do this review because everyone needs a good story (murder mystery) to listen to on the drive to the trailhead that is outdoor related. (We want to caution our readers with kids, due to the nature of the language in this audio book. We would both give it a PG-13 rating on language). The following is a little bit about the book as well as our thoughts on the story line.

The Plot: Back of Beyond is about Investigator Cody Hoyt, who while a good cop, is also a loose cannon. He is an alcoholic struggling with two months of sobriety and Cody almost loses it when his mentor and AA sponsor, Hank Winters, is found burned to death in a remote mountain cabin in Montana. At first, the fire seems like the suicide of a man who’s fallen off the wagon, but Cody knows Hank would never break his vow of sobriety. Upon closer look at the scene of his friend’s death, Cody detects evidence of foul play.

When clues found at the scene link the homicide to an outfitter leading tourists on a multi-day wilderness trip into the remote corners of Yellowstone National Park, a pack trip that includes his son Justin, Cody is desperate to get on their trail and stop the killer before the group heads into the wild. Suspended from his department because of a history of reckless behavior, Cody can rely only on his loyal partner, Larry, and his own police instinct to track down the murderer who’s slowly killing off members of the group, one by one.

In a fatal cat and mouse game, where it becomes apparent the murderer is somehow aware of Cody’s every move, Cody treks into the wilderness to stop a killer hell bent on ruining the only thing in his life he cares about. This audiobook is narrated by 2008 Audiofile Earphones Award winner Holter Graham. As a bonus, the audiobook includes an interview with the author where C.J. Box discusses the importance of the Western setting of Back of Beyond, explaining, “The landscape and the culture and the environment are as much a part of it as any other aspect of the story.”

Our Review: When listening to the audio book, you cannot help but notice the author's love and respect for the wilderness. His descriptions of Yellowstone and its geologic formations are breathtaking. We get to see Wyoming and Montana from the eyes of a writer who loves the spaces of the great outdoors. The characters are well developed and you get to know and like most of them. The authors descriptions make it seem like you are on the trail with the rest of the tour in Yellowstone. Also, it's not always that easy to guess who the bad people are, which is always a plus.

The only negative we found was that either the plot started a little slow or it took us a while to get used to listening to the audio book due to the start and stop nature of getting in and out of the car. Ashley and I, tend to agree that it was the latter in that we were getting accustomed to listening to an audio book. We will leave it up to you on whether you are the type of person who likes audio books or regular books. Back of Beyond is available in both versions. The audio book is about 11 hours long and is 1.22 gigabytes. Over all we though the audio book was good, the descriptions the author used were great, and the book really begins to move once you are at about chapter 5. Overall, if you like murder mysteries and audio books, this is a good one to buy. It is great entertainment for the trip out to the trailhead.

About the Author: C.J. BOX is the bestselling author of Three Weeks to Say Goodbye and ten novels including the award-winning Joe Pickettseries. Box won the Edgar® Award for Best Novel in 2009 for his novel Blue Heaven, and he has also won the Anthony Award, the Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, and the Barry Award. His first novel, Open Season, was a New York Times Notable Book and an Edgar® Award and L.A. Times Book Prize finalist. His novels have been translated into 25 languages. Box lives in Wyoming.

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