Treasure State

Montana becomes ground zero in the search for riches in the superbly satisfying Treasure State, C.J. Box's sixth intriguing mystery about private investigator Cassie Dewell. Two cases vex Cassie: a con man hides in plain sight, and an anonymous benefactor claims to have buried treasure somewhere in the state and dares the public to find it.

Wealthy Florida widow Candyce Fly hires Cassie to find a charming con man who bilked her out of millions of dollars and then vanished. Candyce had previously hired another investigator who had tracked the swindler to Anaconda, an old Montana mining town, before vanishing. To find the con man who swindled three additional women, Cassie puts on hold the investigation into who is responsible for a hidden "chest with gold." This has attracted national attention after someone teases the treasure's location in a poem posted in a bar: "My fortune is your puzzle."

Box's carefully layered plotting and expert storytelling shine in Treasure State. He mines conspiracies and supposedly good deeds that cover up the evil that motivates characters. Treasure State marks a most welcome return of the fearless Cassie, who, before this, appeared in The Bitterroots and whose adventures have been adapted to television's Big Sky. The refreshing appearance of characters from previous novels in the series adds depth to Treasure State. Box (Vicious Circle; Off the Grid) adds bits of humor as Cassie deals with her mother, who never met a secret she could keep. Box skillfully weaves the contemporary view of Montana's growth with a look at its mining history, which earned the state its second nickname, "The Treasure State." --Oline H. Cogdill, freelance reviewer

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