Cellphone coverage has made writers more creative when it comes to keeping technology beyond the reach of potential victims.

Detective Cody Hoyt thinks someone is leaving a trail of burned bodies across the country and the killer is now heading into the most remote area of Yellowstone National Park. Hoyt has been suspended for accidentally shooting the county coroner while battling his drink demons, so he’s operating without a badge. The trouble is, the killer has joined an organised two-week horseback trek, and Hoyt’s beloved son is also on the trip, far from any electronic contact. What’s more, they’re about to head off the approved path, into a wilderness few have seen.

With a concept high enough to risk a long fall into cliché, Back of Beyond stays miraculously aloft thanks to plenty of perceptive touches and well-rounded characters. Box understands that a backwoods novel doesn’t have to be dumb and his smooth, muscular writing keeps the tension rising.

Back Of Beyond, by C.J. Box, Corvus, RRP£7.99, 384 pages

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