March 28, 2018
#1 New York Times bestselling author C.J. Box takes his storytelling to new levels in his 18th Joe Pickett novel, THE DISAPPEARED, published by Putnam on March 27. Branded “one of today’s solid gold, A-list, must-read writers” by fellow Penguin Random House author Lee Child, Mr. Box has a remarkable ability to evolve his core characters – game warden Joe Pickett, his wife Mary Beth, their children, and friend Nate Romanowski – while introducing vexing mysteries, unexpected dilemmas, and multi-dimensional forces of nature.expand
©Michael Smith[/caption] What accounts for your ability to create so many truly scary but believable villains in your books? I think there’s sometimes a tendency in crime fiction to make the bad guys bad in every conceivable way. I try to avoid that by providing a backstory and (most importantly) motivation for why the bad guys do what they do. I think that helps make them both believable and even more scary because the reader can empathize (a bit, at least) with them. There are instances where Joe Pickett even understands why his antagonist is dangerous and feels sorry for them a little. I guess I’m the same way. With THE DISAPPEARED, you introduce several new plot twists and characters that may surprise your readers. Where did the inspiration for these creations come from? Prior to my books taking off, I worked for over twenty years in the international tourism industry on behalf of five Rocky Mountain states. Part of our job was to promote western experiences to Europeans and others. Dude ranch holidays were particularly popular in the United Kingdom and especially among professional women. I found that fascinating - that very urban women wanted to spend a week or two in the modern west. Part of the appeal, we found, was that a significant number of these women wanted to hook up with a young cowboy. And it happened quite often. That phenomenon was the basis for the new book, where a well-known female executive disappears after visiting a very high-end dude ranch. A luxury “dude ranch,” Silver Creek, figures in the plot of this novel. As a native of Wyoming, do you witness any real-life contention between the intrusion of rich outsiders that such properties bring and the longtime locals? The interaction between wealthy dude ranch guests and locals is a source of fascination to me. Some guests try to pretend they’re cowboys and cowgirls, and some locals play up being natives to the point of caricature. I’ve seen romances develop between overseas visitors and young local wranglers, and I know of a few women who chose to stay with their young cowboy rather than go home. It’s an intersection between western myth and modern reality.