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TREASURE STATE by C. J. BOX: Book Review

Cassie Dewell is accustomed to doing a variety of searches in her job as a private investigator.  Insurance fraud, verifying people’s backgrounds, domestic abuse, and computer crimes are her usual bread and butter.  Then two very unusual cases arrive at once.

The first is definitely a one-of-a-kind.  Cassie receives a phone call from a man who refuses to give his name.  He says “I’d like to hire you in the hope that you don’t solve the case.  In fact, I want you to fail.”  He asks if she’s heard of Sir Scott’s Treasure, and of course she has.

Someone, presumably the man who called, had written a poem with clues pointing to a hidden treasure, a chest filled with gold coins.  Hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of people had actually quit their jobs and gone in search of the site “where the rivers marry,” which treasure seekers presumed would be in the western part of the United States.

The unknown caller sends Cassie two thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills when she agrees to try to find him.  Also in the envelope are instructions on how to contact the mystery client using an email name he gives her and a website.  She’s definitely intrigued.

The second case also comes via phone.  A woman identifies herself as Candyce Fly and then sends Cassie a link so they can see each other via Zoom.  The case involves a two-pronged inquiry concerning a con artist and a missing private eye.

Candyce tells Cassie that several months earlier she met a man who called himself Marc Daly, how they began a relationship, and how she gave him, actually pushed upon him, seven million dollars to invest in a product, an electric battery for cars.  He had identified himself as a hedge fund director, but after she wired the money to the Cayman Islands account he gave her he disappeared, and further investigation on her part couldn’t find any mention on the internet of either Marc Daly or his Empire Capitol fund.

Candyce had hired an investigator, J. D. Spengler, to find Daly.  Spengler criss-crossed the country, from Florida, Boston, and New York City among other places, and ended up in Anaconda, Montana.  He sent her a text saying “I’m closing in.  I think I’ll locate him tomorrow,” and that was the last she heard from him.  She’s not too interested in finding the investigator, but she “wants revenge” against Daly.

Cassie is the single mother of a teenage boy, the daughter of a difficult mother, and a female private investigator in a male-dominated field.  Nothing daunts her, however, and she perseveres in every aspect of her life, both personal and professional.

C. J. Box has created a fascinating character in Cassie, a woman who left her job as a sheriff’s investigator to be her own boss and answer to no one.  You can read more about C. J. Box at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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