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The Big Empty
In Jonesís intriguing sixth outing for Native Alaskan public safety director Nathan Active (after 2016ís Tundra Kill), the first in the series to be coauthored with Watts (The Frayer), Nathanís bush pilot friend, Cowboy Decker, persuades him to look into the deaths of Evie Kavoonah and her physician fiancť, Todd Brenner. The couple were killed after the Cessna Evie had been piloting smashed into a mountain, a tragedy that federal investigators concluded was due to pilot error. Despite his skepticism, Nathan agrees to travel with Cowboy to the site of the wreckage, where they discover evidence of sabotage. Meanwhile, Nathan and his wife, Grace, are expecting their first child, a development that will complicate their relationship with Graceís teenage daughter, Nita. Nitaís father is Graceís father, who raped her years before her marriage to Nathan.
Jonesís and coauthor Wattsís prose has been called muscular and stark, but it has an inviting, cinematic quality to it as well. A well-constructed mystery recommended for fans of C.J. Box and Craig Johnson.