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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

C.J. Box Talks About His Latest Joe Pickett Novel, Endangered

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C.J. is a good friend of the program, and for a treat, Hugh spent time on the show talking about Endangered, and continued the conversation on the Aftershow, which is normally heard exclusively by subscribers of the Hughniverse. But C.J. to be shared with the public, certainly more than Hillary Clinton’s emails. You should definitely pick up the book, but here also is the audio and transcript of Hugh’s extended conversation with C.J. Box.

The Book:

The Audio:

03-06hhs-box

The Transcript:

HH: That’s Garth Brooks. Garth Brooks appears in C.J. Box’ brand new book, Endangered. It’s going to be another number one New York Times bestseller. Everyone out there is a big Joe Pickett fan. Joe is back, and so is C.J. Box. C.J., how are you?

CJB: I’m doing great. I’m sorry about your voice, Hugh.

HH: Well, I’m doing better than the birds in Lek 64. And so I want to start with a headline. Last week, the Washington Post, you always manage to do this, C.J. You always manage to write a book that’s right out of the headlines. Last week in the Washington Post was a story that maybe the sage grouse isn’t endangered anyway. Tell people about that debate that finds its way into the brand new book, Endangered.

CJB: Right, sage grouse are like a chicken-sized bird, wild bird that’s in primarily the Mountain West and the Plains. And half of all the sage grouse in the world are located in Wyoming. And they live in what are called leks, which are just kind of concentric circles of birds. And it’s usually out in the flatlands, in the sage brush, and the old ones are at the outside, so if predators come, they get it first. And then once a year when they’re mating, they do like a strutting dance that people actually go out and try to see it, because it’s pretty spectacular. And sage grouse have always been all over the place in Wyoming, and although there are some questions about the science, it appeared that the population was starting to drop. And of course, the drop in that population was blamed on energy development. Whether or not, you know, that’s definitive is up to different views. But the fact is that the number seemed to be going down to the point where there’s a legitimate threat that the EPA may declare them endangered. And if they did that in states like Wyoming where energy is basically the driver of the economy, it would affect tens of thousands of acres.

HH: And actually, I think all the way down the Rockies. It would be devastating in Denver. I had a lot of people listening on 710, KNUS and the Springs, and I think all the way even down into Texas at some point. But the sage grouse is primarily up there. You write that, or Joe thinks to himself that sage grouse did not exhibit the brightest of bird behavior?

CJB: It’s true. In fact, growing up, people called them fool hens, because they aren’t the brightest birds in the world. They’re known for flying right into the side of a truck that’s going down the highway, that kind of thing. So you know, people like the birds, but they aren’t probably as well respected as other game birds. Nevertheless, it’s a huge issue.

HH: Have you tasted sage grouse, C.J?

CJB: Yeah.

HH: Are you a sage grouse expert when it comes to eating them?

CJB: Comes to what?

HH: Have you eaten them?

CJB: Oh, yes I have. I’ve hunted them and I’ve eaten them. It’s been quite a few years, but actually, they’re actually pretty good. They’re like any kind of grouse, just bigger. And yeah, they’re pretty good when they’re roasted.

HH: There are not a lot of grouse eaters out there, I think. But now I also have to say about the book, Endangered, it’s linked over at Hughhewitt.com, and people love Joe Pickett, and it’ll sell and sell and sell, but Judge Hewitt is back, as is the public defender, Duane Patterson. And I’ll tell you, he’s the worst public defender ever.

CJB: (laughing) Well, I think he would point out to you, the real Duane, that yeah, his track record isn’t all that good with this particular trial. But yeah, it was fun to reintroduce both. And Judge Pickett runs a mean courtroom.

DP: He hasn’t lost, yet.

HH: Duane is saying he hasn’t lost, yet. But he does run, it’s a great courtroom scene. People have to read the book. But what I also like about this is that you’ve got a bad cowboy. Now I watched every episode of Friday Night Lights with the Fetching Mrs. Hewitt, C.J. Box, and there was a bad cowboy in there who run off with the good girl. And you’ve got a bad cowboy here. Aren’t cowboys going to be upset with you that you’re giving their rodeo a bad reputation with the buckle bunnies and all that stuff?

CJB: We’re assuming that they’ll read the book, Hugh, which I’m not so sure about. But I don’t think so, because I think the portrayal of the cowboys, with the exception of Dallas Cates, the bad one, is really pretty fair and pretty good. I deal with cowboys quite a bit. I’m involved with Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo every summer and have met hundreds of cowboys. And in general, you know, you couldn’t find a more sincere kind of God-fearing bunch. They’re generally really good people. There have been a few exceptions, very few, and I kind of pattern the character of Dallas Cates after a couple of the bad ones that I’ve heard about years ago.

HH: I’m curious when you got out on the circuit…

CJB: But no, in general, they’d give the shirt off their back to just about anybody.

HH: For people who don’t know, the rodeo circuit is kind of like NASCAR with hooves. It goes everywhere with the big trailers, and they are, it’s a big money sport now, isn’t it, C.J?

CJB: Well, it’s not to the level of NASCAR, but in terms of kind of a subculture, the people who follow rodeo, the places where rodeos happen, it always surprised people when they come out and see how seriously people take it, and how they follow rodeo riders just like people follow individual NASCAR drivers and so on. It’s a big deal. In fact, there’s a reference in the book to fantasy rodeo, and that does in fact exist.

HH: Oh, it does? That’s on my question list. There really is fantasy rodeo?

CJB: Yeah, there really is. There’s several little circuits of them. I don’t participate. I don’t know the cowboys well enough to do that, but it does exist.

HH: Now when you get this out there, will you be hearing from your cowboy friends? Are you expecting to have a little exchange with them about the various details? There have got to be, as we already alluded to, you sneak names in as winks at some of your friends. Any of the cowboys carrying any particular names here?

CJB: Well, a couple of the fictional cowboys with exception of Dallas Cates are named after real rodeo cowboys.

HH: Oh, wow.

CJB: I never used their first and last name. I used one first name, and one last name. But you can’t beat the names. I usually refer to the professional rodeo cowboys association media handbook when I’m looking for names. And they just, they can’t be beat.

HH: I’ll be right back, America. Don’t go anywhere.

— – – –

HH: Chris LeDoux is the music here, another one of the musical innovations by C.J. Box. There’s a lot of music in every Box book, including his latest one, Endangered. Endangered is going to be a New York Times bestseller. It was a wonderful read. It took me one day. I read it on the way back from Meet the Press on Sunday before I got back to Stanford. It was really terrific, C.J. Your craft just keeps getting better and better, and I’ll talk a little bit about that on the special podcast that we’re going to do and post over at Hughhewitt.com. But here, I want to ask you about a very sensitive deal. The family that we’re dealing with here, some very bad folks in what most Americans would call the underclass. Dad and son number one operate a shady business. Son number two is in jail. Son number three is in the rodeo and is a pain in the neck. Bull, Timber and Dallas Cates, do you think, and mom is a nightmare, and everyone’s a nightmare. And do you think that dealing with what some people would call white trash is a controversial thing?

CJB: I don’t know if it’s controversial or not. I kind of based that on a particular family that I learned about in North Central Wyoming, where everybody was a bad actor. They didn’t even get along with each other, and it kind of intrigued me, because they lived, they owned some land, they lived outside of town, and everybody in this little town was always aware of where these people were, because something bad would always happen. You know, they exist. So I think I ramped up the portrayal of them, and maybe mad them worse than most.

HH: But you know what was interesting?

CJB: But I always find, Hugh, with so many of these kind of things, you know, no matter what I can make up, there’s always going to be some kind of thing that happens in real life that’s worse. And there’s families that much worse than that.

HH: And what I liked about this is the Cates family are not unsympathetic. That’s what it’s hard to do is to write villains for whom there is a touch of sympathy. And there is some sympathy here. And it’s because of that chip on the shoulder, and the almost plaintive request for respect extended to what would be Wyoming’s elite. And you know, that’s very finely tuned. And did you have to work hard to get that pitch?

CJB: Well, I always try to keep in mind, especially when I’m writing a bad guy, that you know, it can’t be just pure black, total shades of black. There’s got to be some motivation, got to be some reasons for why they act the way they do. And whether it’s their past or their motivation in this case, it’s the matriarch, the mom who kind of drives this entire family in their very dysfunctional family, and who runs it kind of with an iron fist, but in sort of a gentle way. So once I kind of had that figured out, and where this came from, then it all just sort of flowed.

HH: Oh, it’s really, she’s an amazing character, and I will talk in the Aftershow, which we’ll post over at Hughhewitt.com, about where she came from. C.J. Box’ brand new book, Endangered, it is bookstores everywhere. I’ve got Endangered linked at Hughhewitt.com. But I think if you go to www.cjbox.net, you can start with the first Joe Pickett novel and read them all, because you’ll love them. I sent every single one of them to a friend of mine in the clergy, because he reads a lot, and I just said you’re going to love every C.J. Box book.

— – – – –

HH: Welcome back, America, it’s the Aftershow with Hugh Hewitt and author C.J. Box. This is the first time I’ve ever tried this, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to do it with C.J. But you folks know C.J. Box and I go back a number of years when he tricked me into reading one of his novels, a Joe Pickett story about Yellowstone. Now I’m hopelessly addicted. And C.J., you heard me bringing it up to, who did I bring it up to the other day if they read C.J. Box, and you liked that, you tweeted that out?

CJB: Oh, it was, you asked Donald Trump.

HH: That’s it He hadn’t read C.J. Box.

CJB: It made me laugh out loud. I think I was cooking dinner, and I about dropped the pan when you…

HH: Well, I think you need to send the Donald all the Joe Pickett books.

CJB: As if he would read them, yeah.

HH: Well, he did kind of indicate that he didn’t read a lot. Now I’ve got a lot of questions about Endangered which are inside baseball. And I don’t want to give spoilers away, but I know people are going to come listen to this interview at great length. And Duane’s going to type it up and put the transcript, so if there are spoiler alerts, let’s give them. But let me begin by saying after The Highway, your standalone novel of serial killers, maybe, what, when did that come out?

CJB: That came out July two years ago.

HH: Okay, July two years ago. I’ve never looked at a semi-truck the same way.

CJB: I’m glad.

HH: And now the bad guy in C.J. Box, there are a lot of bad guys in C.J. Box’ brand new book, Endangered, is another highway stalker. So I’m beginning to think I’m never going to drive in Wyoming again, C.J. Box.

CJB: (laughing) Well, yeah, that’s true. And you know, I never even thought about that, that connection, but yeah, that particular character is sort of known for just driving very slowly along the back roads of, you know, in Twelve Sleep County, Wyoming, and just kind of being a nut, one of those guys with lots of bumper stickers all over his car and strange political beliefs all over the map, and just kind of the local weirdo.

HH: And you also, he’s a survivalist. And you have a few pages in here about the nature of survivalists. Do you know any survivalists, actually friendly with them?

CJB: I’m not right now, but I used to. Way back when I was a newspaper reporter, I remember I did a little feature on a couple of guys who lived up in the Sierra Madre mountains, and they were actually retired law enforcement. And they were survivalists before survivalists were cool. And they were very well armed. It was the first time I’d ever seen a fragmentation grenade.

HH: Wow.

CJB: And they were pretty sure that the country was going to go under at any minute, and they were ready for it.

HH: Now there’s one episode in Endangered where the survivalist encounters law enforcement and demands to see the sheriff. Luckily, the sheriff is there, but you point out that for some reason, survivalists trust only sheriffs. Have you ever noodled that through? Why is that, C.J. Box?

CJB: It has to do, and I remember that the sovereigns, the people in Montana, if you remember them…

HH: Oh, yeah.

CJB: …you know, started their own movement. Their belief, and it’s based on some kind of, it’s based on some kind of old law or even maybe something in the early, early papers that the only true law enforcement officer is the local sheriff. Beyond that, no one needs to be recognized.

HH: Wow, that was fascinating to me, because that is, I don’t know where that grew up. I don’t know how that developed. Maybe it’s English common law and the sheriff of the Middle Ages would be in control.

CJB: You’re probably right.

HH: Yeah, now the other thing that’s interesting, a little social commentary, there’s a lot in Endangered. You’re actually adding in more elements in this book than you have before. There’s a little commentary on the MRAPs being given to the police departments, right? And this is a common, after the Ferguson first day, remember, when the MRAPs showed up? Were you writing this about that time?

CJB: Oh, absolutely I remember. Yeah, well, it was very, very strange about that, was that I had already written that scene when that happened.

HH: Oh, you had?

CJB: And I first heard about it, of all places, in a little town that some of my relatives of my wife lived in called Washington, Iowa, that I believe has 8,000 residents, and they had an MRAP…

HH: Yeah.

CJB: You know, for what reason, I have no idea. But I find it just, I know now it’s kind of an issue, but prior to that, it was just one of those things you’d sort of hear about and wonder about.

HH: Yeah, if you’ve got one, you want to use one. And law enforcement’s pretty good in Endangered now that Twelve Sleep County has gotten through its bad sheriffs. They’ve got good law enforcement. But the police chief in Saddlestring is kind of a knucklehead, huh?

CJB: Yeah, yeah, he likes to jump in that MRAP. He wants to do something with it.

HH: And I’ve got to assure everyone Nate is back, but Nate doesn’t have his .50 caliber five shot Freedom Arms 500 Wyoming Express with him. Now what is Judge…

CJB: That’s right. Yeah, he has made a deal with the feds, and part of the deal is that he won’t go armed. And he’s basically going out there. They’re sending him out to be a target. And he agrees to do that, because he wants to get out of federal prison.

HH: Now I’m not sure the Bureau, I’ve known a lot of FBI guys over the years, back to when I was at the Department of Justice. I’m not sure they’re going to like the portrayal of them by Stan Dudley.

CJB: No, I’m sure they won’t, but you know, like any agency, there’s good ones and there’s bad ones. And yeah, this Dudley is, know, one of my kind of patented bad, horrible federal bureaucrats – power hungry and mean, and doesn’t like Nate, and knows he’s sending him off as a target.

HH: You also bring up, you know, I’m an endangered species lawyer, Chuck Box, so I’ve been doing this forever.

CJB: Oh, I know, yeah.

HH: I follow, I follow the cases where evidence is planted. In fact, I litigated a case about the arroyo toad that almost kept Chief Justice Roberts off of the bench, because he talked about the poor arroyo toad. I believe to this day that arroyo toad was planted on my client’s property, absolutely, 1,000%, not by a government official, but by an environmentalist. I believe they went and picked up an endangered species and put it on my client’s property. But you point to the fact that that kind of behavior is actually not unknown in the annuls of endangered species conflicts.

CJB: Right, and in particular, and I’m trying to remember the proper name, but it was a lynx.

HH: It was a lynx.

CJB: …in the Pacific northwest, big controversy on whether there would be any development or logging in a huge forest tract because it was thought that this, a lynx, I think it was a Canadian lynx, lived there, which is an endangered species. And a few of the biologists were studying this, came up with a little rubbing on a tree, and some fur that they found and ran a DNA analysis to prove that it was in fact a lynx, and that the lynx were there. And then it turned out that one or both of the biologists took the fur from a dead lynx that they had in their laboratory and planted it on the property. And you know, they were true believers.

HH: And that’s such a telling…

CJB: They wanted that to happen. And somebody blew the whistle on them.

HH: That is such a telling glimpse of the mentality of the end of the bell curve of the federal bureaucracy, and I’m with you. There are some great federal employees. Most of them are in the middle like any bell curve, and then there are a couple of terrible ones that drive a lot of the misfortune of the federal bureaucracy in the minds of the public, and you do a find job in Endangered bringing that out. Now let’s talk a little bit about Judge Hewitt, because I’m getting a little upset.

DP: Small, dark and twitchy Judge Hewitt.

HH: Small, dark and twitchy Judge Hewitt has a problem with his temper. I’ve never, ever evidenced any problem with my temper, and you do attribute to him the kind of fly fishing skill I possess. But nevertheless, he’s got a quick temper there, C.J.

CJB: Right, and he’s well-armed, and he’s not scared to pull his piece and tell everybody to calm down.

DP: He’s clearly a much better shot.

CJB: I ran that courtroom procedure through a local judge to make sure, you know, I’m always worried about that I’ve got the phraseology wrong, or whatever, and he went through it and he said yeah, it all works. That last part where the judge stands up and pulls his gun is kind of wild, but he said I wish I could have done that a couple of times.

HH: I’ll light you up right there, he says.

CJB: Yeah.

HH: It’s a great line, by the way. I’ll light you up right there, and he’s got a Sig Sauer. Now why a Sig Sauer for Judge Hewitt?

CJB: Oh, just because it’s a fine quality handgun. You know, people who are aficionados generally tend to like Sig Sauers more than Glocks.

HH: Okay, now I want to go to your description. You know, I’m going to spend the fall in Colorado with the Fetching Mrs. Hewitt. And you write about…

CJB: Good for you.

HH: I know, I’m finally going to be there. You’ll have to come down to Colorado Christian University and hang out with us and talk to my classes. I’m going to just introduce her to life in the Rockies. You never know what can happen. But you describe the Rockies as having winter, summer, fall, and the fourth season, March through June, which was made up of highlights from the other three. That is beautifully done. Was that original to you, C.J?

CJB: Well, yeah, I think it was. I mean, I’ve often hear of it just referred to as mud season, but no, yeah, I think I made that one up.

HH: That is very, very good, because it, when I was there in the spring a few times, what would pass for the spring, I was in blizzards. And then the next day, you’d have an 80 degree day. And you’re absolutely right. It’s just the wildest, John Andrews at CCU calls it the great weather machine of the Front Range, and that’s what you referred. Does that extend all the way up into Wyoming as well?

CJB: Yeah, it sure does, and that’s one of those, you know, it’s kind of a misconception when I do interviews. They assume that we’re just encased in snow the entire winter, because we do get plenty of snow. But the strange thing is that mercurial properties is we’ll get two feet of snow, and then it’ll be 60 degrees and melt everything away. We don’t just have standing, gray, cold days that go on forever.

HH: Now C.J. Box, you have become big time, I mean, really big time. Are you surprised by how deeply affectionate people are about Joe Pickett?

CJB: Yes, I am. I really am. Yeah, at times, it’s almost kind of strange, sometimes, especially my readers tend to be about 50/50 men and women. And men tend to like the outdoor elements and the action, and the women tend to follow the family. And they ask me about Joe’s family and Joe and Marybeth as if you know, they’ve grown up with them. And that’s, it’s great that people embrace the characters that way, but it’s kind of unnerving at times, because sometimes, I feel like they know the characters than I do.

HH: When I saw you last summer, there was talk of a television show.

CJB: Yes.

HH: Where are we on this?

CJB: There’s actually two projects going on in different stages. One is with Joe Pickett and a group of producers of, and executive producers, Robert Redford being the executive producer, who are, they had placed the series with a network that backed out at the 11th and a half hour, and now they’re searching for a new network or outlet like Netflix, Amazon, all the other ones that are springing up. And then there’s another one with producer David E. Kelley, and he wants to develop a TV show based on the characters in the standalone.

HH: Oh, interesting.

CJB: And I just signed that deal with him a couple of weeks ago.

HH: Well, when I was watching the third season of House of Cards, it occurred to me that Netflix is where you could, you’d have to kind of film this in real time like Boyhood so that the kids could get older, right, that they could grow up with Joe.

CJB: Right, and I love the way TV’s going. I mean, this is like a novelist’s dream that there would be an outlet that would in effect go from book, you know, a single season would be a single book, and then the next season would be the next book. And you could actually be played out, you know, with a lot of nuance and real depth, and because people like to binge watch now, you know, you don’t have to have it wrap up neatly at the end of every episode. And it’s terrific. It’s like the novelization of TV.

HH: Now thus far, I haven’t given away even one detail of the book that I think would be pivotal. I’m about to, so this is a little spoiler alert for people. I learned a lot about induced comas in Endangered. And I’m curious how long it took you. I actually had a law partner who had to be put into an induced coma once, and he’s completely recovered, so it doesn’t frighten me when it does. But how did you learn about that process? And did you run that past doctors who have to do that?

CJB: I did. In fact, the first time I had ever, it had ever kind of came on my radar was when the Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot, and shot in the head. And I remember reading about this induced coma with the hope that the swelling on her brain would go down. And so yeah, I did some research on it, and just like I always do on these sections that I’m not that familiar with after I’ve written it is I find an expert. And I found a surgeon and asked him to review those parts of the book, including the drugs that they used, and how long somebody would be in it, and how they would bring them out, to make sure that that was accurate.

HH: Now I don’t want to tell anyone who’s in the coma. That’s too much of a hand tip here. But I thought you grabbed the reader, anyone who’s a parent, at the beginning by saying Joe gets a call, which is the worst call a parent can get. And I think…

CJB: Right, I mean, as a parent myself, I just can’t imagine anything worse is that call from law enforcement that says something has happened to your child, or they found somebody who they think is your child. And there just can’t be anything worse.

HH: It’s going to be fascinating to see how many people talk to you about that experience as you go around. When does the book tour get underway? Is it starting today?

CJB: No, it starts Tuesday.

HH: And where are you going?

CJB: Tuesday’s the magical day for books that the publishers want on the bestseller list.

HH: Okay, okay. So where are you going this time?

CJB: Oh, I’m all over the place. I’m not going to the West Coast for the first time in a long time. But you know, I think it’s, if I remember, like 21 cities, ending up finally in Yellowstone Park.

HH: Oh, my gosh. Now C.J., my wife asked me why does he keep working this hard when he’s so successful? And that’s a great question for a writer. Why do you do this?

CJB: You know, to be honest, I mean, you’re the hardest working guy I have ever paid attention to. I mean, you’re everywhere, you work every day, you’re flying all over. I just go to work in the morning, just like everybody else. And I don’t take a lot of time off between books, because I start to go stir crazy. So after I get one done, I kind of start working on the next one almost right away. I feel strange if I’m not working. So the pace I’m going at produces about a book and a half a year, which I’m really comfortable with, and you know, I don’t see any reason to slow that down. I don’t know what I’d do.

HH: Does your publisher want you to space them out more?

CJB: Oh, no. The publisher of the Joe Pickett series wants one a year. That’s their model. The publisher that does the standalones would like to have more than they’re getting, which is one every other year.

HH: You know, I was having a conversation with Pat Boone once, and Pat Boone told me that until Elvis came along, he dominated music, and that he held one record still. He actually holds two records – the longest period of time between number one albums, because he did Pat Boone does heavy metal, and that was a gimmick album, but he also held the record for the number of weeks in which two consecutive, or number of consecutive weeks in which the artist had two top 40 hits. And Dot Records would always release a hit, and it would go up the charts, and the week that it fell back one spot, they’d release the next record. So he always had one rising with a bullet, and he had one falling. And I’m just curious, do people figure out how to read Joe Pickett and the standalones in the right order?

CJB: You know, some do and some don’t. I always find it really curious that I’ve met people who have not even started the Joe Pickett series who only have read the standalones, and the other way around. I’ve talked to people who have read the most recent Joe Pickett book and then gone backwards through the series to book one. It’s odd how, you know, how people read these things. The majority read the series from the beginning, but yeah, it’s odd how it works. But the standalones are kind of like a gateway drug into the Joe Pickett series, I think, for a lot of people. They look at a series that’s now 15 books long and are a little bit intimidated to start something like that. But if they read a standalone and they like the style and the place, and maybe the setting, then they’re more curious about the Joe Pickett books and they start with them.

HH: Well you know, I sent the whole set off to the Archbishop, and he hadn’t done them, yet.

CJB: Oh, he didn’t. They finally got it to you. I’m glad.

HH: They did. They did. And people, that’s a great little story for another time. But he said he’s waiting until he has enough time, because when he starts, it’s like binge watching TV, binge reading Joe Pickett. And I wonder if you’ve come across anyone who does that?

CJB: I’ve talked to people who have read the entire series in less than a week.

HH: Wow.

CJB: And you know, it’s terrifying to me when they tell me that, because I think you know, no doubt every error, every continuity problem would be that much more glaring if you read one after the other like that. But there are people that do that. And in fact, I’ve been getting emails lately of people who have read the entire series more than once, and have reread it right up to Endangered so that they’re ready for it.

HH: Now I’m going to let Duane get a question here, but my last one’s going to be about short stories. I greatly loved your short stories. I’ve told everyone about the Indians in Paris as maybe one of the best short stories I’ve ever read.

CJB: Oh, wow, thank you.

HH: Oh, it is that good. And are you done with short stories? Or are you still hammering those out as well?

CJB: No, I haven’t written any since that anthology came out, which was just last July. I am going to again, but you know, like I think I told you, I find short stories almost harder than novels.

HH: Well…

CJB: And there’s got to be reason to write them, which usually means somebody wants a story for a magazine or a book or a collection, and that kind of spurs me on. But just to simply bank a bunch of short stories is not something that I even, I just don’t have time for. But I love to write them.

HH: I’m still thinking about that…

CJB: And I’ve to do, hopefully I’ll be at this long enough that I can do another anthology.

HH: I hope so, too. I tell people about that Paris story all the time, C.J. Box. Okay, I’m wrapping up. I’m going to toss to the public defender who is undefeated and the worst public defender ever, Duane Patterson. C.J. Box’ brand new book, Endangered, is over at Hughhewitt.com. Enjoy the audio of this conversation, and get the books.

DP: Now Joe…

CJB: And thank you, Hugh, and rest your voice.

HH: I will. I will.

CJB: Exactly. Now Chuck, the thing is, I could ask you all sorts of questions. I’m only going to ask you one question, because it’s the most pertinent question that Hugh didn’t ask. And that is when it comes to public defender Duane Patterson, you describe him as wearing a suit that hangs on him like a barbeque cover. Really?

HH: (laughing)

CJB: (laughing) An outdoor barbeque cover, yes.

HH: An outdoor barbeque cover.

DP: You have no idea how far that traveled.

CJB: I mean, that’s descriptive, isn’t it?

HH: Yeah, it’s gone. And I didn’t bring it up, because I didn’t want people to realize that it’s got particular resonance in the reality world.

DP: Yeah, exactly. Thanks a lot, Chuck, I thought you were my friend.

CJB: (laughing) I am. I am.

DP: Yeah.

CJB: Like I told you, I really always look forward to your reviews of each book, and also I love how you’re trying to anticipate what the next one will be and what direction it’ll go.

DP: Okay, and getting to the books, last thing, and we’ll let you go, is the truck. Joe’s truck – do you set out, I mean, does it come to a point where you don’t finish a book until you figure out a way to do something to the truck? I mean, is that in the back of your mind when you are working on this?

CJB: No, it usually comes kind of naturally in the story. I don’t plan that out in advance. I usually, if it flows, if it works, and he hasn’t wrecked a truck in every single book, but in an awful lot of them, and obviously in this one, he’s in a shootout. So you know, the truck got hit.

DP: The truck got hit. Anyway, Chuck, as always, it was a great read. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate being part of the story even in a little bit part, but it’s grand fun. It’s a great read, as always.

CJB: Well, good. Thank you. And the next one, called Badlands, will come out in July, and I think I’m going to head, and I will be on the West Coast in that one, so hopefully we can get that to you in plenty of time and maybe I can come by and see you.

DP: Absolutely. Look forward to it as always. Thanks, Chuck, I appreciate it.

HH: Thank you, Chuck, be well.

CJB: Thank you very much.

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