Cassie Dewell

Created by C.J. Box

When she first showed up, C.J. Box’s CASSIE DEWELL was and only a supporting character in his 2013 novel, The Highway, which won the Edgar for Best Novel. A thirty-something sheriff’s investigator in Lewis and Clark County in Montana, she worried she might have only been promoted because of a series of articles in the Helena Independent Record blasting the department about its lack of diversity.

But from small things, baby, big things someday come, and she was soon the star of what is now referred to as Box’s Highway Quartet, which includes Back of Beyond (2011), the afore-mentioned The Highway, Badlands (2015), and Paradise Valley (2017), the latter two featuring Cassie taking over as the main protagonist from her older partner CODY HOYT.

When the quartet wrapped up, I figured that would be the last we’d see of Cassie, but dang if she didn’t return in The Bitterroots (2019). But this time she’s on her own, no longer with the sheriff’s department, intent on starting over with her own detective agency.

If Box decides to make this into a series, it should be interesting. Cassie’s never quite fit into the macho culture of the “West.” She’s tough enough to survive in it, and she’s certainly cobbled together an impressive track record, but she’s also human, suffering from low self-esteem and professional doubts. It’ll be interesting to see where Box takes her.

Or where television takes her. In November 2020, ABC unleashed Big Sky, a television series developed by David E. Kelley (The Practice, Ally McBeal, The Outsider, etc.), and starring Kylie Bunbury as Cassie and Ryan Phillippe as Cody, based on The Highway.


C. J. BOX is most famous, of course, as the author of the bestselling Joe Pickett series, about a Wyoming game warden. He’s won the Edgar, the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, and the Barry Award. He lives in Wyoming.


  • “Outstanding…Vividly etched characters and a realistic plot lift this outing, and the well-done Montana setting is a plus. Box remains at the top of his game.”
    — Publishers Weekly
  • “Will render readers utterly immobilized until they’ve closed the book…Box has become the dominant mystery/thriller author of the mountain West.”
    — Booklist



  • big_skyBIG SKY
    (2020, ABC)
    10 episodes
    Premiere: November 17, 2020
    Based on The Highway by C.J. Box
    Writers: David E. Kelley, Annakate Chappell
    Directors: Paul McGuigan
    Starring Kylie Bunbury as CASSIE DEWELL
    and Ryan Phillippe as CODY HOYT
    With Brooke Smith as Merrilee Legarski
    Jeffery Joseph as Joseph Dewell
    Gage Marsh as Justin Hoyt
    and Gabriel Jacob-Cross as Kai Dewell
    Also starring Brian Geraghty, Jesse James Keitel, Natalie Alyn Lind, John Carroll Lynch, Valerie Mahaffey, Jade Pettyjohn, Dedee Pfeiffer
    Whatever grit existed in the source novel, it’s been glossed over in this mostly predictable adaptation. The opening seemed more like a commercial for an air freshener.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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