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C.J. Box’s Cassie Dewell


SilverStormm
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On 11/20/2020 at 5:07 PM, peachmangosteen said:

Are all the characters in the show from the books?

I've read all of the Joe Pickett books but only just started "The Highway".  I'm not very far in but so far, I have come across Cassie, Cody, Tubb, Danielle and Gracie.  There's a trucker called "The Lizard King" that I am assuming is Ronald although he hasn't been referenced by name yet.  A truck stop prostitute is called a "lot lizard" so I am assuming he fashions himself "The Lizard King" because he kills/kidnaps them.

At the start of the book, Cassie and Cody are investigators working in the sheriff's department.  Cassie is indeed black in the book (her dark hair and dark eyes are mentioned and she thinks she was hired for the sheriff's department through some kind of diversity initiative).  Cody has sandy brown hair.  Danielle is as vapid and vain and stupid in the book as she was portrayed in the show.  Gracie is the smart one.  Something like "Gracie got the brains, Danielle got the looks and everything else".

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(edited)
On 11/20/2020 at 5:07 PM, peachmangosteen said:

Are all the characters in the show from the books?

I just finished the book, and the show was somewhat faithful to the book with some changes.  

For some reason, the show changed the names of the antagonists.  In the book they are Trooper Rick Legerski (instead of Legarski) and Ronald Pergram (instead of Pergman).  Don't fully understand why.  Legerski appears to look and act on the show how he was written in the book.  But Ronald on the show was in his late 30s (I think his mom said he was 38?) whereas in the book he is late 40s and very overweight.

I take back what I said earlier, it seems that Box takes great pains to never explicitly mention whether Cassie is black or not.  She is described at one point by Legerski as "medium length brown hair, brown eyes, heavyset".  Never mind that later on at one point, Gracie sees "a pair of blue eyes".  (I assume that was a mistake on the editor's part.)  Her weight is mentioned several times.  It is also mentioned several times that Cassie is a "diversity hire" at the sheriff's office.  I am unclear if it is because she is indeed a racial minority, she is a woman, or if that is some kind of comment on her weight.  Very odd.  Not sure why he couldn't just explain what he meant by that.

Jenny Hoyt is Cody's ex-wife but they are kind of back together.  She is not an investigator at all, she is a wife and mom and has almost no role in the book.

There is a third co-conspirator named Jimmy, he runs the bar that is depicted in the show, but it's an active bar and not abandoned.

Ronald's mother is in the book, and she nags him like she does on the show, but she is not in the book much.  The priest and the paperboy are not in the book.

Merrilee is a creation of the show.  She is Legarski's second (or third?) wife on the show.  But does not exist in the book.  On the show, the sister of Cassie's receptionist (forget her name) is Legarski's ex-wife but is never seen.  In the book, Legerski has an ex-wife named Sally that is the sister of the sheriff's dispatcher Edna.   Sally runs the quilt shop.

Jerri is a creation of the show.  The Sullivan sisters encounter another victim in captivity with them, but she is named Krystyle ("it's the second Y that throws people off").

The rest of the differences I will put in spoiler bar just in case anyone wants to read the book:

 

The major difference is that the girls that are being abducted by Legerski and Pergram are not being abducted so they can be sold in Canada.  They are abducted because these two (and Jimmy) are sexual deviants who film themselves raping them and then killing them.  Pergram has a collection of DVDs of himself (and a few of Legerski) and gets off on rewatching them.  Sick.  

Cody still dies.  Apparently there was an earlier book in the series featuring him, it seems the Sullivan sisters were kidnapped or lost in Yellowstone and he saved them.  Will get around to reading this one eventually.  Cody and Cassie do not have an affair in the book.

Cassie is still a single mom, but she lives with her mom and son, not her dad.

Pergram turns on Legerski and anonymously gives Cassie the DVDs of Legerski and tells her where to find the Sullivan sisters.  Then he is in the wind.  At the end of the book he has changed his name and appearance and is in North Dakota.  

Cassie kills Legerski.  He has a weapon but never threatens her.  He is walking up from the basement and she just unloads on him.  Then she lies about him firing first, a statement which is at odds with Gracie saying she heard two shots after a barrage of shots.  This doesn't get resolved so I'm not sure what the point is.  But now I understand why the discussion over whether Legarski drew his gun or not was on the show, because there was a similar situation in the book.

Edited by blackwing
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Thank you blackwing for taking the time to do a comparison report!  I'm a reader of C.J. Box's books including the Highway series.  I didn't recall that Cassie Dewell was black when I began watching Big Sky and figured it was a feature of the show only.  I remember in the book that much was made of Cassie being a woman in a male-dominated field and was the first woman to hold that particular post in that Sheriff's Dept. history.

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15 hours ago, CrystalBlue said:

Thank you blackwing for taking the time to do a comparison report!  I'm a reader of C.J. Box's books including the Highway series.  I didn't recall that Cassie Dewell was black when I began watching Big Sky and figured it was a feature of the show only.  I remember in the book that much was made of Cassie being a woman in a male-dominated field and was the first woman to hold that particular post in that Sheriff's Dept. history.

Yes, so as I contemplate it, perhaps that's all he meant when he said she was a "diversity hire", that she was a woman in the sheriff's department.  I guess I don't know anything about how law enforcement forces are organized, especially out west.  She is referred to several times as "Deputy Dewell" but also calls herself (and Cody) a "cop".  Where I live, we have local city/village police departments.  Then there is also a county sheriff's department.  Cassie and Cody work for the Lewis and Clark County sheriff's department and maybe it has broader jurisdiction than a city/village police department (if these even exist in Montana).

If the book is saying that Cassie is a diversity hire because she is the only woman, then I find it a little odd, and possibly offensive.  If the book is saying that Cassie is a diversity hire because she is black, then I find it a little odd, and possibly offensive.  I don't think there is anything wrong with any kind of diversity initiative if the goal is to actually increase diversity in a workforce, and not just to pay lip service to diversity.  But once the person has actually been hired, why does the book have to constantly keep demeaning her by reminding her that she is a diversity hire?  Not sure why Cassie in the book isn't more offended by this or why she doesn't object to people saying it.

I have a few other things on my reading list, but I want to read the second book to see if the remaining episodes of the show this season are going to track it, or if the show will diverge completely.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just finished "The Badlands", the second Cassie Dewell book.  Pergram hardly features in it at all, so I doubt much of anything from this book will be adapted for the second half of the season.  Cassie has moved to North Dakota, and since the TV show is called "Big Sky", maybe this is where books and show diverge.  (Unless she moves back to Montana for the later two books.)

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  • 3 months later...

For what it's worth, I finished "The Bitterroots", the book the second part of the season is based on.  The character names are the same, the general plot of Blake being set up for raping a girl is the same (although in the book, it's Cheyenne's daughter, not the daughter of a ranch hand), and some small details are similar (like a truck crashing through the motel room).

But apart from that... it's like a completely different book.  Which means the writers took great liberties.  Especially with characterising Cheyenne as a junior version of Yellowstone's Beth Dutton.   The "hear me roar" sequence is not in the books at all, these writers deliberately chose to write that in.  So embarrassing for the actress and the character.

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  • 6 months later...

I believe Cassie is a diversity hire only in the sheriffs mind in the book.  He’s not a nice guy.  Nothing like the TV sheriff.  I believe Cassie is white in the book, but the character would present the same either way. There are a number of changes between the book and the show.  Only one of which bothers me since I saw the show first and then read the book- and that’s the affair between Cassie and  Cody. That was specifically shut down in the book by Cassie. That affair caused me to look at Cassie in a different way 

 
 

 

Edited by mythoughtis
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