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Breaking Point: A Joe Pickett Novel (Joe Pickett Novels) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Breaking PointJoe Pickett, the Colorado game warden, always gets involved in situations that are not necessarily related to game warden work. And Breaking Point is one of those situations. In this instance a local man from the Saddlestring area where Joe lives has a nasty run-in with some EPA officials who basically come to run him off his property. The man, Butch Roberson, is defiant because (a) he was given no warning and (b) there does not appear to be a real reason for this to happen. One thing leads to another. The two EPA guys are shot and Butch is on the run up into the mountains.

The EPA brings in all sorts of governmental personnel to hunt him down and Joe happens to get called into the situation because of his game warden status. Joe immediately has problems with the two top EPA officials, especially the top one, who appear to be extremely arrogant and have no consideration at all for what Joe considers to be common citizens. Joe will work that part out later.

They basically take charge and begin an intensive manhunt for Butch that involves working all through the mountains. They also set up rewards that inspire three other individuals, locals known to Joe, to get involved in the hunt. These three folks basically have no hand in the game except that the leader of the trio is intent on getting the reward and also since he used to be the sheriff he wants to reinstate himself at the decimation of the present sheriff. Read the rest of this entry »

The Disappeared (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The DisappearedAs usual Joe Pickett, Wyoming’s favorite Game Warden, gets picked to move out of his normal bailiwick and has to work on a problem for the governor. But this new governor is not a fan of Joe nor is the governor’s right hand. Mainly because Joe is always solving problems but he is always causing other ones as he works. Usually he is not only tearing up state furnished equipment like trucks, etc. but he also tends to even run up against the legal system by doing things HIS way as opposed to by the book!

However because of the seriousness of the newest problem and because they have no one as good at solving problems the governor gives Joe an assignment that no one could solve. It seems that a very well-known British businesswoman has turned up missing instead of returning to England after her stay at a very exclusive guest ranch in Wyoming. And wouldn’t you know, Sheridan Pickett, Joe’s oldest daughter is working at the ranch as a wrangler after just finishing college. Joe is somewhat astounded by this since Sheridan was never the horse lover that her mother and sisters were. But it seems Box needed a “friend” in the right place for Pickett as the story evolves.

As Pickett arrives at his new working grounds which is not in his assigned region he receives a call from Nate Romanowski who wants to bring in someone to talk with Joe about a problem that the falconers are seeing and trying to solve. Joe isn’t happy with the potential interruption but does know that Nate, even though he can be a problem, can also be an asset in Joe’s endeavors.

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Paradise Valley: A Novel (Highway Quartet) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Paradise ValleyVery interesting story of an investigator, Cassie Dewell, of the Sheriff’s Department in Bakken County, North Dakota, who is chasing down a real killer. The killer ,known as the Lizard King, is an independent truck driver, and Cassie first came across him earlier when he had somehow beaten a possible conviction on a technicality. She receives word that he is back out and moving.

Cassie decides the only way to catch him is to set a trap and have him somehow get scheduled to make a pickup in her local area. She feels certain that if and when she does he will have a prostitute stashed away in his truck. This is what he has always done. He frequents truck stops and picks up the lizards (prostitutes) who work the stops. The prostitute is later found dead.

With the help of the Sheriff they get everything arranged and when his truck pulls in to make the pickup they are there and ready to get him. However they quickly discover he has another talent which is working with explosives! As they get closer to the truck it blows apart in a monstrous devastating explosion. The cab and most of the truck is demolished. Because of the damages the FBI and a local County Attorney became involved and immediately began to question Cassie’s maneuver. Read the rest of this entry »

Vicious Circle (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

vicious circleAs usual the action in Joe Pickett stories kicks in pretty quickly. In this one Joe, the Wyoming Game Warden, is in a plane trying to find Dave Farkus who has turned up missing in the mountains. Farkus who is always in and out of Joe’s life somehow appears to be lost and Joe’s boss sends Joe with the other searchers. The pilot is using FLIR which is a forward looking infrared device that picks up heat or light. Just as the pilot is turning to return to base Joe spots not only a figure down in the woods but then three flashes right near the figure.

However they do not have enough gas to circle around again so they head back to base. In the following days the sheriff decides that a posse needs to be sent out to where the body of Farkus is thought to be. Joe goes along with an undersheriff who appears to be acting somewhat strangely around the body when they find it. More later in the story on this. Read the rest of this entry »

Stone Cold by C.J. Box

Stone ColdGood ol’ Joe Pickett, the roving Game Warden of Wyoming! He never works much as a true game warden as he is always on call from the state’s governor. Governor Rulon has been using Joe for years to help him solve problems in the state that are usually too “undercover” or out of hand for his state’s police to work. And it is probably a good thing that Joe does have such an in with the governor because his own boss (especially this new one) would probably fire him in a heartbeat!

Click Here for More Information on Stone Cold Read the rest of this entry »

Badlands by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

BadlandsThis is one of the best of my recent reads!. C. J. Box always provides readers with great stories and plenty of action. Badlands is no exception and in this one he also passes on some very interesting information about the production of oil in the United States.

Before we get to that part of the story however we begin with Cassie Dewell who just arrived in North Carolina to help put away the Lizard King. He who has been terrorizing truck stops, kidnapping prostitutes, and killing them across the Midwest. Cassie ran into him in Montana but is now going to the Carolinas to identify and get the Lizard King incarcerated. After an interesting episode while visiting the King in jail she is heading back to Montana when she receives word that she has been hired to be the Chief Investigator for Bakken County in North Dakota! Read the rest of this entry »

Endangered: A Joe Pickett Novel by C.J. Box

endangeredJoe Pickett is a Wyoming game warden who is the center of many of Box’s stories. He is somewhat of a favored individual in Wyoming because the current governor is a believer in governmental involvement in the state’s wildlife. He is a fan of Pickett and uses him quite extensively in trying to keep things orderly.

As Endangered opens Joe is surveying the remains of LEK 64. A LEK is a state designation of annual gatherings of sage grouse or prairie chicken which are a protected species. It appears that someone destroyed these grouse as nothing appears to be left except a few feathers and some truck tire marks. After searching for survivors Joe begins putting what evidence he finds into his truck. Read the rest of this entry »

Blood Trail by C.J. Box

Blood Trail Reviewed by Allen Hott

One of my favorite authors in a somewhat earlier story about Joe Pickett, the Game Warden who works mostly at the beck and call of Spencer Rulon, governor of Wyoming. Pickett is a top game warden but he has some bad habits in that he either gets involved in some very serious crimes while he patrols his territory or he inadvertently destroys the equipment that the state gives him to use. His involvement in crimes is not that he commits them but that he somehow manages to stumble onto some of the strangest types of crimes that can be imagined. And they always in one fashion or another happen while he is doing his normal game warden job. And the equipment gets damaged because invariably he is chasing down some criminal or he is being shot at by some miscreant that Joe has determined to be a bad guy!

This story begins when several hunters are found murdered in the area that Joe is covering. Not only have the hunters been shot but they are left hanging from several tree limbs in a position that mimics how a hunter would possibly hang a dead animal that he has killed. Not only are they hung but they have had their throats slit and they have been disemboweled much like a hunter would do prior to taking his kill home to eat. It definitely appears that someone is sending out word to hunters that they will be treated as they treat their kills. Read the rest of this entry »

Force of Nature (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C.J. Box

Force of NatureReviewed by Allen Hott

Don’t spill the beans! All of us have been told that for years. Well, in Force of Nature C. J. Box does exactly that! After several books telling about Joe Pickett, the Wyoming game warden/ranger and his friendship with Nate Romanowski, Mr. Box tells exactly what the story behind Nate is. Early on Nate moved into the area and became close friends with Joe but others always felt that Nate had a questionable background. He lived all alone out in the woods although he did show up with a girlfriend in one story. But she didn’t last very long as someone who appeared to be hunting for Nate shot and killed the lady by mistake. Other than that Nate kept everything to himself and Joe was always careful in what he told Nate and who he discussed Nate with during his travels around Wyoming.

Force of Nature begins with a fly-fisherman getting bumped by a drift boat as he fished a stream. The boat appeared empty until he pushed it to the side and saw three lifeless bodies and quite a bit of blood. He contacted authorities and reported the find.

Somewhere shortly before that occurred Nate, an accomplished falconer, had been working in the fields with one of his falcons. But he had been interrupted by a boat with three local men who began a conversation with him that turned into a very different situation. And after that happened Nate knowing what would come next began his departure not only to get away from the trouble here but to try and figure what he would do about what else was about to happen. Read the rest of this entry »

Cold Wind (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C.J. Box

coldwindReviewed by Allen Hott

Once again Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden, is the main character in Box’s novel. And once again Pickett gets involved in a mess of stuff other than game warden duties. Because of his background in law enforcement and investigation he always gets called upon when there are possible crimes in his area. However, this time the call comes from a lot closer to home.

Joe’s wife, Marybeth, gets a frantic call from Missy, her mother, who reports that her latest husband (she has been married five times) is missing. This husband, Earl Alden or as he is known in the Lexington area as the Earl of Lexington, left early this morning to go horseback riding around his huge complex and he hasn’t returned nor can Missy get him on his phone. Because Joe is not really friendly with Missy he just half-heartedly agrees to look for Earl while Joe is out working his area the next morning if he doesn’t show up. Earl doesn’t show up!

One of the places Joe decides to look is in the area where Earl has just begun installing a huge wind turbine complex much to the chagrin of his neighbors. When Joe gets close he spots what looks like a body hanging from one of the turbine’s blades. Joe and one of the workers from the turbine company climb to the top and find that it not only is a body but it is Earl who has been shot dead and hung up on the blade. Read the rest of this entry »