A Joe Pickett Novel #21
C. J. Box
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, March 2021
It is mid-October, snow is on the ground, and game warden Joe Pickett has reluctantly agreed to do a favour for the Wyoming Governor. This favour entails accompanying a high-tech executive on an Elk Hunting trip. Joe and Brock Boedecker, who is supplying the pack horses for this trip, are waiting at the Saddlespring Municipal Airport for their guest to arrive. HIs name is Steven Price or Steve-2, a Silicon Valley billionaire and the brains and money behind ConFab a social media site.
Steve-2 has always wanted to explore nature and live off the land, but as Joe watches the millionaire’s plane being unloaded he begins to wish he’d never agreed to the trip. Steve-2 has brought way too much baggage, that includes camera’s, electronic equipment and some comforts of home that are, to Joe’s mind, totally unnecessary.
Anxious to get underway and set up camp before dark, Joe gets the hunting party moving. The five men, Brock, Joe, Steve-2, his personal assistant Tim and bodyguard, Zsolt Rumy, set off, unaware they are riding into a trap.
A trio of men are out for revenge. They blame Steve-2 for the death of a family member. The threesome have a plan of attack, uncaring for any collateral damage that might ensue.
Meanwhile Joe’s wife, Marybeth, hasn’t heard from her husband since he left on the trip. Worried, she contacts Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski who, along with Joe’s eldest daughter Sheridan, head out to locate the hunting party.
I’ve long been a fan of C. J. Box and the Joe Pickett series. The Pickett family have become like old friends. The detail and knowledge the author brings to each of his novels makes for a realistic and often heart stopping ride whenever he ventures into the back country. The descriptions of Joe’s Wyoming home along with the grandeur of the Bighorn Mountains are unforgettable.
In this his twenty-first Pickett novel, Joe has to call on all his skills in his attempts to keep his overbearing and unlikeable client alive. With the weather conditions deteriorating and with no means of summoning help, their future is bleak.
Grab this latest by C. J. Box, you’ll be hard pressed to put it down.
Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, April 2021.