The Barnes & Noble Review
Just like the state of Wyoming, where C. J. Box's Joe Pickett series takes place, the sixth installment in the award-winning suspense saga is breathtaking, rugged, and chock-full of potentially deadly pitfalls -- especially the two-legged variety.
When Opal Scarlett, the head of a much-historied and wildly eccentric ranching clan, suddenly disappears, a bitter battle ensues between two of her three sons for control of the ranch. The property is worth millions, and ruthless siblings Arlen and Hank will do anything to gain control of it. But as local game warden Joe Pickett tries to help unravel the Scarlett case, he is forced to deal with a boss bent on making his life a living hell. And, to make matters worse, a deranged man has begun to harass him and his family. When things turn violent and his daughter's life is put in jeopardy, Pickett -- who has been called an "uncontrollable cowboy" by his boss -- decides to finally go native…
Mixing elements of suspense, mystery, and western, the Joe Pickett novels (Out of Range, Trophy Hunt, Winterkill, et al.) can also be described as savvy ecological thrillers dealing with subjects like conservation and restoration, poaching, habitat preservation, land use and abuse, etc. And after the career-altering events chronicled in In Plain Sight, it will be very interesting to see where Box next takes this highly intelligent and utterly readable saga… Paul Goat Allen
Wyoming Game and Fish warden Joe Pickett-honest, upright and hardworking-tends to attract the meanest villains this side of a spaghetti western, as shown in his sprightly sixth outing in which he and his family become the target of John Wayne Keeley, a misguided, conscienceless killer. In addition, Opal Scarlett, the matriarch of a wealthy ranching clan, is missing, and two of her sons, Hank and Arlen, are fighting over the estate. Joe's daughter, Sheridan, is best friends with Hank's daughter, Julie, which puts Sheridan in danger. As usual, hotheaded Joe is also in trouble with his boss, self-serving Randy Pope. When Joe is pulled off of the search for Opal, he stubbornly follows his instincts rather than orders, bringing down Pope's wrath. Edgar-finalist Box (Out of Range) expertly evokes Wyoming's landscape, wildlife, people and politics. Joe's love for the natural world shines throughout, but his lack of political finesse costs him his job by book's end. Fans will eagerly wait to see how he recoups his fortunes in the next installment. 15-city author tour. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
When Wyoming's governor appoints Randy Pope to be the new director of the Game and Fish Department, warden Joe Pickett finds it almost impossible to do his job. Pope is a micromanager who hates Joe, ordering him to stay out of the investigation of a missing rancher. Meanwhile, Opal Scarlett's two sons are battling for control of her ranch, and Joe becomes involved when he is badly beaten by the new foreman hired by Hank Scarlett. This is followed by a series of threatening messages. Meanwhile John Wayne Keeley, ex-convict, murderer, and father of Joe's foster daughter who died in a fire, is seeking revenge against the Pickett family, but Joe is so distracted by his work frustrations and his anger at his boss that he misses the warning signs. Box (Open Season) writes edge-of-the-chair suspense; his prose sings with energy and heart-stopping action. There is some pretty strong stuff here (e.g., killing of helpless animals and gruesome murder scenes), but don't let that stop you from reading this unforgettable mystery. Highly recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 1/06.] Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
After an eventful trip to Jackson Hole (Out of Range, 2005), Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett is back in Twelve Sleep County for a homecoming that's anything but homey. Trouble starts when fishing guide Tommy Wayman tosses Opal Scarlett, matriarch of the Thunderhead Ranch, into the river over a long-simmering feud. Assuming that Opal's too mean to die, Tommy isn't worried when he doesn't see her climb out. But her disappearance-neither she nor her corpse has turned up anywhere since then-leaves her three sons free to battle it out with shovels over ownership of the ranch. That's the opening scene Joe interrupts, accompanied by his daughter Sheridan, 14, and her best friend, Hank Scarlett's daughter Julie. Soon enough, both Joe and Sheridan will be haunted by spectral sightings of Opal, grinning over her sons' fratricidal strife. By that time, though, Joe will have bigger troubles of his own. Fresh from his murder of convicted killer Wacey Hedeman, J.W. Keeley is on his way to Twelve Sleep County, eager to destroy Joe, whom he blames for the slaughter of his family (Winterkill, 2003). If you think Joe can expect help from the law-enforcement community, you don't know this series, and it's high time you started. Despite an encore roster of perps and felonies that plays like a Greatest Hits list from Joe's first five adventures, Box continues to write the sharpest suspensers west of the Pecos.