I read C. J. Box when he put out his first Joe Pickett novel in 2001. I thought it was a great debut and picked up the next few as they came out. Well, then I kind of missed a few. I just finished the brand new book ( #11) in this series - Cold Wind - and I'm kicking myself. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this character.
Joe Pickett is a game warden in Wyoming. But Joe does a lot more than check hunting licenses and monitor wildlife.

Joe is out patrolling the high ridges - home to the newest kind of farming in wind swept Wyoming - wind farms. He notices that one turbine seems to be turning slower than than the others - the dead body tied to it could be the reason. The body turns out to be Earl, the fifth husband of Joe's mother-in-law Missy. Missy and Joe have never gotten along, but when Missy is charged with murder, both she and Joe's wife Marybeth ask him to look into things on his own. It looks like the local sheriff has already tried and convicted Missy.

Box has taken a very current and very hot topic and woven a great mystery around the whole issue of wind farms. (There's lots of debate in my part of the world about them right now)

Joe Pickett is a wonderfully likable character who tries to do the right thing by everyone, every time. Think white hat. The supporting characters are just as well drawn - the sheriff and his cronies are eminently unlikeable. As is Joe's cold, calculating mother-in-law. Joe's personal life has evolved throughout the novels as well - I wonder how much of the trials of raising three daughters mirrors Box's own life with three daughters. Joe and Marybeth's relationship seems very real as well. The secondary storyline involving Joe's friend Nate Romanowski totally grabbed me. Nate is a master falconer and fugitive. He has gone off the grid and underground in the hills of Wyoming. There are those that want him dead. More Nate please! (Fans of Joe Pike and Jack Reacher would like this character)

Box writes what he knows. His descriptions of the land, the politics, social issues and the people of Wyoming all ring true. The plotting is tight, the story flows seamlessly and the ending was great.

I definitely won't be missing any more books by C. J. Box! Read an excerpt of Cold Wind.

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Comment by Luanne Ollivier on March 24, 2011 at 8:38am

yay!

Comment by Neil Nyren on March 23, 2011 at 10:56pm
Your wish is granted, Luanne -- there'll be a whole lot of Nate in the next book!

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