C. J. Box is the author of five Joe Pickett novels, and has won the Anthony, Macavity, Gumshoe, and Barry awards. He has also been an Edgar Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. A Wyoming native, Box serves on the board of directors for Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo.
In Box's taut, suspenseful fifth Joe Picket novel (after 2004's Trophy Hunt), the Wyoming game warden is temporarily transferred from his backwater base, Saddlestring, to Jackson, a sophisticated tourist mecca, to replace warden Will Jensen, who apparently shot himself to death. Joe has his doubts about Will's "suicide," but little time to investigate given other distractions: a vast and remote territory to patrol, questionable practices by a hunting outfitter, pressure to approve an exclusive housing development on a wildlife trail and protests by animal rights activists. At home, Joe's contentious wife, Marybeth, deals with mysterious threats and daughter Sheridan's teenage angst. To complicate matters further, Joe's reputation as a hardheaded law enforcer, unwilling to play politics, precedes him. Unusual for the genre, the skillfully orchestrated climax doesn't include a chase and the conclusion is ambivalent. Adept at setting his scenes, physically and psychologically, Box approaches Nevada Barr in his ability to describe the West's natural beauty. With each book he creates plots of greater complexity, but in contrast to his ever more nuanced male characters, his women remain too often flirtatious or angry. Agent, Ann Rittenberg. Author tour. (May 5) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Saddlestring, WY, game warden Joe Pickett (Trophy Hunt) takes a temporary assignment in upscale Jackson, when friend and coworker Will Jensen dies from an apparent suicide. Joe immediately finds himself embroiled in the community's political games as various factions-animal rights activists, environmental extremists, and old-time hunters-compete for his endorsement. After his pickup truck is set afire, Joe becomes convinced that Will's death was a homicide, probably at the hands of one of these groups. His refusal to sign off on a building permit earns him the community's enmity, but it's not until an unforgettably tense trip into the high country that he realizes just how many people want him dead. Though a subplot involving wife Joe's wife, Marybeth, stretches credibility, Box's depiction of family tensions rings true. This fifth in a series is a Western lover's mystery, relying heavily on guns and honor; clearly, Joe's the real sheriff in town. Changing venue opens up future plot possibilities for the likable hero. Recommended for libraries with other series titles and for Tony Hillerman and Michael McGarrity fans. Box lives near Cheyenne.-Teresa L. Jacobsen, Santa Monica P.L., CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.