Read Open Season by C.J. Box Online


Joe Pickett is the new game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming, a town where nearly everyone hunts, and the game warden--especially one like Joe who won't take bribes or look the other way--is far from popular. When he finds a local hunting outfitter dead, splayed out on the woodpile behind his state-owned home, he takes it personally. There had to be a reason that the outfitJoe Pickett is the new game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming, a town where nearly everyone hunts, and the game warden--especially one like Joe who won't take bribes or look the other way--is far from popular. When he finds a local hunting outfitter dead, splayed out on the woodpile behind his state-owned home, he takes it personally. There had to be a reason that the outfitter, with whom he's had run-ins before, chose his backyard, his woodpile to die in. Even after the "outfitter murders," as they have been dubbed by the local press after the discovery of the two more bodies, are solved, Joe continues to investigate, uneasy with the easy explanation offered by the local police. As Joe digs deeper into the murders, he soon discovers that the outfitter brought more than death to his backdoor: he brought Joe an endangered species, thought to be extinct, which is now living in his woodpile. But if word of the existence of this endangered species gets out, it will destroy any chance of InterWest, a multi-national natural gas company, building an oil pipeline that would bring the company billions of dollars across Wyoming, through the mountains and forests of Twelve Sleep. The closer Joe comes to the truth behind the outfitter murders, the endangered species and InterWest, the closer he comes to losing everything he holds dear. ...

Title : Open Season
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780425185469
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 278 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Open Season Reviews

  • Kemper
    2019-04-03 17:49

    “Looking for a new exciting career? Love the outdoors and working with animals? The state of Wyoming is accepting applications for positions as game wardens. If you’ve spent years obtaining a college degree in fields related to conservation or ecology, you could qualify to be one of our low-paid government agents with a huge territory to cover along with more work than you can possibly do. As a bonus, you’ll get to issue tickets to heavily armed drunken rednecks with no back-up in the middle of nowhere when you catch them committing hunting violations. Act now!”Joe Pickett loves his job as a game warden, but it’s a tough gig trying to support his family on a small salary and constantly suffering by comparison to the legendary warden he replaced when the older man retired. After a terrifying incident when trying to ticket a poacher, Joe is humiliated and suffers from a loss of respect in the community. When that same poacher shows up dead on the woodpile in Joe’s backyard, the game warden has to help track down a killer and find out what’s been going on in the wide empty spaces of Wyoming.I liked the setting and the idea of a game warden as the main character of a mystery. I also liked how Joe’s work was shown as important but thankless, and how he was starting to worry that his love of the job was going to hurt his family. There’s a pretty good story behind the killing of the poacher, and some interesting supporting characters. I also liked that Joe was portrayed as a basically decent guy, but not the smartest tool in the shed and prone to screwing up.However, I pretty much had the entire plot figured out about a quarter of the way into this. It’s obvious who the villains are and what their goal is early on. Joe spends a lot of time figuring out what’s going to be obvious to most readers, and it’s frustrating watching your hero get manipulated when you’ve already figured it all out.Liked it, didn’t love it. I’d give the series another try if the story sounded interesting or it had great reviews, but I won't be rushing to pick another one up.

  • Matthew
    2019-03-24 20:42

    Are you looking for a new mystery series? Do you like a beautiful western setting with modern day cowboys and outlaws? Do you like your justice served with rawhide, gun oil, and cheap saloon pilsner?Look no further - welcome to the world of Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett whose heart is way bigger than his luck. While going about his daily tasks of checking hunting licenses and counting antelope, he is always getting himself caught up in mysteries and conspiracies that end up with him almost losing both his job and his life. The setting is the fictional town of Saddlestring at the base of the Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming - and you can almost smell and feel the crisp mountain air while you are reading. The great thing about this series is, if you like this first offering, I can guarantee you that it only gets better from here! I cannot recommend this enough!Side note: I got into this series because I was the Assistant Manager of the Old Faithful Inn Gift Shop in Yellowstone National Park back when this book was first released. At the time, we had C. J. Box come in each year to do signings of his most recent release. In fact, he used to email me directly to coordinate the signings (kinda made me feel important!). I stress though, meeting him in person back when he was just starting out did not bias me towards his writing - it really is great stuff whether I met him or not!

  • Dirk Grobbelaar
    2019-03-24 15:37

    It’s actually been two weeks or so since I’ve finished this – so this review may be a bit sparse on details.Not that a lot of exposition is required to review Open Season. Simply put: I enjoyed it. While the structure of the story isn’t particularly novel as far as mystery stories or police procedurals are concerned, the environmental aspect certainly is. See, Joe Pickett isn’t a cop or a P.I., he’s a game ranger. However, he apparently isn’t exempt from dealing with murderers and/or crooks on the odd occasion.This is the first novel in a series, so the character isn’t completely established yet and there are one or two (very) minor pacing issues. However, once things get going they really get going. There are the requisite few twists and surprises, but what really clinched it for me was the white knuckle sequence toward the close of the story and the totally bad-ass ending. Damn, but things get a bit tense there. Recommended to suspense-heads.

  • Dan Schwent
    2019-04-19 19:26

    When a man dies in his front yard carrying a cooler, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett finds himself thrust into a mystery, a mystery that might cost him everything he holds dear...Over the past ten years, I've read hundreds of mysteries and thrillers. There's a stripped down charm to some of them and many of them boil down to the oldest of tales: people being shitheads to each other. When this one popped up on the cheap, I decided to give it a shot. "Wyoming game warden" isn't something that comes to mind when I think of a sleuth.Open Season starts out by establishing that Joe Pickett is a good man but not precisely on the ball. A guy gets his gun from him and he never lives it down. Joe's a family man, with two daughters and a bun in the oven. His wife is clearly the brains of the operation. When the very man that snatched his gun away from him winds up dead on their wood pile, Joe finds himself neck deep in something sinister.The rural Wyoming setting was the star of the show for me. Being a hundred miles from nowhere is scary on its own, not to mention throwing in the wildlife and the fact that everyone is packing heat. Box did a great job capturing what life in a dying small town is like. I liked that Joe was a by the book game warden rather than some kind of smart mouth maverick like so many other sleuths.The setup for the mystery was good but I felt like everything after that was telegraphed. When there are only three prominent characters besides the sleuth and his family, it's pretty obvious that one or more of them is involved in the shady business. I felt like I spent a lot of time waiting for Joe Pickett to catch up.As much as I've complained, I did enjoy the book and the ending was cathartic enough to be worth it. Box resisted the temptation to make Pickett rush in with guns blazing like an action hero and kept things true to character.While it wasn't the best mystery I read this year, Open Season was an engaging enough read and I'm open to reading the further adventures of Joe Pickett. Three out of five stars.

  • Carol
    2019-04-18 20:49

    Published in 2001, Open Seasonis the solid debut of the long running C. J. Box’s Joe Pickett SeriesThe Hook Over and over again I have heard praise for C.J. Box and his Joe Pickett series. I couldn’t ignore all the rave reviews for #16 Off the Grid. I decided it was now or forever hold the page. Besides, Box thinks Michael Connelly is great and as you all know I’m a Connelly fan.The Line ”Joe rarely found a reason to draw his weapon, and even if he did, he doubted he could hit anything with it.”The Sinker – As you might expect this kickoff introduces the man, giving us a glimpse of Joe, his family, wife Marybeth, daughters Sheridan and Lucy and the beautiful locale of Twelve Sleep, high country, Wyoming. Joe Pickett exhibits a vulnerability in his inaugural appearance. Consider that he arrests the governor for fishing without a license and later allows a bad guy to take his gun and turn it on him. Hard to live things like this down but Joe perseveres and you got to love him for it. Pickett is a Wyoming Game Warden, not a superhero, just a man with a family doing his job. Even his name is plain and easy. There are seven parts to Open Season each beginning with either a quote from The Endangered Species Act or consideration of said. These are important not only to Pickett’s job but to the plot. What I found extremely interesting in the story-line was the political ramifications of sighting what was thought an endangered species, what a come-back would mean to the economy and livelihood of this rural region. Never thought of this as explained. C.J. Box says that Open Season was written as a one-off but it’s clear he set it up to continue, perhaps with fingers crossed. He states that each of the sixteen titles in the series can be read as stand-alones. He also feels that "Winterkill, Free Fire, Breaking Point and Off the Grid" could be good entry points into the series”. This may be and many may come to his books this way. Myself, I prefer to read the first book in any series. It is not always the best but begins my journey with the character. First impressions may not always be correct but I’m willing to hangout with Joe again.

  • Cathrine ☯️
    2019-04-18 15:39

    3.5★The wilds of Wyoming, controversy between ranchers and conservationists, plus our main guy, game warden Joe Pickett made for an entertaining mystery/thriller and introduced me to book 1 in a series that I will continue reading. Rumor has it that Robert Redford would like to produce a TV series based on the books. Since I can’t get enough of Longmire, bring it on. I loved the unlikely heroine of Sheridan, one of Joe’s two daughters. I would classify this as man-lit which women can appreciate. A great advantage being a woman is we can read chick-lit and man-lit and enjoy them equally. :DPerfect for relaxed reading in between heavier, longer adventures in literature.

  • Stacey
    2019-04-02 21:29

    I've been meaning to read Open Season for a long time! Joe Pickett, our main character, is the new game warden In Wyoming. Joe is the kind of guy I like to read about. He's down to earth, down on his luck and rather bumbling on the job. "When Joe screwed up, he did it massively and publicly." He's a family man and wears his heart on his sleeve.Bodies start piling up on the wood pile in Joe's backyard. He starts looking closely at the murders and possibly an endangered species living in that wood pile. If there is an endangered species in the area, the natural gas company can't put a pipeline through. There are higher stakes at play as his sights on the killer and the real motive emerge.I've found a new series and character to wrap my arms around!

  • Li'l Owl
    2019-04-21 20:44

    This debut novel by cj box is absolutely sensational!! The beginning pulled me in immediately, making it nearly irresistible to stop once I started. The set of characters are so different than ones that make up detective procedural novels or even private investigator crime solving thrillers. It's unusual in so many ways but it's still completely absorbing. The individual personalities are well defined and are full of depth. I immediately fell for Joe and his family. Joe is such an endearing and original character who makes mistakes and is complete with a few flaws. He's generally upbeat and is quite comical at times. His family is heart warming and genuine. I fell in love with his loving wife, who pregnant and expecting their third child, and his little girls, ages seven and three. Sheridan is a bright and imaginative, Lucy is inquisitive and impressionable, both are adorable and precious.It took no imagination to put myself smack dab in the middle of Joe's little cabin. I could smell the sage brush, see the brilliant colors of golden aspen trees, imagine the crunch of the leaves under my feet, and feel the bitter cold high in the mountains. There's a strong sense of being in the wide open spaces of the prairies, the wildlife prolific and breathtaking. Cj box is a master of descriptive words that paint the images just as bold as on any canvas.Then, there is the story. The description of what the book is about is dead on.It's packed full of energy and suspense. The pace is nearly frantic and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. There are lot's of twists that made it impossible to even grasp a hint of the who and the why, coming to a heart stopping ending. It left me longing to read the next in the series. And I will be doing just that in the near future. I don't usually write a novel when reviewing one but I just want to give you a taste of how much I loved this book! I highly recommend it!Here's a bit of *Chapter One*Seven-year-old Sheridan Pickett related her dream aloud to the stuffed bear that served as her confidant. Lucy, three and horrified, listened in. "The monster, Sheridan said, had come down from the mountains through the dark, steep canyon behind the house very late last night.... the monster had rattled the back gate before figuring out the latch and had then lurched clumsily (sort of like mummies in the old movies) across the yard to the back door. Its eyes and teeth glinted yellow, and for a second, Sheridan felt an electric bolt jolt through her as the monsters head swiviled around and seemed to look directly at her before it fled. The monster was hairy and shiny as if covered with liquid. Twigs and leaves were stuck to it. There was something white, a large sack or box, swinging from the monsters hand."Sheridan, stop talking about monsters", Joe called out. The dream disturbed him because the details were so precise. "You're going to scare your little sister"." I'm already scared", Lucy declared pulling her blanket to her mouth."Then the man walked slowly away across the yard through the gate toward the woodpile where he fell down into a big shadow. And he's still out there, Sheridan finished, widening her eyes toward her sister to deliver the complete effect. "Hold it, Sheridan, Joe said abruptly, entering the room with a spatula in his hand. " You said 'man'. You didn't say 'monster'. You said 'man. '"Sheridan looked up quizzically, her big eyes wide. "Maybe it was a man. Maybe it wasn't a dream after all."

  • Jim
    2019-04-22 23:44

    This is a mystery / thriller but it also (IMHO) a story with a message about the Endangered Species Act. Joe Pickett is the game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming and relatively new on the job. He is a family man and dedicated to his job. He has two daughters, Sheridan and Lucy, and his wife Marybeth is expecting their third child. He is honest and doesn't take bribes or look the other way and because of that he is not always popular. He isn't a sharpshooter and he makes mistakes. Sometimes embarrassing ones. He is cautious and careful ... so much so that sometimes others think he is a little "slow". When a local outfitter with whom he had a previous run-in is found on the woodpile behind his house and shortly after that two other outfitters are also found dead he continues to investigate even though the local police declare the crimes "solved". For Joe it is personal. There had to be a reason the first outfitter made his way to Joe's house and died in his backyard splayed on his woodpile.InterWest is a multi-national natural gas company with big plans to build an oil pipeline across Wyoming that could bring jobs and money to Twelve Sleep. But these plans could be derailed by a cute endangered species brought to the woodpile in Joe's backyard. As Joe investigates the "outfitter murders" he finds that he comes closer to losing everything he holds dear.This was an enjoyable quick read. I will probably read other books in the series. A refreshing change from the typical urban settings.

  • Michelle
    2019-03-24 16:36

    Dear Sheriff Longmire, please don't be mad at me for cheating on you with another Wyoming lawman. He meant nothing to me, I swear!I was set up on a blind date with Joe Pickett, Saddleback Game Warden and family man. We had a good time. I mean, Joe is lawful good, to an extreme. He's a good husband, father, and morally in the right. Plus Wyoming is always a good time for an outdoors-lovin' girl like me. The mystery was solid and I will continue the series, but I think Joe and I will remain "just friends". My heart belongs to the more impulsive, mature, and headstrong Walt Longmire. He's the Wyoming lawman for me. I just didn't get into Joe like I do Walt. Joe is a bit of a sad sack. I need my book boyfriends to be strong and confident. If you have ever read the Hamish Macbeth series, Joe reminded my of him. Likable, but not someone to fall in love with. Anyway, I will continue hanging out with Joe when I have some downtime, because why not?

  • Lisa Kay
    2019-04-07 17:38

    ★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I haven't heard the narrator, David Chandler, read before. At first, neither he nor the book grabbed me. I mean, I was interested, but not captivated. That changed as the book progressed! Looking forward to listening to him narrate the rest of this series, as he certainly became Joe Pickett to me.Excellent start to the series. Nice slow build, that comes to a believable and satisfying conclusion. Sure, at times, I knew where the story was going, but there were certainly some surprises. And my heart was in my throat more than once. I was on the edge of my seat by the end. I've already downloaded the next in the series.Thanks for the rec, Becky ♡The Bookworm♡!

  • Veronica
    2019-04-01 20:48

    Well, this didn't end up being what I was hoping for.Joe Pickett is a Game Warden in Twelve Sleep River County (Wyoming) where he lives in State housing with his pregnant wife and their two daughters, ages 7 and 3. This was a quick and simple read...and by simple I mean obvious in pretty much every aspect. Joe is such an OBVIOUS boy scout...whose only flaw seems to be a couple of personal habits that cause his wife to fear that other people will think him mentally slow. I don't think he's necessarily incompetent but he does come across as a bit of a doofus. And his boy scout upstandingness is only highlighted by the fact that most of the other male characters are all such OBVIOUS disgusting douchebags it's hard to imagine anyone not feeling the need for a shower after spending five minutes in their presence. The mystery aspect is also OBVIOUS with the who-done-it and the why-they-done-it being pretty clear from the get go...and I say that as someone who never tries to figure out the mystery ahead of the protagonist. There's nothing interesting on the home front either since Joe's family life is pretty bland. All in all this was an innocuous read.

  • Irene
    2019-04-16 23:26

    This was typical of the genre. The body of a murdered man on the wood pile behind the home of a young game warden leads him to an investigation in which he will bring down corrupt politicians and big oil money. Despite being out numbered and facing threats to his livelihood and the safety of his family, he never falters. There is the usual amount of implausible scenarios, including the incredible shoot out. There is enough attention to developing the characters that the story was more interesting than formulaic.

  • Sheila
    2019-03-25 21:54

    This was my first book by C.J. Box and luckily it was also the first in the Joe Pickett series. I really liked this book. The protagonist is an average Joe (no pun intended) who isn't particularly clever or handsome or strong. He is just a hard working guy trying to do his best for both his family and his job. I like books that have characters that are a bit flawed to make them more believeable.I will definitely read more in this series. That seems to be my problem. I can now take 1 book off my TBR list but have to add 9 more in this series. Now I ask you, is that progress?

  • Christine Zibas
    2019-04-02 20:37

    When Open Season took nearly every "first novel" mystery prize, it wasn't a surprise. This reissue of the Joe Pickett classic has all the tell-tale signs of greatness that would keep its author, CJ Box, crafting many more novels to come. A Wyoming native, Box infuses his books with a love of the land and the modern issues that concern the people who live there.In this first novel, readers are introduced to straight-shooter Game Warden Joe Pickett and his family. Trying to eke out a living, Joe doesn't take short cuts and won't look the other way when it comes to upholding his duty. This puts him squarely at odds with some very powerful locals, who are trying to use the land to enrich themselves at the expense of nature itself. It's energy money versus endangered species in this epic novel, and readers aren't sure until the very end that good will win out over the evil. Well, this is a Western in the classic sense.Despite all the cliches -- gun-toting ranchers, inept government officials, and men who consider themselves men because they make their living off the land, etc. -- this is a thoroughly enjoyable story. Box infuses his story with the beauty and value of nature and makes readers care about his hero, Joe Pickett. There's nothing overthought or precious about this type of writing, but Box manages to show that sometimes, simple, honest truth is the best of all.Thanks to Good Reads and GP Putnam's Sons for allowing me to read this book.

  • JoAnn
    2019-04-01 16:52

    3.5 stars So I had a 2 main reasons for reading this book and series. The first being I had hopes that it would similar to the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson, which btw is my favorite series. And the second is that CJ Box and Sandra Brown, another favorite must read author of mine, are doing a MatchUp where CJ Box's Joe Pickett (from this series) and Lee Coburn (from Sandra Brown's Lethal) work together. Since I am familiar with Lee Coburn I thought it would do me good to get to know Joe Pickett as well. In relation to my first reason for reading this series, it fell a little flat. But that has nothing to do with the book it self. Obviously this is a different series by a different author so I can not expect it to be the same. Due to that fact I did not take that into account when rating this book. This book was a little slow for me and didn't really pick up until the end but that was ok with me since the book was under 300 pages. If it has been any longer I may not have enjoyed it. The writing was good and had many POVs, which is something I enjoy, and the transition of the POVs was flawless. By mid book you already have an idea about who the bad guy was but that did not take away from the story. I kinda assumed this would be a relaxing modern day western who-done-it, but in reality the things that Joe went through were really stressful and by the end you find yourself rooting for him and his family. Although I found it slow and stressful, lol, I enjoyed the plot and in the end enjoyed it. I think the rest of the series has a lot of promise and I intend to read the next installment.

  • Matt Garcia
    2019-04-07 17:27

    The mystery was solid. It's pretty obvious what's going on and who's behind it but it was still intriguing and satisfying to see all of the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. The plot is unique and I appreciate that. The topic of endangered species and a mystery surrounding that is not something that I've seen before and Box is able to navigate it well. The main character, Joe Pickett, was the atypical protagonist. A good natured, hard working, family man who is a game warden in Wyoming. I liked him and the rest of the characters were written well also. The writing is solid. Box switches the point of view from Joe to his young daughter effortlessly and it's pretty convincing. The pacing is fine. The book is under 300 pages so it's a quick read and the last 75 pages or so go by quickly. The Wyoming wilderness and surrounding landscapes were depicted well and added a nice touch to the novel and added an additional sense of intrigue. It's nice to take a break from the city and traverse the wilderness from time to time. Predictable but enjoyable ending.I liked this one. It's not fantastic or amazing but there wasn't anything that I necessarily didn't like about it either so it gets 5 stars from me. A solid mystery novel with a bit of different plot from the norm.

  • ✨Susan✨
    2019-04-15 18:35

    A fantastic start to the Joe Pickett series. I started this series in the middle and was not sure the beginning would be as good as the latest, but it was. Joe really puts himself on the line in this addition, he is new and messing with folks that don't want him nosing around in their business. A big developer will stop at nothing to cover up an endangered species and that includes going after Joe and his family. Suspenseful and fast moving. Great as a stand alone as well.

  • Alyx Tschirhart
    2019-04-02 15:28

    Well this was one of those books where after reading a few chapters, you just aren't sure if you're going to like it too much. In fact I was mildly regretting already purchasing three other books in the Joe Pickett series. But shortly after my worry, the book really turned it on. I'm eager to see what the next is like.At the beginning, I wasn't too fond of Joe Pickett. He seemed too weak to be a character in such a large series. However, I had wrongly mistaken restraint and strength for fragility.Although, from the start, I appreciated the characters of his family.I'd highly recommend reading this book. The end is truly worth the slow start.

  • William
    2019-04-17 22:54

    ebookThe story was bit slow, then the last third just flew by. The author's prose had me remembering a working vacation to Acme, just outside Sheridan, Wy. , in the '70's. Acme was a defunct strip mine where we had to bring in our own drinking water. I re-experienced the sounds and smells and the colloquialism of the regional folks.I highly recommend this to anyone to read before picking up something set in URBANITY!

  • Robert French
    2019-04-05 19:30

    The first book of C.J. Box's Joe Pickett series, Open Season is the second I have read. I first read Off The Grid, his latest. I was not that exited about that book, but decided to give the series another try. Frankly, there is something, very difficult to define, that I do not like about these books. Somehow they do not ring true. Maybe it was because I grew up in Idaho, not far from Wyoming. My dad had been a Deputy Sheriff at one time (in Colorad0). I grew up with guns as my dad was also a competitive sharpshooter and owned a rifle range for a short time. Hunting was part of my family culture. I was taught to respect and strictly adhere to all fishing and game laws and also how to safely handle guns (Joe Pickett should know better). In Idaho, my dad also was friends with all the local Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs. I would not have dared to cross any line. Maybe my distress with these books is all the odd ball and strange characters in C.J. Box's books that contravene and violate the law. I am not so naive that I think all hunters and fishermen follow the game regulations, but everyone I know in the fishing and hunting world know the rules and follow them. Incidentally I still have my Dad's hunting and fishing license from 1920 that was preserved in the gun stock of his shot gun. I believe it cost a $1.00 for all game and all fishing.

  • Eric
    2019-04-07 19:28

    I think C.J. Box's Open Season is now my favorite C.J. Box novel and one of my favorites of this genre. The story has great characters, a great message, and a great murder-mystery.I found Joe Pickett to be likable from the start. He's honest, a good husband and father, and as a Wyoming Game Warden a lousy shot with a gun. Joe's wife, Marybeth, is a good match for Joe. The story is about how Joe and his family get caught up in a multi-layered conspiracy and cover-up of crimes which include murder. The story moves along at a pretty good clip. The story is not without a little humor in it (at least I thought so). There is a funeral scene that is one of the most hilarious I have ever read. Another thing I like about C. J. Box's books is that he includes children in the story with good parts. Joe's 7 year old daughter, Sheridan, plays a major part in the story. She is intelligent and has a unique view of the world. We get to see her dilemma as she is also caught up in the conspiracy.I listened to the audio book version of the story. David Chandler does a good job of bringing the characters and story to life. I would recommend the audio book for those who like to listen to audio books.This is an all around great mystery story with a satisfying ending. I enjoyed it very much and recommend the book to those who like to read this genre (and even for those who don't!).

  • Brenda
    2019-04-05 21:33

    I read a couple transcripts of interviews with C. J. Box where he stated this book was about the Endangered Species Act and not meant to become a series. His publisher requested two more Joe Pickett books and thus it began.The book takes off very slowly and I was concerned it was going to be too political. I kept an open mind and got to know the characters. Joe Pickett is an atypical protagonist. He is a family man, dedicated game warden, and tries to do the right thing according to his moral compass. He makes mistakes, can't shoot well, and seems a bit "slow" sometimes. I grew to like him very much when the story kicked into another gear about halfway through. His wife Marybeth and daughters Sheridan and Lucy are his foundation, and I really loved Sheridan. His mother-in-law is superficial and shallow.The Wyoming setting is described well and is picturesque; it's another character in the book. As an outdoors person, I appreciate the wildness and the wildlife.I read that Box includes some issue, such as fracking or falconry, in each of his books. I didn't find this book to be preachey and look forward to reading more in the series. I also read the family grows and ages with each book. I'd like to see how his daughters grow up, and how Joe and Marybeth's marriage evolves.

  • Eric
    2019-04-21 19:49

    Joe Pickett, Wyoming game warden and stand up family man, gets involved in something way above his pay grade when a three local hunters turn up dead, one in Pickett's own yard. Pickett is not cop, detective, or sheriff, and while educated about the things he would be -- mostly game and guns -- multiple murders are considerably outside his area of expertise. I don't want to say any more and spoil anything, but the mystery kept me guessing a while (view spoiler)[I couldn't decide if it was former game warden Vern Dunnegan or the game warden from the next county over, Wacey Hedeman, it never occurred to me it was both of them. (hide spoiler)]. One final unrelated thought -- author C.J. Box did an excellent job when he switched to Pickett's daughter Sheridan's point-of-view. Writing a realistic six-year-old girl is no easy task.

  • Kim
    2019-03-26 22:44

    This is a good-not-great mystery that started a series of novels involving Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett. Pickett gets a coveted if low-paying job in the small town of Twelve Sleep. He earns less than $30,000 a year but gets free housing. There he settles with his pregnant wife and two daughters. He hasn't been on the job long when, while trying to give a ticket to a local outfitter, the outfitter manages to take Pickett's gun away. This immediately puts a black mark on Pickett's reputation. It isn't long after this situation that the outfitter winds up dead near Pickett's woodpile with a stomach wound and gripping a mysterious cooler with animal scat in the bottom. The mystery deepens when the local sheriff, as well as Pickett's mentor, are clear that Pickett doesn't need to look any deeper into the death. It's not a bad book but it could have been a lot better in a few different ways. The mystery itself is mostly obvious well before the final reveal. Further, there are a dozen ways in which Box could have enriched the town and its citizens. The book has a dry feel to it as if everyone was just there to move things along. The book is also largely humorless, and humor goes a long way toward lightening the mood in a book about murder and as a filler in between the detection process, as proven by Doyle, Christie, and most other mystery writers of the 20th century.There are now 18 books in the Pickett series, which you can own on Kindle for the low low price of $182.82. For that amount you could spend a week in a small Wyoming town and have your own immersive experience. I don't know whether the author expanded the horizons of this western town in later books, but with a start like this I probably won't be finding out on my time. 

  • Emily
    2019-03-30 16:51

    3.5 starsI started this on audio, but about halfway through, I switched to print format. Nothing against the reader-I just needed to start a different audiobook. I wasn't super impressed with the beginning of the book and some of the boneheaded decisions made by the main character. It did get better, though, and I blew through the second half. The mystery was fairly predictable, and the blackhats were pretty obvious. It was still an exciting read once the action picked up in the second half. I also liked it that Joe's a family man and that we get his daughter Sheridan's point of view. This is my husband's and my dad's favorite mystery series, so I'm more inclined to give it chance and read more. It took me three books before I was sold on The Dresden Files, and that's one of my favorites now. I'll be seeing Joe Pickett again soon.

  • Sadie Forsythe
    2019-04-04 22:42

    This is by no means a perfect book. There are a few helpful coincidences and I thought Box's use of male philandering and suggestions of sexual predation to emphasize who is good and who is bad was clumsy to say the least. It wouldn't pass the bechdel test unless you count the children, and the seven-year-old is maybe just a little too smart to be realistic. But I simply enjoyed Joe Pickett and his family. This is not a new book, first published in 2001. And maybe 15 years ago the alpha male trope wasn't as popular as it is now, but it's so refreshing to encounter a male main character, who has a fairly über manly job but isn't an alpha jerk. Joe considers his family his anchor. He adores his wife and kids. He cooks pancakes in his bathrobe and isn't bothered that his quite, considered manner makes him come across as slow at times. He's the guy that always does the right thing, even when it's hard and everyone around him is telling him not to bother. I just really liked him. I also thought, with #NoDAPL (the protests against the building of an oil pipeline under the Missouri River) in the media, the plot here was quite timely. The writing was lovely and I think it prompted some interesting discussion on The Endangered Species Act. For those who pick up this new edition, read the introduction after the book. Box discusses how he chose certain aspects of the plot and it provides enough clues that it kind of gave away some things for me. If in no other way, by telling me what was important enough to pay attention to, instead of it coming to light in the course of the narrative. All in all, however, a win for me.

  • CJ Scurria
    2019-04-08 18:26

    Joe Pickett, the new game warden the people in Wyoming give no notice or respect, finds a crime literally in his own back yard. Having no authority to investigate Joe still takes it into his own hands to find out why and how a person with an endangered species ended up murdered. But as he fights for the truth he puts his credibility, his job, and his family's well-being on the line.I admit I had no idea what I would get into reading this book. I was a little surprised the book thrusts the reader straight into the action instead of building up to the premise in its introduction. Looking back this keeps one glued to the thrills leading to the eventual reveal of the book's mystery.I also was caught a little off guard at Box's writing style as it is mostly simple but most of the time effective. It reveals a great variety of characters each interesting and believable.I actually found myself admiring Joe Pickett's stubbornness and devotion to his wife (as well as hers to him) as well. While he is strict in his rules for his job, he shows a humility and his limits that although make him not so heroic I could see people wishing they would be like him.Overall I found this book with its many twists well-done. A good thriller and though I found at least some motive a little easy to see coming when it came to the story, I would recommend it to anyone who would brush past certain aspects about hunting and see it for what it is: A good mystery thriller.

  • Marleen
    2019-04-05 16:40

    This first Joe Pickett book was interesting enough and certainly contains one of the most thrilling last chapters I read in a while – in a mystery novel that is.Joe Pickett is a game warden with the Game & Fish department in Wyoming. Joe’s a straight arrow and he loves his job. He dedicates all his time between his work and his family. He has two little daughters, Sheridan and Lucy and his supportive & loving wife, Marybeth is expecting their third child. Sheridan, the oldest little girl (7 years old) will play an important role in this story. She’s a precautious child who truly loves animals and makes a discovery that will be key to the denouement. In all honestly I have to admit, that because this story moved so very slow for the first 200 pages, and because Joe’s such an affable guy, I wasn’t expecting the last chapters to be so exciting. Also, I knew before Joe knew WHO was framing him - and who the bad guys were. But when Joe finally starts to put things together, he’s a force to reckon with, all affability is gone. The Wyoming scenery is fascinating, and the outdoors life of a game warden was very well depicted. I liked Joe’s musings and his view on preserving the balance between nature and men in his beautiful state of Wyoming.I’m glad I persevered and eventually liked this book.

  • Ron
    2019-04-13 15:52

    You gotta love Joe Pickett. He's a decent man who loves his job as a game warden in northern Wyoming, while taking time to be a good husband and father. He doesn't have a drinking problem, a history of failed marriages, or a checkered past to live down. What makes him three-dimensional is his tendency to make a mistake now and then, as happens in the opening pages when his gun is taken from him by a man he's trying to arrest for poaching. He's a little too trusting, and it's easy to keep a step or two ahead of him as he figures out the skullduggery that has produced a dead body in his backyard.I loved the first two-thirds of the novel. The characters from the town are believable and Box seems familiar with the small-town social milieu they are drawn from. However, things go way wrong in the last third. Box cranks up the melodrama and lays on the suspense with a much too heavy hand. Most disappointing is the final revelation of culpability and the supposed motivation for the culprit's behavior. A reader can easily anticipate a more sophisticated set of circumstances to account for the crimes that have taken place.OK, it's the first Joe Pickett novel, and Box probably gets better as a storyteller in later stories. I'll no doubt read another one, just because I like Joe. But I'm hoping Box gives him a more plausible plot the next time around.