by CJ Box
RELEASE DATE: Feb. 28, 2023
The Wyoming winter brings maverick game warden Joe Pickett poachers, murderers, spies, and some ferocious bad weather.
Seeking a wounded elk and a marauding wolf during a brutal snowstorm, Joe is amazed to discover a human corpse sticking halfway out of a metal outbuilding on the Double Diamond ranch. While he’s conscientiously photographing the crime scene, somebody starts shooting at him. Ranch foreman Clay Hutmacher refuses to say anything about the building’s purpose until he checks with billionaire ranch owner Michael Thompson; Govt. Colter Allen abruptly orders Joe off the case; and departing Twelve Sleep County Sheriff Scott Tibbs, the boss who’d do anything to avoid having Joe make waves, reports that there’s no body at the place he described. Meanwhile, Joe’s old friend Nate Romanowski, an outlaw falconer, is approached by ex–Army Ranger Jason Demo, who’s trying to attract anti-government malcontents to join the secessionist Sovereign Nation, and Joe realizes that his predatory mother-in-law, Missy , is neglecting her fifth or sixth husband, attorney Marcus Hand, who’s dying of pancreatic cancer, to cozy up to Allen, who plans to launch his campaign for re-election at the public library headed by Joe’s wife, Marybeth. What does the death of University of Wyoming engineering professor Zhang Wei, if that’s really who the dead man was, have to do with all of this malfeasance? Like a patient spider, Box plays out plotline after plotline, balancing his sympathies adroitly between anti-establishment libertarians who’ve had enough of the coastal elites and officers sworn to serve and protect their communities, before knotting them all together with a climactic revelation that for better or worse will leave you gasping.
One of the most successful of Box’s increasingly ambitious have-it-all thrillers.
Ad Date: Feb. 28, 2023
Page Count: 368
Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023
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