I’m a latecomer to the Joe Pickett series of books, but that’s okay – you really don’t have to know much about the characters in this book.
Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett is called to ranch to investigate what might be an animal carcass out by a distant fence. It turns out to be the burned body of a neighbor – a loner who worked as a fishing guide. Shortly before the call, Marybeth Pickett, Joe’s wife – the head librarian in town – discovers an unusual parcel outside the library door. It turns out to be the photo album of a Nazi from World War II.
While Joe tries to uncover more information about what appears to be the murder of the local guide, Marybeth pages through the album. She’s curious as to who dropped it off, why, and what, if any, significance there is to the figures in the album.
About the time they learn that the deceased man was the son of a WWII soldier who was part of a group of soldiers who fought to The Eagles Nest – Hitler’s retreat in the Alps – an old friend is also murdered. The friend, an elderly woman, seems to have no connection with either the deceased man or the photo album. If Joe and Marybeth can’t figure out a connection soon, could they or their children who have gathered for Thanksgiving be the next targets?
Meanwhile, Nate Romanowski is in Colorado tracking down the man who stole his falcons.
This is a fast-paced mystery/thriller. It’s a good weekend beach or cabin read.
The threat to Joe and his family is a little bit tepid. Although we have a few bodies, we have a few scenes with the bad guys and the just don’t come across as either terribly efficient or threatening. Marybeth even sees one of them and after a short stare down, he runs off. Their resulting capture (can it be a spoiler if you know that Pickett is going to come out on top?) is pretty anti-climactic.
The Nate story, however, feels quite involved and we’re less sure how this will turn out. This is the one area where prior knowledge of the happenings in early books might come in handy. There were a couple of times I wasn’t sure at all why things were happening here.
The writing is classic ‘modern best-seller.’ It draws you and the action never stops. The characters are all real clear. You know who’s good, who’s bad, who’s a waste of time, who’s unpredictable, etc. You also know things are going to turn out well for the protagonist(s) – the fun is in reading how they get there. But this is also the sort of book that you won’t spend any time thinking about once you’re done reading it.
Looking for a good book? Shadows Reel by C. J. Box is a quick read and should keep you comfortably occupied for a couple of hours.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: C. J. Box
series: Joe Pickett #22
publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
hardcover, 354 pages