C.J. Box: Open Season

C.J. Box: Open Season

Book 51 on my “March to 100 for 2019″—C.J. Box: Open Season—Murder, politics, and big business threatens young Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett’s world.

As a ten-year-old boy, Joe Pickett camped outdoors often and read fish and game magazines, dreaming of a better life than he and his younger brother shared in their broken family. Now a young adult, he has become a rookie game warden in a remote part of Wyoming.

Unfortunately for Joe, not everything is quite like his dream. The paycheck is too small to support his wife and two young daughters, much less the third child on the way—a fact his mother-in-law is happy to point out. He’s constantly compared to the popular retired game warden by local residents. And his gun is taken away from him by a poacher he cites. Fortunately, the poacher decides to return the gun, but delights in telling the story to other residents in the district. As Joe admits to himself, the gun isn’t much good to him because he doesn’t like wearing it and is a terrible aim if he ever needed to use it.

A few months later, the poacher stumbles into Joe’s yard late one night dying from gunshot wounds. Wondering if the man was trying to tell him something, Joe volunteers to ride out to the outfitter’s camp with another game warden and a deputy sheriff. When they arrive hours later on horseback, they engage in a gun battle and find two more dead bodies after Joe is himself wounded.

Was this a simple case of backwoods violence? Or is a deeper secret being hidden in the Wyoming wilderness? Joe digs into the questions, but meets growing resistance from all sides, including within his own department. Guided mostly by his own solid sense of good and evil, he is unaware his curiosity is threatening his own family’s safety.

Realizing how isolated he has become and not sure who he can trust, Joe has to prepare himself for the ultimate battle.

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