'When a high-powered bullet hits living flesh, it makes a distinctive - pow-WHOP - sound that is unmistakable even at a tremendous distance.' And so it begins for Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden who, with the shot of a rifle, is thrust into a race to save not only an endangered species, but also the life and the family he loves. Joe Pickett is ...
'When a high-powered bullet hits living flesh, it makes a distinctive - pow-WHOP - sound that is unmistakable even at a tremendous distance.' And so it begins for Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden who, with the shot of a rifle, is thrust into a race to save not only an endangered species, but also the life and the family he loves. Joe Pickett is the new game warden at Twelve Sleep, Wyoming, a town where nearly everyone hunts and the game warden - especially one like Joe, 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, Joe takes it personally. There had to be a reason that the outfitter, with whom he'd had run-ins before, chose Joe's backyard woodpile to die on. Even when the 'outfitter murders', as they have been dubbed by the local press after the discovery of two more bodies, are quickly solved, Joe continues to investigate, uncomfortable with the easy explanation offered by the local police. As Joe digs deeper, he discovers that the outfitter brought more than death to his back door; he brought Joe an endangered species, thought to be extinct, which is now living in his woodpile. If word of this gets out, it will destroy any chance for InterWest, a multinational company, to build a natural gas pipeline across the state. The closer Joe comes to the truth behind the outfitter murders, the endangered species, and InterWest, the closer he comes to losing everything and everyone he holds dear.
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-02 Enthusiastic blurbs even from luminaries such as Tony Hillerman, Les Standiford and Loren Estleman can sometimes leave readers feeling as if they must have read a different book altogether. Not this time. Box's superb debut, the first in a series introducing Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, should immediately make him a contender for best first novel or even best novel awards. Young Joe is struggling to fill the shoes of his mentor, legendary Vern Dunnegan, as warden of Twelve Sleep County, and trying to support his wife and growing family on the meager salary he makes. The hours are long, the work hard but satisfying, and Joe's honesty and integrity would pay off if he could avoid "bonehead moves" like ticketing the governor of the state for fishing without a license, for instance, or allowing a poacher to grab Joe's firearm from him. When that very same poacher turns up dead and bloodied in Joe's woodpile with only a cooler containing unidentified animal scat, his life, livelihood and family will never be the same. Upping the excitement are a couple of murders, local political and bureaucratic intrigue, a high-stakes pipeline scheme and an endangered species that Joe's eldest daughter "discovers." No one has done a better job of portraying the odd combination of hardy and foolhardy folk that make their homes in Wyoming's wilderness areas, or of describing the dichotomy between those who want to develop the area and those who want to preserve it. Without resorting to simplistic blacks and whites, Box fuses ecological themes, vibrant descriptions of Wyoming's wonders and peculiarities, and fully fleshed characters into a debut of riveting tensions. Meet Joe Pickett: he's going to be a mystery star. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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