It's hours away from darkness with a bitter winter storm raging when Joe Pickett finds himself deep in the forest edging Battle Mountain, shotgun in his left hand, his truck's steering wheel handcuffed to his right - and Lamar Gardiner's arrow-riddled corpse splayed against the tree in front of him. Lamar's murder and the sudden onslaught of the ...Read MoreIt's hours away from darkness with a bitter winter storm raging when Joe Pickett finds himself deep in the forest edging Battle Mountain, shotgun in his left hand, his truck's steering wheel handcuffed to his right - and Lamar Gardiner's arrow-riddled corpse splayed against the tree in front of him. Lamar's murder and the sudden onslaught of the snowstorm warns: Get off the mountain. But Joe knows this episode is far from over. Somewhere in the dense timber, a killer draws back his bowstring - with Joe as his prey. Joe's pursuit of the killer through the rugged mountain that surrounds the snow-packed town of Saddle-string takes a horrifying turn when his beloved foster daughter is kidnapped. Now it's personal - and Joe will stop at nothing to get her back. Steeped in the sharp cliffs and the brutal wilderness of the Wyoming landscape, Winterkill is a masterful performance, darkly compelling and utterly unforgettable. With prose that 'tears forward like a brushfire' (People), C.J. Box places all the elements of a classic mystery in a setting where the dangerous beauty of one of America's last frontiers play accomplice to the darkest of human motives.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2003-07-07 Box's stalwart prison warden, Joe Pickett, is put to the test in his third grueling adventure in the Wyoming mountain wilderness. First, one of his prisoners escapes and winds up murdered by person or persons unknown. Then a group of militant survivalists who call themselves Sovereigns camp out in Pickett's territory. One of them, the birth mother of his foster child, April, has successfully petitioned the court to reclaim the little girl. Adding to Pickett's woes is a trio of lunatic lawpersons: the thick-headed local sheriff, a sociopathic Forest Service investigator and an FBI special agent who, having been on the front lines at Ruby Ridge and Waco, can't wait to try out his state-of-the-art weaponry on the Sovereigns. As if Pickett's backpack weren't already overloaded, he also has to make do with one of the worst snowstorms the area has seen in years. Reader Gautreau's bare-bones narration helps to minimize the melodrama. His odd, halting delivery is initially off-putting. Eventually, though, listeners will realize he has created a voice to match the novel's mood, the rural, rugged, tight-lipped, think-before-you-speak quality that Box has bestowed on his very human, likable and hard-pressed hero. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Forecasts, Apr. 7). (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-04-07 Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett runs into trouble again in Box's third fast-paced novel (after Open Season and Savage Run), which focuses on the conflict between parental custody and foster care, as well as the growth of "independent nation" cults. As usual, Pickett, though fallible, is the voice of reason and honesty amid a cacophony of greed and evil. During a horrendous blizzard, he finds the body of Lamar Gardiner, "the District Supervisor for the Twelve Sleep National Forest," pinned by arrows to a tree, near seven illegally shot elk. Sheriff "Bud" Barnum suspects a band of misfits, the Sovereign Citizens, which is camping in the forest, among them Jeannie Keeley, the birth mother of the Picketts' foster daughter, April. Pickett suspects locals killed the combative Gardiner. Soon, the little town of Saddlestring is swarming with press, as well as U.S. Forest Service bureaucrats, including the psychotic Melinda Strickland, and two vicious FBI agents. When Pickett learns of a plan to raid the encampment, he resolves to warn the Sovereigns, especially since Jeannie has April there. Box's description of the harsh yet splendid Wyoming landscape is vivid and memorable, his handling of complex social issues evenhanded and unsentimental. But most of his characters tend to be either two-dimensional villains or saints, and in each book the life of a member of Pickett's family is threatened. Box needs to develop more believable characters to realize his potential as an outstanding new talent. Agent, Andy Whelchel. (May 12) Forecast: With a 25-city author tour driving a big promotional push, this one should continue to build on the numbers established by the first two books in the series. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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