In the 15th novel of Box’s best-selling series (after Stone Cold) Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett and his family face the fear of losing their 18-year-old adopted daughter, April, who has been badly beaten and abandoned in a ditch. While Marybeth waits at her bedside in a Billings hospital, Joe tracks April’s assailant. His chief suspect is rodeo cowboy Dallas Cates, who ran off with April just four months prior. Although another man is arrested, Joe can’t ignore the Cates family, led by matriarch Brenda, who, as Joe discovers, will do anything to protect her family, and especially her favorite child. Intertwined in the unfolding drama is the mysterious killing of a flock, or lek, of sage grouse—a species under consideration for listing as endangered; something many Wyomingites, including Governor Rulon, oppose because it would stop or slow energy development in the state. VERDICT Series fans will love this thriller. The nonstop action, intermingling plotlines, and the return of familiar characters all mesh into a breathless, roller-coaster ride of sheer suspense and entertainment.
[See Prepub Alert, 9/22/14.]—Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community Colls., Mt. Carmel