Box’s last Joe Pickett novel, Breaking Point (2013), left the reader wondering where the story could possibly go next, with Joe having quit his job in disgust at the government. Perhaps Box wondered the same thing: at any rate, the Wyoming game warden has his old job back and is once again on special assignment for Governor Rulon. A mysterious, moneyed landowner is buying up the northeast corner of the state, possibly engaged in murder for hire—and Nate Romanowski, Joe’s enigmatic best friend, just might be involved. After the supercharged fury of the last book, this marks a welcome return to the thing Box does best: putting family man Joe in a dicey situation where, despite his orders to merely observe, his own moral code means he can’t help but light the fuse and see where it leads. Being in unfamiliar territory is familiar territory for Pickett, and corrupt-town scenarios are as old as the hills, but Box uses the ploys for maximum suspense, and readers won’t mind one bit. It’s good to see Pickett writing tickets again.

HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Box is a brand name, and readers would find his books even if they
weren’t heralded by a national tour and promotional blitz—which, of course, this one is.

— Keir Graff