Thursday, June 09, 2011

The novel opens with when game warden Will Jensen is found dead in his home in Jackson Wyoming. The result apparently of an apparent suicide. Joe Pickett a fellow game warden is sent to replace Will. Knowing Jensen as he does Joe remains convinced that there’s more to the game wardens death than meets the eye!

Unlike most protagonists of private detective novels Joe Pickett is a mild mannered, happily married, apparently problem free individual with two daughters who only wants to live a quiet life. He has no vices and goes to bed by 10.30.

While many may find this ordinariness boring it is the one ingredient which makes us root for the protagonist. Joe is faithful to friends and family and has never strayed from his wife, though when he meets the alluring Stella Ennis he is tempted.

In the past he has fallen foul of his superiors and one of them Randy Pope sets out to deliberately make life as difficult as possible for Pickett.

Joe Pickett is the quintessential small government employee, underpaid and underappreciated. He is up against rich and powerful men who will stop at nothing developing and despoiling the Wyoming countryside to further their own profit.

Throw into the mix militant ecological protestors and hunters who feel that they can no longer operate in the countryside without getting tied up in red tape and you have an extremely explosive environment for Joe to operate in.

Pickett has sympathy for the hunters some of whom have operated in Wyoming for generations but understands the necessity of policing the area to ensure that government regulations are adhered to.

Like his creator CJ Box, Joe Pickett has a tremendous love of the mid-western countryside. His descriptions of the Teton mountains are amazing without going overboard.

Out of Range by C.J. Box is the fifth in the series of Joe Pickett novels.


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