"Exciting take of modern western justice"
There are only fifty-five Game Wardens to cover the state
of Wyoming. Joe Picket's district consists of 1,500 square
miles, but he spots a hunter illegally kill a bunch of
elks. When he apprehends the suspect he is shocked to
discover it is Lamar Gardiner, the District Supervisor for
the Twelve-Sleep National Forest. Lamar escapes, but when
the game warden finds him again, he is dead, stuck to a
tree by the arrows that killed him.
His death brings to town Melinda Strickland, a high-ranking
Forest Service official heading a task force to keep anti-
government groups off federal land. The Sovereigns,
dissenters from Waco, Ruby Ridge and the Montana Freemen,
stake out a piece of land on Battle Mountain, which they
rename the Sovereign Citizen Compound. Among them is the
mother of Joe's foster daughter who has a court order to
take custody of April. She legally takes April to the
compound. The situation is volatile because Strickland and
the FBI plan to oust the Sovereigns from the compound,
using force if necessary, and Joe fears that his beloved
foster child will become caught in the crossfire.
In WINTERKILL there is a paradigm switch because the
supposed good guys act like criminals while the radicals
act like peace loving citizens in need of refuge. The
protagonist is constantly torn between law and justice
making him willing to try anything to prevent the crisis
from reaching a boiling point. Though one sided, C.J. Box
takes aim at rogue agents in the Federal government by
showing the damage they can do if they are not fired at the
first hint of wrong doing. This is an exciting take of
modern western justice.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted April 10, 2003
Award-winning writer C. J. Box returns with a vengeance in
this thrilling new novel featuring Wyoming game warden Joe
It's an hour 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 mountains
that surround the snow-packed town of Saddlestring 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.
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 plays accomplice to the darkest of human motives.