Stone Cold: A Joe Pickett Novel is the fourteenth book in the series and features the return of both fugitive outlaw Nate Romanowski as well as Game Warden Joe Pickett. While Nate is doing what he has to do to survive and is out of contact with the Picketts, Joe is as well while also worrying about his missing friend. That means when Governor Rulon suddenly demands that he come to Cheyenne and doesn’t care that Joe Pickett hates to fly, he has to go. The hatred of flying is just one of several reasons Joe is not going to like this assignment.
Not that Joe Pickett really has a choice. The only reason he once again has his job as Game Warden is because of Governor Rulon. Not only did Joe keep his seniority in the service, he also got a raise and the title “Special Liaison to The Executive Branch” to go along with it. Joe gets the job done and sometimes the Governor, who has a major independent streak, puts him to work on special projects. This is going to be one of those cases.
For Wyoming Game Wardens being sent to Medicine Wheel County in the far northeastern part of the state is punishment. Beautiful land with few residents, most extremely poor and receiving governmental assistance, it is not a place where a place to advance a career. Those who live in this area also don’t welcome outsiders.
Though they seem to have welcomed a man by the name Wolfgang Templeton. That may have happened because he brought a lot of money to the area which he seems to be running as his personal fiefdom. Half a dozen years ago Templeton showed up from out of nowhere and bought the Sand Creek Ranch. He also bought up plenty of private properties in the area. According to the governor, the Feds think that Templeton is involved in some sort of murder for hire business. While the state folks don’t have any real reason to suspect anything, because of politics they have to be seen as doing something to check it out. A Department of Criminal Investigation agent was recently sent in to investigate and quickly after arrival died under strange circumstances. Governor Rulon wants Pickett to go in undercover by doing his real job check things out. He is to trust no one, including the assigned Game Warden Jim Latta, and to evaluate and report without taking any real action.
The whole deal is a mess and one Joe Pickett does not want any part of. He has enough going on at home with his strong willed daughters and things there are starting to heat up again. But, Joe understands very well he can’t say no to Governor Rulon. Before long Joe is in the deep woods in so many ways.
This latest in the series is another good one. Interesting characters, multiple ongoing storylines that continue book to book, and plenty of mystery and action make this one another compelling read. Author C. J. Box once again brings the beauty of Wyoming alive in a complicated tale that quickly engages the reader or many levels. Stone Cold: A Joe Pickett Novel releases next week and is well worth your time.
Stone Cold: A Joe Pickett Novel
C. J. Box
G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Group)
March 11, 2014 (Scheduled Release)
Hardback (e-book and audio available also)
I was selected to receive an ARC via the Early Readers group on LibraryThing for my use in an objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014
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