Life can be fleeting in the mountains of Wyoming and Game Warden Joe Pickett knows that all too well. Humans also have an amazing ability to be incredibly cruel. The most recent example is scattered on the ground around him on an otherwise beautiful mid-March day. Everywhere he looks he sees feathers, blood, shells, and the bodies of at least 21 dead sage grouse. Nearby a few wounded survivors who will not last much longer move around. Known to many as “Prairie Chickens” these helpless birds were wiped out sometime very recently as they went about their springtime rituals.
While Joe Pickett is plenty angry about this senseless slaughter he is about to get much angrier when his friend and Sheriff of Twelve Sleep County, Mike Reed, calls him. One of his deputies has found a young woman in a ditch by the side of an isolated road. The woman has been severely beaten and is barely alive. She also might be Joe’s daughter, April, who left home to travel the rodeo circuit with a local professional rodeo cowboy by the name of Dallas Cates. Dallas was trouble and Joe knew it, but he couldn’t prevent his 18 year old daughter from running off with the dashing cowboy.
It soon becomes very clear that the badly beaten woman in the ditch is April. She has endured serious blunt force trauma and is barely alive. Even if she lives, which is in grave doubt, most likely she has suffered irreversible brain damage. As April fights for life, Joe Pickett works to figure out what happened to his daughter and deal with whomever is responsible.
As one expect in the series, a significant portion of the book deals with a secondary storyline involving the ongoing situation with Nate Romanowski. Repercussions from events detailed in Stone Cold continue here and provide a significant backdrop to the main storyline.
Endangered: A Joe Pickett Novel is the fifteenth book in the Joe Pickett series by author C. J. Box and a mighty good one. Family and the complex relationship between humans and nature have always been a major element in these books and such is the case here. The same is true in the short story collection Shots Fired. At the same time those issues never get in the way of the complex mystery or mysteries contained in each book. If you are new to the series start at the beginning with Open Season and work your way forward as family history is a major part of this great series.
Endangered: A Joe Pickett Novel
C. J. Box
G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Group)
Hardback (also available in e-book and audio)
Material was obtained for my use in an objective review from the good folks of the Plano Library System and specifically the Haggard Branch.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2015