Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett knew local resident Butch Roberson. At least he thought he did. Joe Pickett knew something was off with him when he encountered Butch Roberson on the Big Stream Ranch in the Bighorn Mountains. The owner of Meadowlark Construction in nearby Saddlestring had a large backpack–far larger than it should have been– and a rifle. He claimed he was out scouting elk, but Joe figures Butch was responsible for cutting the nearby barbed wire fence. After Butch commits to taking care of the fence problem, Joe watched as the man heads deeper into the woods out of sight. He had no reason to stop him and will soon wish he had.


It is only when he gets back to his department issued truck and hears the chatter over the radio that Joe Pickett knows he is about to be in trouble again. Two armed agents of the EPA are missing and presumed dead. Butch is the number one suspect based on the fact the agents were coming to serve papers on him regarding violations of EPA regulations on the track of land that was to hold the family dream home. As federal resources are mobilized to catch the fugitive in ways he never thought possible by his own government, Joe is forced to assist with the manhunt.


Politics has been an increasing theme in this series and is especially prevalent here. Using the real life case of Mike and Chantelle Sackett of Nordman, Idaho as a back drop to events in this book as well as inspiration for the fictional story, author C. J. Box brings to light how far federal overreach can go in this day of armed EPA agents and elite EPA swat teams. Those who believe this sort of thing can’t happen would do well to do some research on the matter.


The ramifications, in reality as in fiction, are many and worth considering. Breaking Point: A Joe Pickett Novel is a compelling mystery that blends fact with fiction and illustrates how things can easily spiral out of control thanks to all too powerful government bureaucrats. One needs to remember this is a work of fiction though one wonders just how much longer it will be fiction only.


Breaking Point: A Joe Pickett Novel

C. J. Box


G. P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin Group USA)


March 2013



370 Pages




Material Supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

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