All Nate Romanowski ever wanted was to be left alone with his secrets and his guilt. He dropped out of society, went off the grid, and vanished into the wilderness. He knew at some point there could be a reckoning. In the last month his good friend, Large Merle, died just after giving him the warning – “The Five. They’ve deployed.”


Now the battle has begun and has come in an unexpected form. Lucky to survive, Nate can’t make any more mistakes. Not only does he have to convince those he loves, such as Game Warden Joe Pickett and his family, to run for their own safety he also has to take the battle to the enemy. The same enemy who trained him all those years ago.


While billed as “A Joe Picket novel” this book is primarily a Nat Romanowski book. Long standing questions regarding his background and behavior are finally answered in detail. The reasons given are complex, compelling, and completely true to character.


Because so much of the book is geared toward Nate Romanowski, Joe Pickett and his family become secondary characters in the work. A couple of recent ongoing storylines continue in this novel but are not developed further.  What little readers see of Joe Pickett and his family is mainly geared towards Joe and Nate’s friendship and trust and repercussions of that.


Force of Nature: A Joe Pickett Novel builds off of events in Cold Wind and does so very well.  However, it is not necessary to have read that book before you read this one though it clearly would be best. Potential readers who are unfamiliar with the series should note that this is one of those series where characters age and evolve as life happens to them. Nothing is static here and hasn’t been since it began long ago in Open Season.



Force of Nature: A Joe Pickett Novel

C. J. Box

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


ISBN# 978-0-399-15826-1


392 Pages




Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. Again this year the summer reading challenge for adults and kids is now underway. For more information go to



Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

More reviews at


Be Sociable, Share!