Vicious Circle: A Joe Pickett Novel  begins with Dave Farkus. A man that Game Warden Joe Pickett has dealt with many times before. This time it is because the man has been missing from his hunting camp for over twelve hours and the weather is about to go downhill in a big way thanks to a strong fall snowstorm. Not only is he missing, but two days ago the same Dave Farkus left a rather strange voice mail for Pickett.


At least part of the message has increased the worry for the entire Pickett family. Farkus claimed to have seen Dallas Cates in the local area. Specifically, in their hometown of Saddlestring, Wyoming. If true, that means Dallas is back from the penitentiary and no doubt has revenge on his mind. Threats have been made before, but if Dallas is back that means he can probably follow through on his long stated goal of making the entire family pay and then die. While they all can take precautions, there is little they, or law enforcement, can do until Dallas Cates actually tries to do something. The problem is that he may have gotten smarter while in prison as well as gained some friends to help.


First, Pickett has to find Farkus hopefully in time. In all likelihood, Farkus is dead and that means Pickett has to figure out where Farkus has been, who he talked to, and fill in the blanks. That is an investigation that will take time. If Dallas Cates is pursuing revenge, time is not on the side of the Picketts.


The latest in the series is another good one. There is very little character development and far less scenic descriptions of the Wyoming wilderness. Instead, this is more of a thriller style and where descriptions and explanations are minimized in favor of constant action.


On that level Vicious Circle: A Joe Pickett Novel works very well. All the usual players are back in their customary roles coupled with a couple of new additions that easily could be foils or friends as the situation dictates. But, in pushing the thriller aspects of storytelling, the major role of the wilderness takes a back seat in this read. That is a disappointment as the Wyoming wilderness has always been a primary character in this series. While still present in the read, the wilderness is regulated to a very backseat role throughout the book.


With those quibbles in mind and a reminder to read the series in order, Vicious Circle: A Joe Pickett Novel by C. J. Box is recommended.



Vicious Circle: A Joe Pickett Novel

  1. J. Box

Random House Large Print

March 2017

ISBN# 978-1-5247-5608-6

Large Print Paperback (also currently available in eBook, Hardback, and audio)

480 Pages




Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2017

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