Wolf Pack
C.J. Box
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Buy *Wolf Pack (A Joe Pickett Novel)* by C.J. Box online

Wolf Pack (A Joe Pickett Novel)
C.J. Box
384 pages
March 2019
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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After his last messy case, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is finally able to put the pieces of his life together, reinstalled as game warden in Saddlestring, in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains, happy to return to his regular duties. If only. Before long, Pickett is contacted by fellow ranger Caitlin Hamm, who is concerned with her discovery of a drone harassing and stampeding herds, causing harm to the frightened animals in her patch, Shell District. The two wardens devise a plan to track down the drone operator.

Protecting the wilderness and the roles of game wardens are important elements in the Pickett series, rangers establishing control and protection, especially during hunting season. The vast terrain of the Bighorn mountains offers many opportunities for those who would exploit and profit from illegal activities. The appearance of the intrusive drone is one more way that the world of technology intrudes upon nature's bounty, oblivious to damage. The rangers are quick to pursue this latest infringement.

Meanwhile, in Scottsdale, Arizona, a different kind of trouble is brewing, a group of brazen killers searching for a man named Ernie Mecca. These traveling miscreants will eventually arrive in Wyoming, where they dispense a swath of mayhem that will require all of Pickett's resources--including his friend Nate Romanowski, a master falconer and devoted outlier. While Romanowski has had his struggles with the law before, mainly the DOJ and the FBI (enhanced by Special Agents of Special Task Forces to offer the government's perspective), he is Pickett's most valuable asset in a fight.

Box has developed an intriguing protagonist in his ranger Joe Pickett, his love of the Wyoming wilderness and wrangling a family of daughters with wife Marybeth, who frequently does research for Joe from her position at the Twelve Sleep Public Library. It's not uncommon for career and family to mix into Pickett's cases, nor is it unusual for Joe to need the assistance of his friend Nate. In Wolf Pack, the family is mostly peripheral to the evolving drama, though Romanowski does pitch in when needed.

In Wolf Pack, Joe faces an unexpected and explosive intrusion into the heart of Saddlestring, the ranger nearly colliding with trigger-happy adversaries who kill with impunity. The violence of the outside world intrudes, a reminder that nature has little defense against the lawlessness of men. One more time, Box fashions a thriller of men and madness, Joe Pickett and his trusted men rising to meet the threat on their doorstep, replete with betrayals and ruthless killers. Joe's long history with the land he loves provides the backdrop for a life-and-death battle for survival. Joe and Nate are at their surest side by side when trouble comes their way.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Luan Gaines, 2019

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