Since this series is so different from the other crime investigation and police procedural novels that I favor, is very difficult to rank. It really stands by itself. Stands out really.
When Joe Picket rescued the stranded men from the raging forest fire.
I've listened to most of the novels in this series and to me Chandler has become Joe Picket.
The last few minutes, when Picket reveals what really happened that awful day in the Wyoming mountains.
When I was heard about this series, I thought Joe Picket was a forest ranger (fire look-out type) and it did not seem to be very interesting. But I was told I would probably like the novels. they were different than the usual crime fare. So I listened to "Cold Wind" (#11). Boy was I mistaken. Joe Picket is a game warden that is a first class detective and police officer. Now I wish that I had started in the beginning. The series is very chronological and I'm not sure I'll be able to go back and start at the beginning. C.J. Box keeps writing a new one and I don't have time to listen to any older ones.
No. What a missed opportunity!
If only this book sought to reveal a situation in which a family breaks under the pressure of bureaucracy, it would illuminate the potential for abuse in our system. Instead, it attempts to generalize, portraying federal Government employees as rich, ruthless opportunists as a rule. Instead of making a profound point, the story is just plain silly. The EPA is roundly depicted as EEEEVVVVILLLL...their mustaches twirling so fast they could create a windstorm (for which they would penalize hard-working honest Americans).
This book might have made a worthy political point. Instead it grinds its axe to t sawdust and its' commentary to parody. It's caricatures are so heightened it occasionally felt more like a Jon Stewart riff than like the critique it's attempting to be.
I love buying books on the basis of customer reviews. It's fun to dive in on the basis of fans. Only occasionally does this lead to a ratings skew from true believers. I believe all avid readers have experienced this, regardless of their leanings. It's difficult to distinguish story from polemic based on the book description.
Each time, it's a bummer. Isn't there a way to declare this sub genre for what it is instead of allowing consumers to believe it represents the genre it claims to be?
The women lisp.
I liked it at first. I love characters who are set in their ways, who have beef with one thing or another... that makes for great storytelling. When it's about the character. Not so, here.
Here, the protagonist is a game warden who bridges several (potentially terrifically interesting) gaps: public service and law enforcement,a state employee who is suspicious of government institutions.
What a tremendous premise! If only the character were to embody those leanings as a function of character and it hadn't become clear that the author was the one with a bias... character be damned. Ultimately, story recedes to mere rant.
Well...take this as an endorsement or a caution, depending:
The antagonist is an EPA agent enraged at not having his solar panels approved by his home owner's association (I'm not kidding)takes his vengeance by destroying the lives of hard-working Americans who are just trying to do the right thing. Government (vs state) employees are depicted as being unilaterally wealthy, vengeful, shiftless and cruel. Vigilante behavior (though understandable in the context of the story, which is the point) is depicted as a brave commitment to principle.
Did I mention the villain is also a white guy named John Owen Pate who, upon his mother's remarriage, took advantage of her new husband's "more exotic" surname and changed his name to Juan Julio Batista - to "take advantage of policies to promote people of color."
Yep. The fact that this is represented as commentary on those policies and not on the jerk taking false advantage of them...is absurdly clear.
Ick. Not a narrative, a rant. The author lost control of his emotion and thereby his story.
Not much. Who wants politics when reading entertainment especially when nothing in the description leads you to believe that's the purpose
If you're a right wing wack job you'll love it. The author rails against the EPA, asbestos removal laws, lead paint removal laws...basically anything that's there to protect the environment because he must figure no regulation is best. So the story is cloaked in this political BS point of view. A real turn off. If I wanted political ranting I would go elsewhere...I don't want it in books I read for entertainment. Had to stop listening. The performance is top rate however.
I'd be surprised if anyone could enjoy this book.
It is a rant against any type of government regulation and the story is totally unbelievable. I could not bring myself to finish the listen.
No redeeming qualities, unlike earlier Joe Pike books.
Joe Pickett is a nice man in a corrupt, politicized system. Joe struggles to hold onto his moral values and his family. Nice details, good character development. Narrator keeps it interesting while capturing Joe's mellow style.
Love a good mystery, but don't care much for pure thrillers.
I can't really explain why I love this series. Joe is a superhero in disguise-the last man standing in a world of principle corrupted by bad guys and politicized bureaucrats. The author's descriptions of the great outdoors are wonderful, and his extreme characters lovable, despicable, and unreal. This is a good mystery, and we are given enough hints that, if one is paying attention, one won't be so surprised by the turn of events. On the other hand, when I see what some Members of Congress believe and how they behave, how cynical government workers become, how greed trumps the common good, I begin to think that the so-called real world has come to resemble this comic book.
The book mentions and is loosely based on the SCOTUS case, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency. It was decided in March 21, 2012, in favor of Sackett's right to appeal the EPA compliance order. I have not heard about further developments since the case was remanded to district court.
I have enjoyed C.J. Box over the years, and this is an excellent example of the storytelling. The character is flawed but entirely moral. Some of his decisions get him embroiled in trouble, but he is so real. His relationships with coworkers, wife, daughter, and friends, move the plot along and keep the reader engrossed. His frustrations with those in power and their inability to act logically are mirrored in all our lives.
He adds the Western locale and the politics of the lone man that I don't usually agree with or think about, but in this context the politics are powerful and moving. It's man against nature, and it's about men trying to do right when all around them men are following rules that don't make sense and abusing power without thought for how their actions affect others or worse, abusing power with deliberate malice.
I haven't read the print version.
floating down the Middle Fork
the mule deer buck leaping into the rive
I always enjoy CJ Box's books. He and I are both from Wyoming; he knows the state and the environmental issues we face. He does a great job setting a mystery in this land of "forever west".
Trade publications and "professional" reviewers say this is the best book in the series. I'm not sure because there absolutely are no bad installments in the Joe Pickett story. This is the kind of book I try to listen to as slowly as possible, but it never works. In spite of the negative light Box paints the EPA and the federal government in general, the politics are never heavy handled or preachy. I'll listen to this again.