In this book, an environmentalist goes on a rampage. His father, who is dying from liver cancer, and who is a Chicago mobster, wants to make right to his family before he dies. So, he picks up his son and a girl who reminds him of his daughter, who is deceased and they travel out west. In order to make things right to his son, who is an environmentalist, he has to eliminate carbon imprint issues, starting with murdering a elderly couple for owning an oversized RV camper. It gets worse from there. Joe Pickett gets involved because the foster child, April, who they thought lost years ago in an FBI attack on a survivalist camp seems to be traveling with them. The story makes sense to me, and the characters make sense also. Maybe some folks want like that an environmentalist will go on the rampage, but who knows what could happens with the right environment.
I have enjoyed this series so far but this book kind of went off the rails. As a piece of fiction, you have to suspend reality a bit when reading these books, but Below Zero really takes it too far. The father and son villains and the way they interact just makes no sense, especially with respect to the father who is a Chicago mobster, but when it comes to his son, he has no backbone whatsoever. A sign of a good book is that you become engrossed in the characters and their personalities. In this case the father/son duo were so unbelievable that I constantly found myself thinking that their dialogue and actions were simply ridiculous.
Likewise, bringing back the April Keeley character is simply too far-fetched. Also, yet another plot regarding environmental extremism. I think the author needs to move away from this topic for a while.
I think the author has brought so many complications, twists and turns into the Pickett family and there myriad of problems and issues, that it has become burdensome to good storytelling. I recognize that conflict is needed to keep things interesting, but all of these plots and issues reminds me of the Jenga game -- pulling one more brick out will tumble the entire structure.
Started reading the Joe Picket series last year. The character development and evolution from book to book is wonderful - makes you feel like part of the family. Tie in sweeping vistas of the wild Wyoming west and wildlife - what's not to like? After a few books where Joe is pretty much on his own, Below Zero involves his family in a big way. The possibility of finding an adopted and loved family member presumed to be dead drives the action. All the favorite characters are there, along with a couple new villains. The whiny pseudo-environmentalist son is so annoying you want to reach inside your reader (or tree book) and slap him upside the head - a tribute to the way CJ Box writes.
For CJ Box fans, this is a 5-star book. If you are not yet a Box fan, I'd recommend starting with the first book in the Joe Picket series so that you can get the full appreciation and enjoyment out of Below Zero. I'm off to buy book #12.
Great book by Box, however this is why I rated it/ the seller a 2: So I'm reading along, enjoying the book, and when I flip the page... BAM part 2. But wait, I was just in the middle of a sentence, this chapter isn't over. Turns out, my book was missing half of chapter 7, and completely omitted chapters 8-9. NOT COOL! So, I kept reading thinking I'll just fill in the blanks as I go, but then a couple chapters later... 2 of the previous chapters were printed AGAIN! They weren't even the missing chapters either. So I enjoyed the book but this print version was completely messed up. Not sure if it was just mine, or there was a whole slew of misprinted books.
I love the Joe Pickett series. I have read all but the newest book, and will be buying that one tomorrow. If you are looking for a fast paced adventure all of the books in this series are very good. I love the characters and family relationships; not to mention the wonderfully complex and fascinating Nate Romanowski character. If you like the outdoors and mountains and the beauty of nature you should not miss any of these books. Mr. Box's writing puts you right there in the middle of Wyoming where the imagery will make you feel like you are actually seeing, smelling, and hearing nature right where you are. When I was told about this series I decided to start at book #1 so that I could know everything about Joe Pickett. I think if you do that you will get more of the back story, but if you start somewhere in the middle of the series I think you will be so intrigued that you will go back to the beginning..
Stick with this book - it grows and what starts out as an implausible story becomes believable once the main antagonist characters are developed.
CJ Box has written another page turner (they all are) with suspense and surprises that tie into current issues. In the case of the current issue on display here - environmental self-flagellation, Box does a good job of taking it to the extreme in this fast moving book full of surprises.
A character thought lost in book three or four of the Joe Pickett story makes a surprising return - and as a very sympathetic figure. Sympathetic at times also is a mobster facing death. He decides to make amends for a lousy life - and ends up blinded by his chance to reconnect with his son to greater evils the scion wants performed as part of the old man's penance.
I've read most of CJ Box's books. This one is one of my favorites. For some reason, I had missed this book which was written earlier than some of his later books that I've already read. Tied some loose ends together that are mentioned in later books. I also enjoyed the location which was also different from his other books. I'm on the list to get CJ Box books notifications so that I can read them as they come out. I like the way his descriptive writing paints a picture of characters and locations. Enjoyable book.