Summary and book reviews of Winterkill: A Joe Pickett Novel by C.J. Box

Winterkill: A Joe Pickett Novel

By C.J. Box

Winterkill: A Joe Pickett Novel
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  • Hardcover: May 2003,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Jul 2004,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary

It's an hour away from darkness with a bitter winter storm raging when Joe Pickett finds himself deep in the forest edging Battle Mountain, shotgun in his left hand, his truck's steering wheel handcuffed to his right--and Lamar Gardiner's arrow-riddled corpse splayed against the tree in front of him.

Lamar's murder and the sudden onslaught of the snowstorm warns: Get off the mountain. But Joe knows this episode is far from over. Somewhere in the dense timber, a killer draws back his bowstring--with Joe as his prey.

Joe's pursuit of the killer through the rugged mountains that surround the snow-packed town of Saddlestring takes a horrifying turn when his beloved foster daughter is kidnapped. Now it's personal--and Joe will stop at nothing to get her back.

Steeped in the sharp cliffs and the brutal wilderness of the Wyoming landscape, Winterkill is a masterful performance, darkly compelling and utterly unforgettable. C. J. Box places all the elements of a classic mystery in a setting where the dangerous beauty of one of America's last frontiers plays accomplice to the darkest of human motives.

win·ter·kill [wíntr kìl ] vti
to die, or cause a plant, animal, fish, or other living being/organism to die, from lack of adequate protection from winter weather conditions

Chapter One
Twelve Sleep County, Wyoming
A storm was coming to the Bighorn Mountains.

It was late December, four days before Christmas, the last week of the elk hunting season. Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett was in his green four-wheel drive pickup, parked just below the tree line in the southern Wolf range. The terrain he was patrolling was an enormous wooded bowl, and Joe was just below the eastern rim. The sea of dark pines in the bowl was interspersed with ancient clear-cuts and mountain meadows, and set off by knuckle-like granite ridges that defined each small drainage. Beyond the rim to the west was Battle Mountain, separated from the Wolf range by Crazy Woman Creek, which flowed, eventually, into the Twelve Sleep River.

It was two hours away from nightfall, but the sky ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

The loose ends that make this the least satisfactory of Joe's three cases to date still don't inhibit Box's gift for nonstop action and his ability to see every side of the most divisive issues in the West.

Publishers Weekly

Box's description of the harsh yet splendid Wyoming landscape is vivid and memorable, his handling of complex social issues evenhanded and unsentimental. But most of his characters tend to be either two-dimensional villains or saints, and in each book the life of a member of Pickett's family is threatened.

Library Journal - Rebecca Stankowski

Box's latest novel once again centers around the environment and land management, adding a dose of realism to the rough-and-tumble action, which works well with the realistic characters and Western setting. Recommended, especially for fans of Nevada Barr and Tony Hillerman.

Booklist - Bill Ott

Starred Review. Pickett is our voice for decency in the wilderness, but he’s getting steadily angrier. A superb mystery series with an urgent message for troubled times.

BookPage

Our Tip of the Ice Pick Award for May goes to C.J. Box for Winterkill, his third installment in the series featuring Game Warden Joe Pickett....Folks familiar with the massacres at Waco and Ruby Ridge will find eerie parallels in Winterkill, and it is extremely difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys without a cheat sheet.

USA Today

Box's advantage is how well he describes winter in Wyoming. Some books about food can whet your appetite. Winterkill will have you grabbing another blanket.

South Florida Sun-Sentinal (AP) - Oline H. Cogdill

Few mystery authors who use the environment as a plot foundation are as even-handed and clear-eyed in their approach as C.J. Box. He has established a solid reputation for keeping a balance between environmental and human issues - as well as rip-roaring plots - in a writing career that is just revving up....Box puts a contemporary spin on the old-fashioned western in Winterkill.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Jeremmy C Shea

Pickett is a vivid example of the pioneer ethic, an ambivalent mixture of respect for the diminishing wilderness and bitter resentment of federal law enforcement.

New York Times Book Review - Charles Wilson

The book leaves you hoping that between Tibbs and Woods lies a third way for the American West; an approach to environmental policy that is diligent, that understands the culture that it is seeking to transform and that also -- like this jaunty and thought-provoking novel -- is serious in purpose but doesn't take itself too seriously.

Boulder Daily Camera - Chuck Brownman

Lively new Box mystery tangles with federal power and parental rights... Joe Pickett is a character that a reader can enjoy spending time with, and the issues raised are close to home and provocative. C. J. Box continues to get better with each book he writes.

Boulder Daily Camera - Chuck Brownman

Lively new Box mystery tangles with federal power and parental rights... Joe Pickett is a character that a reader can enjoy spending time with, and the issues raised are close to home and provocative. C. J. Box continues to get better with each book he writes.

The Washington Post - Patrick Anderson

Box provides exquisite descriptions of the falcons that one character has trained, and he delineates Pickett's wife and daughters with skill. His story moves smoothly and suspensefully to the showdown between Pickett and the reckless federal officials who have invaded his world.

Jackson (MS) County Ledger

If Nevada Barr were a guy, she might write like C. J. Box...Winterkill is the jewel in C. J. Box's writing crown.

Rocky Mountain News - Jane Dickinson

Westerners and lovers of things Western, rejoice - there's a new book out by Wyoming writer C.J. Box, and it's a doozy...Winterkill proves that Box, winner of Anthony and Macavity awards for his first novel Open Season, is one of the best new voices in the mystery game.

Book Magazine (Four Stars - Great) - Mchael Phillips

Box isn't afraid to take risks with his characters, who are subjected here to plenty of brutality, both physical and emotional.

Bookreporter.com - Ava Dianne Day

The most remarkable thing about Winterkill is the way C.J. Box pulls you into Joe Pickett's world so thoroughly, so immediately, that you will neither want to leave it nor care to remember your own world until you've finished the book. You can read it in one night or a couple of days at most --- but what you've read will stay with you far longer. This is an author with something important to say, letting his characters do it for him. His books add a new dimension not just to mysteries, but to the whole literary scene in our country. Winterkill is a must-read.

Reader Reviews
S.L.B.

A good,really good winter book
I have just finished reading 'Winterkill' and couldn't wait to write my review! I found this book on your site and checked it out of the libary! This book captivated me from the very beggining to the end,I would have given it a five but...well,I ...   Read More

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