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Sunday, August 31, 2014

FORCE of NATURE (Joe Pickett #12) by C.J. Box

    The Series Continues in Its Winning Ways

Originally published in March of 2011

I am a giant fan of C.J. Box and have been ever since a fan of Robert Crais left a comment on one of my reviews of an Elvis Cole book that told me to check out C.J. Box's Joe Pickett series. I am now happily, but haphazardly, working my way through the series. 

Because I am bouncing around, I already knew a lot about Nate Romanowski before I read this book. I don't know if my approach to the series has caused this, but I am not a fan of the Romanowski character. I suppose it's a staple of the genre - the principled good guy has a rougher, tougher guy who has his back. Elvis Cole has Joe Pike. Spenser has Hawk. Heck, I guess you could even note that Han Solo has Chewbacca. Despite the long history of this type of character, I would just as soon read more about good but not overly tough guy Pickett than his nearly unstoppable buddy.

That being said, this is still a really good book.

The attacks on Nate Romanowski that began in Cold Wind (Joe Pickett #11) continue and ultimately come to a head in Force of Nature. Those unrelenting attacks are the focus of the book and I would consider this book to be much more of a Nate Romanowski book than a Joe Pickett book. 

Romanowski is forced to confront the man who is sending professional hit teams after him and the reader is introduced to Romanowski's childhood, some of his training and his deepest secret - the secret that threatens to consume his soul. Meanwhile, Romanowski's enemy is looking for any weaknesses, including his attachment to the family of a certain Wyoming Game Warden...

Box is able to tell this story with all of its emphasis on weapons and techniques without making it go over the reader's head. He makes the world of the special operator seem both arcane and approachable. 

Here is Romanowski talking to Joe Pickett in a nice line from the book: "You've got a beautiful wife, great daughters, and a house with a picket fence. I know it sounds trite, but there are assholes out there who think my life is hard, but it isn't. Anybody can keep to themselves and be selfish. What you do every day is hard, Joe. Staying true and loyal, man, that's not the easy path. I admire what you've got..." (p. 93)

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.
Reviewed on August 31, 2014.

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