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Saturday, August 22, 2015

STONE COLD (Joe Pickett #14) by C.J. Box

Originally published in March of 2014.

Installment #13 in the Joe Pickett series left us wondering what Joe would do with himself and how the series could continue. Joe had just quit his job as a Wyoming game warden due to his absolute disgust with a case of government abusing its power and causing an innocent man to be pushed beyond his breaking point.

But, what would Joe Pickett do if he wasn't a game warden? As a practical matter, how would the series even continue? It's not like Joe Pickett and Nate Romanowski could open up a private detective service in rural Wyoming.

So, Joe is back to what he was doing a few books ago - he has been restored as a game warden again but he is working for the governor as a "troubleshooter." He is the governor's one man personal police force, but the governor hasn't called on him for anything...until now.

The governor wants him to discretely look into a mysterious out-of-state man who has moved into north-eastern Wyoming, bought up huge chunks of land and has made himself the most important man in that part of the state. He owns the most land, pays the most taxes, owns the most businesses, has the most employees and basically lives like a medieval lord in that he is above the law. 

On top of that, there are persistent rumors that this man runs a very high-end hit man operation. The targets are always people who arguably deserved it (like a Bernie Madoff, for example) but murder is still murder. Rumor has it that his professional killers stay at his mansion and Joe recognizes one of these hit men in a blurry photo - Nate Romanowski. 

It took a while for this book to get into its main plot line. However, that does not mean that it was wasted time, it was just more carefully laid out. Once Joe makes it out to the Black Hills of Wyoming the story is absolutely riveting. Joe's unerring ability to find trouble pushes the story along as he starts to dig.

I rate this story 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Stone Cold (A Joe Pickett Novel)

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