Book by Box C J
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A New York Times Notable Book
One of the Chicago Tribune’s Ten Best Mysteries of 2001
Edgar® Award Nominee for Best First Novel by an American Author
UNPRECEDENTED ACCLAIM FROM CRITICS AND PEERS FOR C. J. BOX’S
“Buy two copies of Open Season, and save one in mint condition to sell to first-edition collectors. C. J. Box is a great storyteller.”
“Intriguing, with a forest setting so treacherous it makes Nevada Barr’s locales look positively comfy, with a motive for murder that is as unique as any in modern fiction. Pickett is a refreshingly human and befuddled hero. . . . But it’s Box’s offbeat way of telling the story that puts it on the best-of-the-year track.”
—Los Angeles Times
“C. J. Box has hit the bull’s-eye his first time up. Open Season explores an honorable man’s love of family and the unflinching measures such a man is willing to take to protect them. Riveting suspense mingles with flashes of cynical back-country humor and makes Box an author to watch. I didn’t want this book to end.”
“C. J. Box . . . certainly knows the Wyoming territory Pickett covers. . . . Pickett is deceptive and complicated himself, a struggling young husband and father who combines eagerness and ambition, strength and fragility into an interesting, original package.”
“Pickett [is] an engaging change from the fast-driving, trigger-happy male heroes of so many contemporary crime novels. . . . What really sets Open Season apart, however, is the author’s ability to incorporate the viewpoints of his hero’s seven-year-old daughter into the story. Box does a very fine job of capturing the heart and fears of a young girl. . . . She is, indeed, an integral part of the story, and she adds a warm counterbalance to the relentless greed of the adults surrounding her. Open Season is a very promising debut.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“A fabulous debut—a great crime novel and a great modern-day western rolled into one. All the elements are here: a tremendous sense of Wyoming’s scenic grandeur, vivid characters, and a high-stakes plot that moves like a rifle bullet. Plus, as a bonus, hero Joe Pickett’s daughter, Sheridan, is the best-written child character I’ve read in a long time. C. J. Box is a keeper, and I for one hope he’ll write a few more like this one—soon.”
“Open Season rings true . . . Box nails the taste and smell of the place, and in the process, creates a sensory experience that can be rare in fast-paced, plot-driven crime fiction—without stalling the plot. He finds a way to weave the mysteries of landscape into the larger mystery at hand . . . Box’s yarn is full of the kind of grittiness a reader can expect from a place where blood and bone are not just the stuff of crime fiction, but of sport and survival, too.”
—The Denver Post
“C. J. Box knows the Wyoming high country inside out, and his protagonist, Game Warden Joe Pickett, is as real and refreshing as they come. This one is a hunting trip and then some.”
“C. J. Box has written a fast-paced, intelligent mystery that draws us into the wide open spaces of Wyoming and introduces a memorable hero: Game Warden Joe Pickett, unwilling detective and a man with a conscience. A page-turner and a remarkable debut.”
“Every few years a first novel appears that immediately sets itself apart from the crowd. As readers, we feel that special shock of recognition that announces, ‘Here is something special. ’ Taking dead aim with his first sentence . . . Box remains square on target throughout this nearly word-perfect debut. . . . Best of all, the soft-spoken Joe Pickett is a Gary Cooper for our time.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“The unusual setting and flawed characters make for an enlightening, as well as suspenseful, read.”
—New York Daily News
“Open Season is a lean, fast-moving thriller that proves you don’t need an urban landscape to make the pages turn. With the exception of James Dickey, I can’t think of another writer who has managed to wring so much white-knuckled terror out of rural America. This is a truly outstanding read.”
—Loren D. Estleman
“Open Season is a western deco, vividly painted and fun as hell. I know nothing of the West, but C. J. Box is a superb guide—and also a very good novelist.”
—Randy Wayne White
“[A] debut mystery to be savored . . . Joe Pickett is a modern-day Gary Cooper, soft-spoken and good-hearted . . . [A] clever mix of mystery, western, and scenery-to-die-for . . . Box has created an enduring hero in Joe. . . . Once you stake out Open Season, you won’t want to turn loose until the limit is bagged and the back cover is closed.”
—The Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger
Also by C. J. Box
The Joe Pickett Novels
OUT OF RANGE
IN PLAIN SIGHT
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Excerpt from Savage Run copyright © 2002 by C. J. Box.
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eISBN : 978-1-101-46380-2
BERKLEY ® PRIME CRIME
PRIME CRIME Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
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The name BERKLEY PRIME CRIME and the BERKLEY PRIME CRIME design are trademarks belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
To Molly, Becky, Roxanne, and especially for Laurie—
my partner, my anchor, my first reader, my love
And thanks to Andy Whelchel and Martha Bushko, who
brought this to life
Table of Contents
An exciting preview of STONE COLD
When a high-powered rifle bullet hits living flesh it makes a distinctive—pow-WHOP—sound that is unmistakable even at tremendous distance. There is rarely an echo or fading reverberation or the tailing rumbling hum that is the sound of a miss. The guttural boom rolls over the terrain but stops sharply in a close-ended way, as if jerked back. A hit is blunt and solid like an airborne grunt. When the sound is heard and identified, it isn’t easily forgotten.
When Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett heard the sound, he was building a seven-foot elk fence on the perimeter of a rancher’s haystack. He paused, his fencing pliers frozen in midtwirl. Then he stepped back, lowered his head, and listened. He slipped the pliers into the back pocket of his jeans and took off his straw cowboy hat to wipe his forehead with a bandanna. His red uniform shirt stuck to his chest, and he felt a single, warm trickle of sweat crawl down his spine into his Wranglers.
He waited. He had learned over the years that it was easy to be fooled by sounds of any kind outside, away from town. A single, sharp crack heard at a distance could be a rifle shot, yes, but it could also be a tree falling, a branch snapping, a cow breaking through a sheet of ice in the winter, or the backfire of a motor. “Don’t confirm the first gunshot until you hear the second” was a basic tenet of the outdoors. Good poachers knew that, too. It tended to improve their aim.
In a way, Joe hoped he wouldn’t hear a second shot. The fence wasn’t done, and if someone was shooting, it was his duty to investigate. Joe had been on the job for a only a week, and he was hopelessly backlogged with work that had accumulated since the legendary Warden Vern Dunnegan had retired three months before. It was the state’s responsibility to keep the elk herds out of private hay, and the pile of work orders on his desk for elk fence was nearly an inch high. Even if he built fence from dawn to dusk, he didn’t see how he could possibly get it all done before hunting season started.
There was nothing really unusual about gunshots ringing out at any time of day or night or at any time of the year in Twelve Sleep County, Wyoming. Everybody owned guns. A rancher could be shooting at a coyote, or some of the boys from town could be out sighting in their rifles on a target.
Joe’s eyes swung northwest toward the direction of the second shot, toward the foothills of the mountains where outstretched fingers of timber reached down into the high sage that reflected blue in the heat. The shot had come from a long way, three to five miles.
Maxine, Joe’s eight-year-old yellow Labrador, also heard the shot, and bounded from her pool of shadow under Joe’s green Ford pickup. She knew it was time to go to work. Joe opened the passenger door with the Wyoming Game and Fish logo on it, and she leaped in. Before he closed the door, he unsheathed his Winchester .270 rifle and scope from its scabbard case behind the seat and fitted the rifle into the gun rack across the back window. His gun belt was coiled in a pile on the floorboard of the truck, so he picked it up and he buckled it on. Even though regulations dictated that he wear his sidearm at all times, Joe hated driving with his holster on because the heavy pistol jabbed him in the back.
As he climbed into the pickup, there were two more quick shots, one after the other. The first shot wafted across the brush and hay. The second was definitely another hit. Joe thought it was likely that at least two—and possibly three—animals were down.
Joe shoved the pickup into four-wheel drive and headed west toward the mountains, driving as fast as he could without losing control of the wheel. There were no established roads, so he kept the left tires in a cow track while the right wheels bounced through knee-high, then thigh-high, sagebrush. Maxine leaned into the windshield with both of her large paws on the dashboard, balancing against the violent pitching of the terrain. Her tongue swung from side to side and spattered the dashboard with dog spit.
“Get ready,” Joe told her—although for what he didn’t know.
They plunged into a dry wash and ground up out of it, the tires independently grabbing dirt and shooting plumes of dust into the air. Joe nearly lost his grip on the steering wheel as it wrenched hard to the right and left, then he regained control and powered up a brushy slope. His mouth was dry, and he was, quite frankly, very scared.
A game warden in the field rarely encountered anyone who wasn’t armed. Hunters, of course, had rifles, shot-guns, and sidearms. Hikers, fishers, and campers all too often were packing. Even archery hunters had bows capable of rocketing a razor-sharp broad-head arrow through his pickup door. But that was during hunting season. This was the middle of summer, and there were no seasons open. The only kind of people who would be knocking down big animals now would be poachers or cattle rustlers, and either could be desperate and dangerous if caught in the act.
Joe Pickett topped the small hill and quickly sized up the situation: three large buck mule deer were dead, lying on their sides, on the bottom of the saddle slope. Their throats had been cut to bleed them, but they hadn’t been opened up yet to field dress. A bearded man wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and a King Ropes cap straddled the largest of the bucks. He was a big man, built ...Revue de presse :
“C.J. BOX is a great storyteller” —Tony Hillerman
“Open Season is a great crime novel.” —Lee Child
“Meet Joe Pickett: He’s going to be a mystery star.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Intriguing, with a forest setting so treacherous it makes Nevada Barr’s locales look positively comfy, with a motive for murder that is as unique as any in modern fiction. Pickett is a refreshingly human and befuddled hero…But it’s Box’s offbeat way of telling the story that puts it on the best of the year track.” —Los Angeles Times
“Every few years a first novel appears that immediately sets itself apart from the crowd. As readers, we feel that special shock of recognition that announces, ‘Here is something special.’ Taking dead aim with his first sentence…Box remains square on target throughout this nearly word-perfect debut…Best of all, the soft-spoken Joe Pickett is a Gary Cooper for our time.” —Booklist (starred review)
“C.J. Box might represent an endangered species himself: a first novelist who is getting his due…Box’s book has it all—suspenseful plot, magnificent scenery and a flawed male hero who is tough but truly connected to his family…profoundly memorable.” —Boston Herald
“A muscular first novel…Box writes as straight as his characters shoot, and he has a stand-up hero to shoulder his passionate concerns about endangered lives and liberties.” —New York Times Book Review
“A high-country Presumed Innocent that moves like greased lightning.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“A fascinating, well-scripted debut novel…In Gary Cooper style, Pickett is transformed into a man with a mission to save his family, then exact his vengeance. It’s a classic tale of Wild West justice.” —USA Today
“Pickett [is] an engaging change from the fast-driving, trigger-happy male heroes of so many contemporary crime novels…Open Season offers several unexpected twists and is greatly enlivened by concise but heartfelt descriptions of the Wyoming landscape…a very promising debut.” —Washington Post Book World
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Description du livre May 07, 2002. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire 3U-KXGF-HQQI
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