Sentence: Nate Romanowski pushed the drift boat onto the
Bighorn River at three-thirty in the morning on a Sunday in
early October and let the silent muscle of the current pull
him away from the grassy bank.
Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is sent on a special assignment
by the Governor. Wolfgang Templeton has purchased a magnificent
old mansion and most of the private holdings in Medicine Wheel
County, located in a remote part of the state. The Feds suspect
he is running a high-end, murder-for-hire business. On paper,
he seems legitimate but the Feds are worrying the Governor
so he wants Joe to look into it, but not get involved. Joe
has another concern in that his eldest daughter, Sheridan,
is concerned about a young man on the same floor of her college
dorm, who wears only black, keeps strictly to himself and
plays first-person shooter video games.
There’s nothing like a dramatic opening that immediately
captures your attention and, boy, does Box ever do that. Add
to that wonderful descriptions…”It was twenty-four
degrees and steam rose from the surface of the black water
in thick tendrils…” and you are completely absorbed
from the first page.
Joe is such a wonderful character. He has a good marriage
that has survived the rough spots, and children to whom he
is dedicated. He believes in the law, although isn’t
above bending it at bit in the name of justice, and in doing
his job even when others won’t. He is not good a turning
his back or keeping a low profile. He has a strong moral code
and equally strong loyalty to his friends. At the FBI building,
he was willing to check his cell phone and weapons, but wouldn’t
give up his hat. He may be a poor shot with a sidearm, but
dangerous with a rifle. And whatever you do, don’t lend
him a car, truck or other vehicle. He is, however, someone
you’d definitely want on your side.
Beyond Joe, Box is very good at bringing characters to life.
You have a sense of who they are; none of them are one dimensional.
For those of us following the series, it is nice to have Nate
involved. And boy, is he ever. Box also brings the area to
life by providing an interesting history of Medicine Wheel
Stone Cold ratchets up the suspenseful, horrifying,
and tragic; and then throws in a surprise, just for fun.
of other titles in this series
Fired (Short Stories)
Stone Cold #14 [review
The Grid #17