by C. J. Box is not the usual mystery/thriller novel. It is
reminiscent of the classic old-time western with “High
Noon” coming to mind. Besides an intense plot, readers
get a flavor for what it is like to live on the Western frontier
Box noted, "The way the previous book ended, I knew Dallas
and Brenda Cates will be back because I made sure to set up
a dilemma. It has many of the elements of a classic Western.
The bad guy gets out of jail and sets out for revenge, making
sure it is personal. He attacks Joe's family forcing him to
protect them even if it means not always following the rule
of law. He is basically on his own, a ‘he versus the
bad guys.' Most game wardens are like Joe, risking their life
working in remote areas, and have little back up."
is the sequel to Endangered where game warden Joe Pickett
went toe-to-toe with the Cates family. Dallas Cates beat Joe’s
middle daughter April to an inch of her life. The end result
was his mother Brenda becoming a quadriplegic, some Cates
family members dead, and Dallas doing more than a year behind
bars, thanks in part to some trumped-up charges. After serving
his time he is released from prison and wants to get revenge,
waging a war against Joe and his family.
What Box does very well is blend the modern day with the isolated
West. The book opens with Pickett and two others in a small
airplane searching for a missing hunter. They use high technology
of an Ipad app, an infrared device to spot both animals and
human beings. Right after the group thinks they have found
the hunter below on the ground, they witness his shocking
murder, all because he warned Joe. Another technology discussed
was the wheelchair used by Brenda while in Prison.
As with so many of his books, Box does the research personally.
He told of how "I took a ride with the Wyoming Civil
Air Patrol. It was pretty interesting how they used the technology
and unlike Joe, I did not even get airsick. Regarding the
wheelchair, Georgia Tech came up with the idea of a tongue-controlled
device. Depending on how the tongue moves that controls the
direction and speed. The brain moves the tongue and the tongue
moves the chair."
of the series will enjoy the supporting characters as well.
This includes the return of Pickett’s long-time friend
Nate Romanowski, who joins Joe in the fight to save his family,
and the newly elected populist Governor Colter Allen. People
get a flavor of Wyoming’s politics and how justice is
doled out, including a few courtroom scenes.
In addition, they learn more about Western culture. Box noted,
"The scene about women rodeo riders is true. There is
a college that does have events with women. Conceivably they
can only participate in some contests because they can get
really beat up. Women are able to participate in the ones
involving finesse, such as barrel racing and roping a cow
while riding at full blast."
storyline is very suspenseful and the action never slows down.
Besides, the riveting plot readers will also feel as if they
are in the wilderness with the very descriptive scenes.