by C. J. Box has all the elements that readers have come to
enjoy in a Joe Pickett novel. This is a compelling mystery
that is action-packed, has details about the western setting,
likeable characters, and humorous interaction.
Box noted, “Over the eighteen books I have written Joe
has moved around in the state of Wyoming quite a bit. He has
gone to almost every corner of it, although there are a few
more places for him to visit. In this book, he has gone to
Saratoga, in South Central Wyoming, a place I am really fond
of. Sometimes I use fictional locations, but Saratoga as described
really exists. I love the great terrain and mountain ranges.
I put in the book quote, ‘The terrain was high and the
windswept desert would have no inkling that twenty-one miles
to the south was a lush river valley with mountain peaks on
three sides. Elk Mountain and the Snowy Range rose sun-kissed
and blue…’ I hope readers learn about it through
Joe’s travels. I also enjoy talking about the community.
For example, in most Wyoming towns Friday night is much more
popular for socializing than Saturday nights.”
Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett has to contend with a new
Governor, Colter Allen. He is continuing the previous practice
of retired Governor Spencer Rulon, requesting Pickett to be
a troubleshooter. Joe is asked to find a prominent female
British executive that never came home from the high-end guest
dude ranch she was visiting. Pressure is mounting from the
family, the tabloids, and the British government to find out
what happened to her. Unlike Rulon, Joe does not have a special
relationship with Allen and suspects he has ulterior motives
in asking for this favor.
The theme according to Box is “having the freedom to
get away from life’s stress. I put in the C. S. Lewis
quote because it applied perfectly, ‘Why would I ever
trade long lazy walks in the forest to going back to traffic,
bad air, and insipid ‘men without chests.’’
Sheridan, his daughter, who works at the ranch, volunteers
to help along with his dear friend, Nate Romanowski, who gets
answers by ignoring the rules of law. Also, in need of a favor,
Nate is willing to help as he tries to find answers to his
own agenda. He wants Joe to intervene with the feds on behalf
of Falconers who can no longer hunt with eagles even though
their permits are in order.
As with all of Box’s books he delves into an environmental
issue, absurd regulations, as well as showing how political
leaders are both dislikeable and self-centered. This includes
the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Connor Hanlon, who loves
to displace blame.
The Disappeared has a plot that will not vanish from
reader’s minds. It is engrossing and riveting that has
people turning the pages at a brisk pace.
of other titles in this series
Fired (Short Stories)
Stone Cold #14 [review