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Joe Pickett Series in Order: How to read C.J. Box books?

Did you know that Walt Longmire isn’t the only crime fighter in Wyoming with a book series? Joe Pickett has one too.

Who is Joe Pickett?

Created by Charles James Box, Jr. – or C.J. Box – , Joe Pickett firs appeared in the 2001 novel Open Season. He is the new game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming, a town where nearly everyone hunts and the game warden – especially one like Joe who won’t take bribes or look the other way – is far from popular.

Like it is written on Box website, over that time, he’s taken on environmental terrorists, rogue federal land managers, animal mutilators, crazed cowboy hitmen, corrupt bureaucrats, homicidal animal rights advocates, and violent dysfunctional families.

Joe Pickett Series in Order:

  1. Open Season – When Joe Pickett finds a local hunting outfitter dead, splayed out on the wood-pile behind his state-owned home, he takes it personally. There had to be a reason that the outfitter chose his backyard to die in. Even after the ‘outfitter murders’ are solved, Joe continues to investigate, uneasy with the easy explanation offered by the local police.
  2. Savage Run – When a massive blast rocks the forests of Twelve Sleep County, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is called to the scene to help investigate the death of a colorful environmental activist. The case is wrapped up quickly, explained as an environmental publicity stunt gone wrong, but Joe isn’t convinced.
  3. Winterkill – Joe Pickett’s pursuit of a killer through the rugged mountains of Wyoming takes a horrifying turn when his beloved foster daughter is kidnapped.
  4. Dull Knife (short story) – Collected in Shots Fired.
  5. Trophy Hunt – Local authorities in Twelve Sleep County, Wyoming, are quick to label a rash of animal mutilations as the work of a grizzly bear, but game warden Joe Pickett suspects that something far more sinister is afoot.

  1. Out of Range – When a good friend and fellow warden kills himself, Joe Pickett is chosen to temporarily run his Teton district. But Jackson, Wyoming, is a far cry from Joe’s hometown of Saddlestring.
  2. In Plain Sight – Ranch owner and matriarch Opal Scarlett has vanished under suspicious circumstances during a bitter struggle between her sons for control of her million-dollar empire. Joe Pickett is convinced one of them must have done her in.
  3. Free Fire – Joe Pickett’s been hired to investigate one of the most cold-blooded mass killings in Wyoming history. Attorney Clay McCann admitted to slaughtering four campers in a back-country corner of Yellowstone National Park. In this remote fifty-square-mile stretch a man can literally get away with murder.
  4. Blood Trail – Game wardens have found a man dead at a mountain camp. Is the murder the work of a deranged anti-hunting activist or of a lone psychopath with a personal vendetta? Joe Pickett is the man to track the murderer and stop him, before someone declares open season on humans…

  1. Below Zero – Six years ago, Joe Pickett’s foster daughter, April, was murdered. Now, someone is leaving phone messages claiming to be the dead girl. As his family struggles with the disturbing event, he discovers that the calls have been placed from locations where serious environmental crimes have occurred.
  2. Nowhere To Run – It’s Joe Pickett’s last week as a temporary game warden in the mountain town of Baggs, Wyoming, but his conscience won’t let him leave without checking out the strange reports coming from the wilderness: camps looted, tents slashed, elk butchered.
  3. The Master Falconer (short story) – Collected in Shots Fired.
  4. Cold Wind – When Earl Alden is found dead, dangling from a wind turbine, his wife, Missy, is arrested. Unfortunately for Joe Pickett, Missy is his much-disliked mother-in-law, and he’s not sure what to do – especially since it looks like Missy is guilty as sin.
  5. Force Of Nature – In 1995, Nate Romanowski was in a Special Forces unit abroad when his commander, John Nemecek, did something terrible. Now the high-ranking government official and cold-blooded sociopath is determined to eliminate anyone who knows about it – like Nate, who’s hidden himself away in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains.

  1. Breaking Point – Joe Pickett always liked Butch Roberson – a hardworking local business-owner whose daughter is friends with his own. Little does he know that when Butch says he is heading into the mountains to scout elk, he is actually going on the run.
  2. Stone Cold – Everything about the rich stranger is a mystery: the massive, isolated ranch in the remote Black Hills of Wyoming, the women who live with him, the secret philanthropies, the private airstrip, the sudden disappearances. And especially the persistent rumors that the man’s wealth comes from killing people. Joe Pickett is assigned to find out the truth.
  3. Endangered – Joe Pickett had good reason to dislike Dallas Cates, and now he has even more – Joe’s daughter, April, has run off with him. And then comes even worse news: She has been found in a ditch along the highway – alive, but just barely, the victim of blunt force trauma. Cates denies having anything to do with it, but Joe knows in his gut who’s responsible.
  4. Off The Grid – Nate is off the grid, recuperating from wounds and trying to deal with past crimes, when he is suddenly surrounded by a small team of elite professional special operators. They’re not there to threaten him, but to make a deal. They need help destroying a domestic terror cell in Wyoming’s Red Desert, and in return they’ll make Nate’s criminal record disappear.

  1. Vicious Circle – The Cates family had always been a bad lot. Game warden Joe Pickett had been able to strike a fierce blow against them when the life of his daughter April had been endangered, but he’d always wondered if there’d be a day of reckoning. He’s not wondering any longer.
  2. The Disappeared – Wyoming’s new governor isn’t sure what to make of Joe Pickett, but he has a job for him that is extremely delicate. A prominent female British executive never came home from the high-end guest ranch she was visiting, and the British Embassy is pressing hard.
  3. Honor & … (short story) – It features Box’s character Joe Pickett and Sandra Brown’s character Lee Coburn from her novel Lethal.
  4. Wolf Pack – Joe Pickett has his job back. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose son is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy. When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he’s asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up in and around Joe’s district in shocking numbers.

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40 Comments

  1. Shirley Christie

    Would like to read this series. Walt Longmire was a great one as well.

  2. James L Fletcher

    C.J. Box is one great author, certainly at least when it comes to setting forth great adventures for game warden Joe Pickett in the great wilds of Wyoming. Very intriguing and suspenseful…some of the more entertaining reads to be found in my opinion and I have only read the first four.

    Looking very much forward to the rest of the novels and a big “hats off” to C.J. Box. You do your research well obviously and have the wonderful gift of wrapping that into a wonderful story. Tough to put it down once you get into it.

  3. James Foerch

    Question: Given all that the principle characters have been through, why aren’t they all catatonic with PTSD? Their careers make Iraq and Afghanistan a walk in the park.

  4. Sherry Moran

    I’m confused. Joe has a foster daughter and a daughter, both named April?

  5. Su

    In which order should the Jou Pickett books be read ? I have just started book 1 but I had started with ” out of range and nowhere to run” and April was still alive then ans now I have been able to get Trophy Hunt which is book 1 I thought I find she has died last winter.
    So I would like to know in what order I should read your books please ?
    Thankyou
    Cheers
    Su

    • Theresa

      Came upon these great reads by way of my local library, and while on vacation in, through Wall SD and the Wall Drug store found another Joe Pickett novel. Have read all but one I can’t get at my home library. Great read. It was great to read these as I was on road trip through Wyoming at the time.

    • Ward

      Same question. Are the books out of order?

  6. Sandy Rogers

    In which book did Joe Pickett’s house burn down? I have read the series but do not recall his house being burned.

    • Julie DeYoung

      I just read Vicious Circle and in it his house burned down

  7. Diane Tauscher

    I have really enjoyed reading these books about Joe Pickett; I love how his character has developed. The first book was on tape – Vicious Circle – and that’s how I found about these books and the author.

  8. Dean Hunter

    I can’t read Box’s books fast enough. Joe Pickett is fascinating as a law enforcement officer and a family man in the open spaces of Wyoming. The books are so well written and engaging, Box just draws you into Pickett’s world.

  9. Rachel Pugliese

    Loved each and every one! Why did they have to end – maybe his daughter could become the new a Joe??

  10. Steve Scroggins

    Have one left to go: The Disappeared. It will be a bummer not having another one to turn to next. This is a great series… as good as the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child and the John Puller/Amos Decker/Will Robie series by David Baldacci.

  11. Very entertaining series. I suggest he do more research on guns. The revolver used by Nate doesn’t require the hammer to sit on an empty chamber. There’s no .308 magnum, the loading port on the 870 goes to the magazine under the barrel, not the receiver, unless the action is open and empty. Even then, a shell inserted through the ejection port would wind up in the chamber.

  12. Ron Mortensen

    My Wife is a bit OCD, and on the cover of “The Disappeared”, there is a man in a “Red” truck. All of the books say that Joe drives a “Green” truck. My wife wants to know why it’s not a Green truck on the front? My wife is struggling with this, and I have to listen to it. Please advise. Thanks.

    • Mimi

      Hi Su—-I read a couple of the Joe Pickett series then started at book one and I’m now the next to last—Mr. box needs to write these books faster as I don’t know what I’ll do once I’m finished with the last one!!!I’ve had 3 surgeries this year and these books have saved my sanity.
      I’ve been lucky as my library have gotten these books to me in order–great library! But I think you can buy them also so you can read them in order————happy reading!

    • Mimi

      I must be like your wife as I too thot the same thing—then I thot that maybe the villain in this story drives a red truck—but it looked like Joe the game warden would look to me————-maybe ask Mr. Box.

  13. Susan DesJardins

    Maybe that’s not supposed to be Joe Pickett in his truck. Maybe it is a person that “disappeared”! That’s my next book to read – when I can get my hands on it.
    WONDERFUL series!!

  14. Mary

    I’m confused. If April dies in Winterkill, why does she keep appearing in later books? Can anyone explain this to me?

    • Leisa

      I caught that as well Mary, thinking I had missed something along the way as I’ve not been able to read them in order as I get them from Overdrive and frequently I’m on a waiting list. I’m on Cold Wind and she’s a sullen teenager right now.

      • Mary

        I have read about 14 books so far; all out of order ? Maybe Another reader can explain April to us.

        • Leisa

          I’m down to 3 remaining books , not including his new release next month. I don’t know WHAT I’m going to do when all of them are finished, haha. But, just today I saw where he’s got a new release in August staring Cassie Dewell. I love those series as much as Joe Pickett’s.

        • boxfan

          she’s not dead as it turns out. there is a whole book on the subject:-)

    • Leisa Bailey

      Mary: Below Zero, book 10 tells the story of the return of April. I’m not far enough to explain it as I just began the book last night. I’ve not been able to read the series in order..that would have been helpful, haha. But I checked all the books out at my local library and it was take when available.

  15. Tj Gold

    Which book has his mother in law leaving on a plane at the end of the book?

    • Leisa Bailey

      Tj: Cold Wind. She leaves to go on a world wide cruise for supposedly for a year.

  16. Ed. Mundy

    Will there be any more Joe Picket books after “ Wolf Pack” ? I sure hope so.

  17. mick

    I started reading this series a month ago and have now read 9 of the 22 books, however, I have not read all of these in order. I am really enjoying this series and look forward to finding the remaining books. I have also read the 4 othernon Joe Pickett books that form a story arc by C.J. Box and I recommend others try these as well.

  18. Darlene DeVore

    I am a Joe Pickett fan…(CJ Box) and have enjoyed all the comments here. It makes me happy to see that I have this series and author in common with so many of you. I only have the last 3 books to read. ..
    Note to CJ Box: please keep the series going!

    • dumbas Squat

      just part of the marketing amigo. Cracker Jack salts his series with broken narratives, false technical crap just to get a picky reader to buy more and feel good about “discovering” author flaws.all Hype no cattled

  19. Joan Shadinger

    C J Box is a wonderful and extremely talented writer who my husband &I love! We have traveled to Saddlestring and met some very nice people up there and stayed about a hour two years ago! We had just left Yellowstone Park and came back by way of Bear Paw and down into Cody! Talk about BIG country, we are looking toward to going back!

  20. Lisa Rust

    Read 3 Joe Pickett novels, Breaking Point, Endangered and The Disappeared. Really enjoyed them all! Although not a prolific reader, I came across C J Box’s Joe Pickett books in a discount book shop here in the UK. I could tell that these books were going to be very good reads after I read the blogs. Just about ready to start reading Stone Cold!

  21. Doc

    I, too, have read them out of ord er! ! But they carry well on a stand alone!
    I loved Joe Pickett for many yrs and C.J. Box books take me back to those great times. How Pocket could have been some of these game wardens I personally knew.
    Thank you Mr. Box for all this wonderful reading.

    If I could meet Mr. Box, I think I would be like the Beatle fans, back in the day, that blushed and nervous!!
    Thanks to all of you who wrote reviews. I like reading them – at least, when they are good!!

    • Andrew Darrell

      Read 16 of the 19 in Order and they are superb. All of them.

      My personal favorites are Out of Range, Blood Trail, Nowhere to Run (#1) and Off the Grid. Maybe Stone Cold as well. They are all so darn good.

      The chronological aging of the characters is superb and really sets Joe Pickett series apart. As well as the realistic motivations and flaws of the characters.

  22. Tess O'Shaughnessy

    13 (The Master Falconer) cannot come after 12 (Cold Wind) because Alisha dies in Cold Wind and is alive in the Master Falconer. There was a similar error with Dull Blade.

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