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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dull Knife (short story) – Collected in Shots Fired.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- The Master Falconer (short story) – Collected in Shots Fired.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Honor & … (short story) – It features Box’s character Joe Pickett and Sandra Brown’s character Lee Coburn from her novel Lethal.
- 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.
- Long Range – When Joe Pickett is asked to join the rescue efforts for the victim of a startling grizzly attack, he reluctantly leaves his district behind. One survivor of the grizzly’s rampage tells a bizarre story, but just as Joe begins to suspect the attack is not what it seems, he is brought home by an emergency on his own turf. Someone has targeted a prominent local judge, shooting at him from a seemingly impossible distance. While the judge was not hit, his wife is severely wounded, and it is up to Joe to find answers–and the shooter.