Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

The Best ‘Box’ Novel Yet?

Leave a comment

Kimber: Hey Mom! You know that author guy we stumbled upon a while back? The box-y dude who writes crime thrillers set in Wyoming?

Mom: “You mean C.J. Box?”

Kimber: Yeppers! Didya know he has a new book out?

And that’s how Her Momness and I flew over to the library faster than Captain Kirk aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.  Here’s what we found:

The Setting

It’s early spring in Wyoming. State Game Warden Joe Pickett is facing the mother of all storms in C.J. Box’s latest crime thriller western, Storm Watch. And we don’t mean just the blizzard kind, either. No siree, Lassie! Although there’s enough snow and ice and freezing temps in this taut and tightly written novel to make you want to toss another log on the fire. Maybe two.

Well. The Cowboy State is about to get hit by an “apocalyptic blizzard” in more ways than one.

Kimber: The title has a double meaning, if you get my drift. As in snow drift. Also deep doo-doo of the political type “drift.”

A Coming Collision

Red necks and coastal elites are about to collide in the second kind of storm in this masterful tale of suspense, corruption, intrigue, double-crosses and desperation.

Packed with plenty of action, Storm Watch is an adrenaline rush from start to finish as Pickett finds himself up to his eyeballs in a murder mystery. Cuz when a Chinese professor from the University of Wyoming winds up dead at a secret, remote high-tech facility, something doesn’t add up.

It’s just the “tip of the iceberg.” And Joe knows it.

But when Joe tries to investigate before the mother of all blizzards hits, the governor orders him to stand down. Governor Idiot Allen also threatens Joe’s job. The local sheriff could care less. (“He’s as lazy as the neighbor’s cat” – Kimber.) Local militants are getting trigger-happy. The feds show up and try to “cut Joe off at the pass,” too.

The salient question suspended over these seemingly unconnected events in the Cowboy State is, Why?

Joe “Dudley Do-Right” Pickett is soon caught in the middle of Something Big. Really Big. Can he live long enough to figure it out and manage to protect his family in the process?


Multi-layered and richly textured, the intricate plot includes a shadowy “Sovereign Nation” movement. Illegal shed hunting (and we don’t mean the Tuff kind!) Bitcoin minipods. A Marmot House.  And snow. Lots and lots of snow.

There’s also plenty of axes to grind and more plot twists and turns than Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain. So you might want to buckle up and hold on tight! Just sayin’. (Incidentally, if you ever hear the word “yarak” in conjunction with a Joe Pickett novel, you might want to take cover. Fast.)

Smack in the Middle

An expert wordsmith, Box’s descriptions of Wyoming’s flora, fauna, terrain and seasons put you smack dab in the middle of each scene. You can almost smell the wood smoke. Hear snow mobiles gunning. Feel the biting cold. Each chapter opens with a brief poem or reflection about snow or winter. It’s a nice touch.

Storm Watch features a crisp, crunchy storyline and a plot that percolates with themes ripped from today’s headlines. Also engaging secondary and tertiary storylines. The multiple story lines would be a hopeless mess in the hands of a lesser talent. But C.J. Box pulls it off. With room to spare. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat from page one. We couldn’t put it down!

We’ve read a bunch of Joe Pickett books.  Storm Watch may be Box’s best yet. (Note: Storm Watch contains some rough lingo. But it’s not gratuitous or excessive and is consistent with the characters portrayed.)

Kimber: Helllllo? You forgot to mention the best character in the whole book.

Mom: Say what?

Kimber: You forgot to mention Daisy, Joe Pickett’s intrepid yellow Lab. She’s Totally PAWsome! Like me!

Mom: I stand corrected.


Our Rating: 4.0

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s