Free Fire: A Joe Pickett Novel

C. J. Box, Author . Putnam $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-15427-0

When four environmental activists employed by Yellowstone Park are murdered in an isolated area, the Wyoming governor sends outspoken Joe Pickett, fired in his last outing, In Plain Sight (2006), from the state's game and fish department, to investigate in Anthony-winner Box's absorbing seventh crime novel, his best yet. Helped by astute park ranger Judy Demming and his antisocial pal, falconer Nate Romanowski, Joe gradually connects the murders to competition for bio-mining rights in Yellowstone's hot springs. Joe's often harassed family is on the sidelines, except for a startling appearance by his long-estranged father. Box skillfully weaves ominous scientific phenomena and legal loopholes peculiar to Yellowstone into his story of corruption, greed and deception. The author vividly evokes Yellowstone's natural beauty, but the book's real power emanates from Pickett's (and Box's) passion for preserving the wilderness and stopping those who would cynically destroy it. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/12/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
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