cover image Shadows Reel: A Joe Pickett Novel

Shadows Reel: A Joe Pickett Novel

C.J. Box. Putnam, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-33126-2

Bestseller Box’s subpar 22nd Joe Pickett novel (after 2021’s Dark Sky) opens with the Wyoming game warden called to a rancher’s land to check out a dead moose. The purported moose turns out to be the burned body of a local fishing guide, who was apparently tortured before he died. Meanwhile, Joe’s wife, the director of the county library, finds a rare Nazi artifact left on the library’s doorstep: a photo album that once belonged to a high-ranking Nazi officer. That memento is also of interest to a pair of violent Hungarian brothers who’ve been dispatched to Wyoming to grab the album utilizing any means necessary. An unconvincing subplot involving the efforts of Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski, to reclaim his precious falcons abducted by a villain intent on selling them on the black market for nefarious purposes sputters out, but Box resolves the murder case and the hunt for the Nazi photo album with his usual panache. Series fans will hope to see more of a promising new character, rough-hewn falconer Geronimo Jones, but this isn’t the place to start for newcomers. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary. (Mar.)