cover image Long Range: A Joe Pickett Novel

Long Range: A Joe Pickett Novel

C.J. Box. Putnam, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-53823-3

In Edgar winner Box’s terrific 20th novel featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett (after 2019’s Wolf Pack), a retired FBI agent warns Joe’s longtime falconer friend, Nate Romanowski, that the Mexican drug cartel whose four assassins Nate helped take down in Wolf Pack have marked Nate as a target for revenge. The cartel has dispatched Orlando Panfile, an expert marksman, to do the job. Meanwhile, someone takes a long-range shot at ill-tempered Judge Hewitt in his home that hits Hewitt’s wife, leaving her in critical condition. Could it be Panfile? Joe is asked to join the investigation by the new county sheriff, Brendan Kapelow, who eventually becomes convinced that Nate is responsible for the shooting. Kapelow arrests Nate for attempted murder when a long-range rifle is discovered hidden in one of his falcon pens. Of course, Joe isn’t buying it, and conducts his own unauthorized investigation to help clear Nate. But why does Panfile mount an effort to have Nate freed? Clever plotting keeps this conspiracy yarn moving briskly, and the scenes depicting Nate’s abuse while in prison are harrowing. This is another top-flight crime yarn illustrating why Box’s readers are never happier than when Joe and Nate have reason to “get western.” [em]Author tour. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary. (Mar.) [/em]