cover image Storm Watch: A Joe Pickett Novel

Storm Watch: A Joe Pickett Novel

C.J. Box. Putnam, $29 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-33130-9

At the start of Edgar winner Box’s outstanding 23rd Joe Pickett novel (after 2022’s Shadows Reel), the Wyoming game warden comes across a grisly scene after pursuing an injured elk: inside an isolated ranch outbuilding there’s a body of a man with the top of his head missing. With a snowstorm fast approaching, Joe has time only to remove the man’s wallet and take some photos with his phone. The lazy local sheriff offers little help, and the body of the victim, a University of Wyoming professor according to the ID in his wallet, is gone when Joe returns to the scene. It becomes clear that higher-ups want Joe to stay away from the case. Joe soon has another crime to deal with—a gang has been gathering “sheds,” the antlers that bull elks shed each spring, out of season. Meanwhile, Joe’s falconer buddy, Nate Romanowski, is suspicious of a shadowy figure keen on persuading him to join an anti-government group. The suspense builds as the various story lines neatly intersect on the way to a tense confrontation between two of the most powerful politicians in Wyoming. Box is writing at the top of his game. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary. (Feb.)