Vicious Circle (Joe Pickett, #17)by C.J. Box Published 21 Mar 2017
|Vicious Circle (Joe Pickett, #17).pdf|
|Publisher||G.P. Putnam's Sons|
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The plane circled in the dark. Joe Pickett could just make out down below a figure in the snow and timber, and then three other figures closing in. There was nothing he could do about it. And Joe knew that he might be their next target.
The Cates family had always been a bad lot. Game warden Joe Pickett had been able to strike a fierce blow against them when the life of his daughter April had been endangered, but he’d always wondered if there’d be a day of reckoning. He’s not wondering any longer. Joe knows they’re coming after him and his family now. He has his friend Nate by his side, but will that be enough this time? All he can do is prepare . . . and wait for them to make the first move.
"Vicious Circle (Joe Pickett, #17)" Reviews
I read and really enjoy a wide range of mystery series, and C. J. Box’s Joe Pickett series is at the very top of my list. Each installment is outstanding and unique, and Vicious Circle (the 17th in the series) is no exception. I am not usually a fan of retribution stories so I was a little concerned that this book might not appeal to me as much as some of his others, but thankfully Vicious Circle is fast-paced, a page-turner, and does not get bogged down in the retribution story line. I read it in a day and a half and loved how the story unfolded.
Joe Pickett encountered the Cates family in his earlier book, Endangered, when Dallas Cates messed with Joe’s daughter April. The Cates family didn’t fare well in Endangered, and Dallas returns in Vicious Circle to exact revenge on Joe and his family. The book opens with Pickett and two others in a small airplane searching for a missing hunter. Right after the group thinks they have found the hunter below on the ground, they witness his shocking murder, and the pace of the book never slows down. There are plenty of surprises and clever twists and turns, and the usual characters make appearances including Marybeth’s mother Missy who is always trying to create more trouble for Joe and Marybeth. There is also a small plot line about some stealthy poachers that C.J. Box wraps up very nicely. Box continues to create credible, entertaining tales that are so much fun to read, and this addition is no exception. Pickett is a highly likeable, realistic protagonist, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the progression of his own story as the books continue.
I relished coming across a couple of shout-outs that Box threw in to his story including a reference to Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series and a reference to the Broadway show Hamilton (his daughter Lucy is singing “My Shot”) which is an obsession in my own household.
I highly recommend Vicious Circle to anyone who likes a good mystery. Thanks to G. P. Putnam’s and Sons and NetGalley for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 stars, actually - but good enough to err on the upside when half-stars aren't possible.
This is something like the 17th book about Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, and since I've read most of them, by now I consider Joe a good friend. There's another reason I love the guy: As those who have read my past reviews most likely are tired of seeing, Joe and I share a surname. In fact, that's what got my attention in the beginning. This one, though, is extra-special for another reason: It was released in the United States on my birthday (March 21). How cool is that?
But of course, name- and birthday-sharing aren't automatic guarantees of loyalty to any series; great stories are. One thing that's kept me going is that over the years, is that it's been fun to watch Joe and his family grow. By this time, daughter Sheridan has graduated from the University of Wyoming, April is attending Northwest Community College, leaving only daughter Lucy still living at home. Joe's wife, Marybeth, is director of the Twelve Sleep County Library. Joe's job is going fine and all's right with the world.
Or not. At the opening, Joe is a reluctant passenger in a plane that's circling the mountains of Wyoming (way too close to the trees for Joe's comfort), looking for a hunter who's been reported missing. They spot what they think is him - along with three other humans - and the ending of that discovery isn't good. Back on the ground, Joe's also trying to track down a big poaching ring that's killing off elk, worrying about a blizzard that's about to hit and, worst of all, dealing with the realization that old enemy Dallas Cates (one-time boyfriend of April) has been released from jail. Because Joe was largely responsible for destroying the rest of the evil Cates family, he's concerned that Dallas's first order of business will be returning the favor.
When April's life is threatened, Joe knows for certain that he's right. But an attempt by local authorities to put Dallas back in jail goes south, leaving Joe and his family vulnerable once again. Toss into the mix appearances by Marybeth's totally irritating, gold-digging mother, Missy, and Joe's long-time friend, professional falconer and off-the-grid expert Nate Romanowski, and you've got the makings of another action-packed adventure.
So what motivated me to take this one down a half-notch from 5 stars? A few things needed a bit more fleshing out, IMHO; it's hard for me to believe Joe and his family - no matter how seasoned they are to misfortune and even the threat of personal danger - could have taken some of what happened to them so much in stride. Then too, Nate, while he still has his edge, just seemed a little too "normal" here; and, not as much activity happens in the great outdoors (which to me is one of the pluses of the series). The ending, too, seemed a bit abrupt (almost as if the allocated word count had been reached and there was no choice but to stop or go back and chop somewhere else). Still, it's close enough to perfect for horseshoes - and I'm already looking forward to the next one.
Joe Pickett is a Wyoming Game Warden who's very good at catching wrongdoers in his district, Twelve Sleep County, a sprawling region of forests, mountains, rivers, and so on. Twelve Sleep County seems to be chock full of miscreants who have a grudge against Joe.....and are prone to target the warden AND his family: wife Marybeth and daughters Sheridan, April, and Lucy.
In this 17th book in the series, Joe is in the sights of former rodeo star Dallas Cates, who just got out of prison. Joe has a long history with the Cates family, all of whom are violent sociopaths. Joe's previous altercations with the Cates crew resulted in the death of Dallas's father and two brothers and the crippling of his (now imprisoned) mother....so Dallas is out for revenge.
Toward this end Dallas puts together a gang composed of himself, two ex-cons, and a meth-addicted woman. The gang saunters into Stockman's Bar for drinks and, while there, quietly discuss their heinous plans. Joe's acquaintance, Dave Farkus, happens to overhear the thugs and leaves a phone message warning Joe of a dire threat to his family. Farkus then goes on a hunting trip and ends up shot to death.....apparently by Dallas Cates and his buddies. Moreover, the bartender at Stockman's, Wanda Stacy, disppears.
Dallas is arrested for Farkus's murder, and hires defense attorney Marcus Hand - a high-priced legal shark who rarely loses - to defend him. In the courtroom, Hand accuses Undersheriff Lester Spivak of shenanigans with the evidence, and Cates is soon out of jail. With Cates on the loose, Joe and his family are in serious peril.
In an ironic touch, lawyer Hand's new wife is Joe's mother-in-law, Missy - a vain, self-centered golddigger with a nasty streak. Missy hates Joe, and is constantly trying to get her daughter, Marybeth, to leave him. (Missy is so over-the-top that's she's almost a comic character.)
A lot of the book involves the unsavory behavior of Dallas and his co-horts, including his jailed mother Brenda. There are some clever surprises as Joe susses out exactly what's going on, and tries to get justice for the gang's victims.
Joe's not all alone in his fight against the killers. The game warden gets some help from his notorious friend Nate Romanowski - a former special ops agent who's the cleverest, most capable, and toughest outdoorsman in the country. (Nate - who's a sort of 'Jack Reacher of the mountains' - is one of my favorite characters in the series. LOL)
In the midst of Joe's struggles with Dallas and his hooligans, some local poachers are targeting non-trophy animals. The hunters attack at random locations every few days, making it hard for the wildlife cops to catch them. In addition, Joe is approached by Wyoming's new governor, Colter Allen, who mentions Joe's 'special assignments' for the previous governor - and asks for similar favors. In Governor Allen's case, though, the requests are overtly self-serving and political. Will Joe comply? You'll have to read the book to find out.
The book has an interesting plot, but has less action and more talk than previous entries in the series - which makes the story feel a little slow. This isn't a major flaw though, and there IS plenty of excitement.
I'd recommend the book to readers who enjoy action thrillers, especially fans of the Joe Pickett series.
You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
I had heard a lot about this author, thought about time I read this author..
Only read about Joe Pickett through a book of Lee Childs, with different authors and characters...
I think the character of Joe Pickett is great, a normal family man, who does and honest job to the best of his ability.
This book really come in three parts, first part starts the story and sets it into motion, second part a court case, and third part the best part the chase..
Although I liked the character, the family, the overall story is was a little slow and heavy going for a while, although some nice twists.
Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett is a character that has his flaws, stands for what he believes in and makes enemies on the way, here returns a nasty character in Dallas Cates, former rodeo champion, has been released from county jail, within weeks of two other violent offenders. Cates has one thing on his mind, to avenge the deaths of his father and two brothers, and leaving his mother a cripple, blamed on Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett. Now he’s out to get Joe and his family. As with most blood feuds the innocent get caught in the crossfire.
A 3.5 book, some good points, some good pace near the end, but a little slow and heavy for me..
Although I believe from looking at reviews this is regarded as one of his weakest books.
Although only 207 miles as the crow flies from Saddlestring, it had taken 360 vehicle miles to get there (Jackson Hole) … driving east to west across a state knuckled with north-to-south mountain ranges and rivers slowed things down … Twice he had to slow down for elk to cross the highway in his headlights, and he’s almost hit a black bear loping across the road to Togwotee Pass.
Dallas Cates, former rodeo champion, has been released from county jail, within weeks of two other violent offenders. Cates has one thing on his mind, to avenge the deaths of his father and two brothers, and leaving his mother a cripple, blamed on Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett. Now he’s out to get Joe and his family. As with most blood feuds the innocent get caught in the crossfire.
Fans of the Joe Pickett series will not be disappointed. There are cameos of characters from the earlier books: flamboyant defense attorney Marcus Hand; Joe’s mother-in-law Missy, now on to her sixth husband. A new state governor who is brusque and overbearing. After a slow start the action picks up as Joe’s friend, Nate Romanowski steps from the shadows and almost off the page.
For readers unfamiliar with CJ Box’s books, there is action and suspense a plenty; brutal killings but not overly graphic, each character depicted by their obvious physical appearance, leaving the rest to the reader’s imagination. But expect to smell snow, feel the chill wind, hear aspens whispering among the pines, the calls of hawks, absorb the landscape change in colour through the windscreen or from horseback.
What's up with that ending? Felt like Box just said, "I'm done" and chopped it short. I was definitely expecting a bit more.