Book review by Dennis D. McDonald
This is the third or fourth Joe Pickett novel I’ve read. It’s not one of the best. There are the deft characterizations, interesting sub-plots, recognizable real world family relationships, and realistic depictions of Wyoming’s landscape. But this time the plot machinations are too visible and the denouement comes with a courtroom surprise worthy of an old Perry Mason TV show. (I’d be interested in hearing the discussion that took place between Box and his editors about whether or not to actually mention the name “Perry Mason” in the text.)
Intermixed are political swipes at the Federal government and its energy policies and constant disdain for fake cowboys and transplants seeking to make it in Wyoming. (People dependent on tourism are always disdainful of the people who bring money into the area, it seems.)
All in all, I like reading these novels. Having visited this area with my family I think it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth and the folks are great. Box describes that beauty, its wildlife, and its residents with uncanny flair. But there’s just too much going on in this novel that makes me think that, having plotted out the book on a whiteboard, he ended up with a tangled area on the right hand side that he couldn’t resolve without introducing one too many coincidences. But on the positive side he doesn’t put Pickett’s family in danger again, which is something I appreciate.
Copyright (c) 2011 by Dennis D. McDonald