First Sentence: For Wyoming Game Warden Katelyn Hamm, April really was the cruelest month.
Game Warden Joe Pike has his job back, a new house, and another new truck. He and neighboring game warden Katelyn Hamm also have a big problem with someone using a large drone to kill herds of animals. It becomes more complicated when Joe learns that Lucy, one of his daughters is dating the son of the very wealthy man named Hill who owns the drone, and when Joe receives orders from above to leave Hill alone. The drone is the least of the problems when it is suspected that four killers, known as the Wolf Pack, of the Sinaloa cartel, are in the area, and are after Hill and anyone who gets in their way.
One always learns new things when reading Box. It's fascinating to know about the value of antlers and the horrible damage to a herd of deer caused by unscrupulous antler collectors. It's an industry with regulations of which we would not otherwise know.
Box creates such fascinating characters. Certainly, there are the recurring characters of Joe, his family, falconer Nate Romanowski and his now pregnant fiance Liz, but it's extra nice to have the female game warder of Katelyn. Joe is such a well-constructed character. That he and his wife Marybeth have such a strong relationship and partnership where she, at times, provides Joe with informational assistance, gives further dimension to both characters. Although Nate may refer to him as "Dudley-Do-Right," Joe is no one's fool. Underestimating him is a mistake and things can get "Western" very quickly. On the other side, the head of the Wolf Pack is as nasty a character as nasty can get.
From the very start, Box creates a sense of threat. The plot is as one is on a roller-coaster ride. There are fairly gentle rises and falls, then huge escalations, heart-stopping drops, flat runs for relief, and then we're off again. Box knows how to plot. He's an expert at linking aspects of the story together in ways one doesn't expect. Even seemingly innocent scenes have an overlay of danger to them. The escalation of tension is palpable to the point where one may even mutter "No, don't go." as if watching a movie. One is definitely never bored.
"Wolf Pack" is a high-energy, edge-of-seat book. There is divine retribution and an ending that is very emotional and somewhat bittersweet. Fair warning that this book is more violent, with more bodies, than some of the past books in the series, but it's an excellent read.
WOLF PACK (LicInv/Game Warder-Joe Pike-Wyoming-Contemp) - ExG.P. Putnam's Sons – March 2019
Box, C.J. – 19th in series
Box, C.J. – 19th in series