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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 9th Pickett Novel Introduces a Unique Idea for a Killer
Below Zero is a sequel to Box's third Joe Pickett novel Winterkill. Well it's a sequel to 7 others as well, but the ending of those ones isn't given away as Winterkill's plot is in Below Zero. So I'd highly recommend reading that one first, in fact, I'd suggest reading the whole series in order which starts with Open Season. Their order is at the bottom of this review...
Published on October 11, 2009 by James N Simpson

versus
51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Time to return to the basics of the Joe Pickett series
I have read all the Joe Pickett novels in sequence. I am finding that the most recent ones need a greater infusion of reality. Below Zero has all kinds of contemporary touches: cold hospitals that seem more interested in insurance coverage than the patient's recovery, carbon footprints and the death of Planet Earth, abused foster-care children, text messaging, and...
Published on August 5, 2009 by Michael Langmaid


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 9th Pickett Novel Introduces a Unique Idea for a Killer, October 11, 2009
By 
James N Simpson (Gold Coast, QLD Australia) - See all my reviews
Below Zero is a sequel to Box's third Joe Pickett novel Winterkill. Well it's a sequel to 7 others as well, but the ending of those ones isn't given away as Winterkill's plot is in Below Zero. So I'd highly recommend reading that one first, in fact, I'd suggest reading the whole series in order which starts with Open Season. Their order is at the bottom of this review. All can be read as standalone reads, but once you've read one, you'll want to read them all so you might as well read them in order and experience Pickett's family grow and his career, well not really grow but you'll experience it's ups and downs.

In Below Zero, a school boy now living in the Pickett family's old home, trying to impress Joe's daughter, passes her mobile number onto a mysterious caller. That caller will shortly after text Sheridan claiming she is April, a foster sister who the family thought was dead. Meanwhile Joe posted to the outskirts of the state for his past actions (read the former novels) is out to apprehend after rescuing a victim, the Mad Archer, a particularly grade A environmental lowlife, who seems to enjoy shooting arrows into wildlife and leaving them to die. When Joe learns of the texts to his daughter, he immediately takes personal leave and rushes back, set to do whatever he can to find out if April is April, which doesn't seem likely. When he learns the girl claims she is travelling with two men who are doing bad things such as killing people (unbeknownst to Pickett killing in the name of reducing carbon footprints of those who substantially pollute with no regard for the planet), he is determined to rescue her this time round.

1. Open Season (2001)
2. Savage Run (2002)
3. Winterkill (2003)
4. Trophy Hunt (2004)
5. Out of Range (2005)
6. In Plain Sight (2006)
7. Free Fire (2007)
8. Blood Trail (2008)
9. Below Zero (2009)
10. Nowhere to Run (2010)

If you've read all the Joe Pickett novels, I'd also suggest the author Ben Rehder. Buck Fever is book one in a series of adventures set in Blanco County Texas with a very similar character to Joe Pickett in game warden John Marlin who could practically be his twin separated at birth and sent to Texas.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Time to return to the basics of the Joe Pickett series, August 5, 2009
I have read all the Joe Pickett novels in sequence. I am finding that the most recent ones need a greater infusion of reality. Below Zero has all kinds of contemporary touches: cold hospitals that seem more interested in insurance coverage than the patient's recovery, carbon footprints and the death of Planet Earth, abused foster-care children, text messaging, and survivalist cults. They cannot rescue, however, a lame, contrived, and unbelievable plot. Box has done much better.

Action has to come from motivation and motivation has to come from character. The villainous father-son duo were not credible. We've all read of dysfunctional family dynamics, but this is one time when fiction is stranger than reality. Another reviewer got it right when writing that Carl Hiasen has done this kind of madcap picaresque much better because he does it with wit, irony, and insight.

I also agree with another reviewer that the Pickett family dynamics are getting tired and tiresome. It's time to send Sheridan and Lucy off to college. They now impede the narrative. We got the point long ago that Joe Pickett is an old fashioned, decent and loving family man.

As Joe Pickett's actions have gotten more and more displaced from game wardening, there has been a loss of what first made Box such a fresh and engaging author. The Wyoming and Western landscape and culture have been central characters in his best writing. I found the early part of this book that dealt with wildlife and the outdoors to be the most engaging along with those sections where Nate Romanski appears.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than allot of drivel published but poor for CJ BOX, July 16, 2010
I have to agree with others. Crazy people intent on craziness does not a plot make. I love CJ Box, Joe Pickett, and Nate but this one really made me want to give up. It was too much of a stetch believability-wise and I have to agree with another reviewer--the interaction with Joe's daughters (and mother in law)is getting predictable and boring. Send them all on a prolonged vacation together, no phone calls allowed. If I were Box's editor here is what I would demand--Nate needs to go back to being an oddball loner (not a lunatic)that Joe can have sounding board type conversations with-- the family needs to fade in to the background a bit and Joe needs to man-up when dealing with his girls (all whining needs to be edited out.) Plots need to be specific to Joe's job or community, no outlandishness allowed. NO meth and no Russians allowed. How about his mother-in-law gets lost in a park (and no one finds her!) Box needs to remember that his characters are supposed to be people so they should have a consistency to them; powerful, savvy, friendly, well connected ranchers should NOT turn into lovesick losers who cant hold it together.
ANYWAY...what makes me keep reading it that unlike so many authors, BOX CAN WRITE. Sometimes the plots get thin (he is overextending himself maybe) but the reality is that his prose is 100 times better than much of what is being published today. I will keep coming back. If you like Box, try Craig Johnson, [...]/ The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire Mysteries)and his Sheriff Walt Longmire. Sometimes he gives you more details than you really want (ancient Native American stuff) but he is excellent.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Box has assured his place on my "must buy" list, August 16, 2009
By 
L. J. Roberts (Oakland, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
First Sentence: Marshall and Sylvia Hotle, who like to list their places of residence as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Quartzsite, Arizona, and "the open road," were preparing dinner when they saw the dark SUV will Illinois plates drive by on the access road for the third time in less than an hour.

Six years ago, the Pickett's foster daughter, April, was killed in the massacre of a survivalist group. Or was she? April is been texting the Pickett's oldest daughter, Sherry, and that "bad" things have been happening.

A father a son are on the road leaving behind them a trail of violence and death.

Joe Pickett and his family are come of my favorite characters. Through the series, they continue to grow and change. While some may be tired of them, I like that they have weathered their challenges and grown as individual characters and as a family. Joe and his wife have gone through difficult times, worked through them and come out the other side, having had to make compromises and adapt.

I very much enjoyed Joe's incomprehensible of texting and internet technology, but I also liked the way Box educated us and Joe at the same time with information on cell phone location. And I love Nate.

The girl was intriguing; a mystery in herself, she was smart, tough and resourceful--a great characters. The father and son may have been a bit over the top, but added the tension, suspense and action they story needed.

Box presents a strong message about the changing environment and global warming but I didn't feel beat over the head with it. As ever, he gave a very strong sense of place which adds dimension to the story.

All the elements worked together with an excellent twist at the end. Box, once again, has assured his place on my `must buy' list.

BELOW ZERO (Lic. Inv-Joe Pickett-Wyoming-cont) - Ex
Box, C.J. - 9th in series
Putnam, 2009, US Hardcover - ISBN: 978-0399155758
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good enough for government work, September 30, 2010
By 
Matthew Aron (Hilton Head, S.C.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Below Zero (A Joe Pickett Novel) (Mass Market Paperback)
This was my first box/pickett novel. It was interersting and exciting enough that I got through it, and cared what happened, although it was implausible and the "twist" near the end was not all the interesting or relevant--and wasn't even all that surprising. You do stretch credibility, though, when you're chasing a known mob gangster and say, hey! Why don't I bring my daugther along! No, I don't think so.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The worst of the series so far, February 1, 2010
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I'm a fan of the Joe Pickett series and have purchased and read every book. Most have been quite entertaining and I've enjoyed the adventures of Game Warden Joe. This latest book however is quite sub-par and lacks both believabilty and quality writing. It seems that C.J. Box was simply trying to get a book out to his publisher without any concern about the credibility factor.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars April, in peril, is, April 24, 2010
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This review is from: Below Zero (A Joe Pickett Novel) (Mass Market Paperback)
Wyoming game warden/detective Joe Pickett gets a jolt early in this entertaining novel when his family receives a cellphone text-message purportedly from long dead step-daughter April Keeley. Pickett witnessed April's death in a shootout between a survivalist cult and law enforcement some six years earlier, and has borne a heavy burden of guilt ever since. Helpless to intervene in that tragic event, he is driven to get to the bottom of the mysterious text message and sets off on a chase that will eventually involve two bizarre serial killers, force him into a working partnership with a long-time FBI nemesis and reunite him with frequent ally and fugitive falconer Nate Romanowski. The pursuit of his erstwhile daughter is littered with bodies, hostages and a couple of red herrings. The plot is more than a little over-the-top at times and may be too much for some readers, but author C.B. Box does have a talent for keeping a story going and providing enough surprises to maintain even a skeptical reader's interest. Box also comes up with an imaginative, bang-up ending that sets up the next installment of the Pickett series.

The author has a lot to say about issues of local and/or national interest in his books. In the case of "Below Zero", radical environmentalists, survivalists and out of control weapon freaks. Some of this works well as a backdrop for the book's action, some of it goes a bit too far into fantasyland and detracts from the action. In any event, this novel has some excellent writing and a very original story line that make it engaging and entertaining.

This was my second encounter with Box's writing--a later book, "Nowhere to Run", being the first. I prefer "Nowhere..." for its terrific action and more credible characters and plot. Both books have made me a committed C.B. Box fan and I will continue to read backward into the series and to watch for new installments of the Joe Pickett saga.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Usual Box/Pickett Thriller, July 15, 2010
By 
zorba (Bala Cynwyd, Pa USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Below Zero (A Joe Pickett Novel) (Mass Market Paperback)
If you've read one Box book, you've read them all. Lot of action. Good Wyoming scenery. Characters either very evil or very upstanding -- no in-between. This book has a pretty silly plot premise, and protagonist Joe Pickett continues to believe he's the center of the universe. But, I like the Pickett books for light reading and for just letting my emotions run wild, hating this character and loving this one. I doubt that several weeks from now I'll remember much about the plot. But for a few hours Box held my rapt attention and gave me a little respite from the world. I'll keep reading Box' Pickett books as they are issued, but I'll know I'm getting essentially the same story over and over again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Title, August 19, 2013
This review is from: Below Zero (A Joe Pickett Novel) (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read 7 Pickett books by Mr. Box. Loved every one of them and will continue to read anything by Mr. Box. This one I found to be "below zero" in comparison with others I have read.

This is the first one that I put down after about 100 pages. Having the killers focusing on carbon footprints and the rationale of whom they destroy according seems to me to be way over the top. The logic by the killers as to the first victims is, in my opinion, rather oddball to say the least.

Sorry, Mr. Box, I look forward to others but this one is an incomplete pass......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars keeps you in suspence, May 14, 2014
I like C.j. Box's joe Pickett series. Recommend the series to anyone who enjoys the outdoor adventure and suspence and mystery.
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Below Zero (A Joe Pickett Novel)
Below Zero (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C. J. Box (Mass Market Paperback - April 6, 2010)
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