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Below Zero (A Joe Pickett Novel) Mass Market Paperback – April 6, 2010
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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.
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.
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.