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Cold Wind (A Joe Pickett Novel) Hardcover – March 22, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 374 customer reviews
Book 11 of 16 in the Joe Pickett Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must try to prove that his despised mother-in-law, Missy Alden, isn't guilty of murdering Earl Alden, her fifth husband, in Box's searing 11th Joe Pickett novel (after Nowhere to Run). Pickett's gruesome discovery of Alden's body is followed almost immediately by the stage-managed arrest of Missy by Sheriff Kyle McLanahan. Both Missy and Earl have done plenty to earn the enmity of their neighbors, so Missy's arrest benefits McLanahan's bid for re-election, but Pickett is surprised to find county attorney Lisa Rich already convinced the case is solid. Pickett could use the help of his friend Nate Romanowski, but they are on the outs. Meanwhile, Romanowski, hunted by the widow of a man he killed, finds his withdrawal from the world has endangered others. Box parlays a heady mix of Wyoming politics and the advent of wind power into a deadly brew. This engaging series just keeps getting better with each new entry. Author tour. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

When Joe Pickett�s mother-in-law is accused of murdering her latest husband, there�s a part of him that can�t believe his good luck: the social-climbing harpy has had it in for him ever since he married his beloved Marybeth. Unfortunately, it�s hard for him to believe she�s guilty. Could a petite woman in her midsixties really hoist a body to the top of a wind turbine and chain it to the spinning blade? What�s her motive, anyway? Reluctantly, the dogged Wyoming game warden begins his own investigation, one that seems to ruffle the feathers of just about everybody involved. The eleventh installment in Box�s superlative series returns Pickett to his old stomping grounds, Twelve Sleep County, and spins a complicated mystery that entangles familiar series characters in new and surprising ways. Despite Joe�s guess that �things are going to get real Western,� they end with a courtroom surprise (�like fuckin� Perry Mason!� as one old-timer observes). But a closing scene promises plenty of action in the next book, featuring fan favorite Nate Romanowski. Box�s many fans won�t be disappointed. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The 75,000-copy first printing may or may not cover all the devoted fans of Box�s long-running series. --Keir Graff

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Product Details

  • Series: A Joe Pickett Novel (Book 11)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1 edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399157352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157356
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (374 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By W. Owens on April 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been a C.J. Box fan for years. In particular, I have always enjoyed the Joe Pickett novels, particularly the way Box interweaves Wyoming political issues into his storytelling.

The political issue tackled in "Cold Wind" is wind energy. Wind farm development is a controversial subject in the Cowboy State, carrying with it disputes over landowners' rights, the desirability (or lack thereof) of seeing clusters of 40 or 50, 250-foot-tall turbines towering over the wide open spaces, and who is being enriched at whose expense. It's pretty clear where Box's sentiments lie, and as a Wyomingite I would have to say it's fair to say many Wyomingites agree with him.

The setup is thus: game warden Joe Pickett is out one morning on a routine patrol near the ranch owned by his hated mother-in-law, Missy Alden, and her latest husband, when he sees something dangling from a wind turbine on the Aldens' land. As he investigates, he discovers to his horror that it is the body of Earl Alden, his father-in-law. Making matters worse, Missy is promptly arrested for Earl's murder, and Joe finds himself in the uncomfortable position of trying to prove her innocence. In the course of Joe's investigation, he discovers a number of people who would like to see Earl Alden dead - who could the real murderer be?

The main plot was for the most part enjoyable to read. Joe, as usual, finds himself bucking the system while at the same time trying to remain true to his values. Box does his usual fine job of maintaining suspense. There were some things I found annoying, however, mostly with Box's handling of Wyoming criminal procedure. For example, Box has a lay Justice of the Peace (and feed store owner) preside over Missy's initial appearance and her preliminary hearing.
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Format: Hardcover
I read C. J. Box when he put out his first Joe Pickett novel in 2001. I thought it was a great debut and picked up the next few as they came out. Well, then I kind of missed a few. I just finished the brand new book ( #11) in this series - Cold Wind - and I'm kicking myself. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this character. Joe Pickett is a game warden in Wyoming. But Joe does a lot more than check hunting licenses and monitor wildlife.

Joe is out patrolling the high ridges - home to the newest kind of farming in wind swept Wyoming - wind farms. He notices that one turbine seems to be turning slower than than the others - the dead body tied to it could be the reason. The body turns out to be Earl, the fifth husband of Joe's mother-in-law Missy. Missy and Joe have never gotten along, but when Missy is charged with murder, both she and Joe's wife Marybeth ask him to look into things on his own. It looks like the local sheriff has already tried and convicted Missy.

Box has taken a very current and very hot topic and woven a great mystery around the whole issue of wind farms. (There's lots of debate in my part of the world about them right now)

Joe Pickett is a wonderfully likable character who tries to do the right thing by everyone, every time. Think white hat. The supporting characters are just as well drawn - the sheriff and his cronies are eminently unlikeable. As is Joe's cold, calculating mother-in-law. Joe's personal life has evolved throughout the novels as well - I wonder how much of the trials of raising three daughters mirrors Box's own life with three daughters. Joe and Marybeth's relationship seems very real as well. The secondary storyline involving Joe's friend Nate Romanowski totally grabbed me. Nate is a master falconer and fugitive.
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Format: Hardcover
Cold Wind gets off to a promising start as Joe Pickett discovers the body of his mother-in-law's most recent husband chained to the spinning blade of a wind-powered turbine. The plot begins to deteriorate when his mother-in-law, Missy, is arrested for the crime, the murder weapon having been found in the back of her car. The prosecutor, although allegedly a bright woman, believes she has a strong case because one of Missy's ex-husbands claims that she tried to hire him to kill her current husband. It apparently never occurs to the prosecutor to wonder (1) how she is going to prove that an elderly woman managed to climb a turbine tower and chain a dead body to a spinning blade, (2) how she will convince the jury that Missy would even want to display his body that way, or (3) why a jury would view the unsubstantiated story told by an embittered ex-husband as credible. The prosecutor seems to be counting on the jury to convict Missy because they resent her wealth and arrogance, but that attitude is inconsistent with what Pickett tells us about her professionalism. At least that inconsistency suggests that she's complex, unlike the other characters in Cold Wind, who tend to be purely good or purely evil, lacking the subtle mix of positive and negative traits that make a character believable.

A second storyline is just silly. Joe's buddy Nate Romanowski is living in a cave, hiding from five former members of a "rogue branch" of Special Forces who now work for Homeland Security. An attempt is made on his life, not by the rogues, but by a woman who hires two nitwits to shoot at his cave with a rocket launcher. How the woman acquired the weapon never seems to concern the nitwits and apparently it isn't supposed to concern the reader either, since the explanation eventually provided is laughable.
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