Dark Sky by C J Box
Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must accompany a Silicon Valley CEO on a hunting trip – but soon learns that he himself may be the hunted – in the thrilling new novel from number-one New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box.
When the governor of Wyoming gives Joe Pickett the thankless task of taking a tech baron on an elk hunting trip, Joe reluctantly treks into the wilderness with his high-profile charge. But as they venture into the woods, a man-hunter is hot on their heels, driven by a desire for revenge. Finding himself without a weapon, a horse, or a way to communicate, Joe must rely on his wits and his knowledge of the outdoors to protect himself and his companion.
Meanwhile, Joe’s closest friend, Nate Romanowski, and his own daughter Sheridan learn of the threat to Joe’s life and follow him into the woods. In a stunning final showdown, the three of them come up against the worst that nature – and man – have to offer.
Yes, not my first Joe Pickett. This entry to the series has Pickett accompanying a bigwig Silicon Valley CEO on an elk hunting trip. The man has decided he must do the thing himself, not ever having hiked a trail that wasn’t a flat concrete path through a park, much less the Bitterroots. These mountains are serious; elevation, dense, full of wildlife, and treacherous. It’s beyond me how someone without hunting experience is even allowed a gun, much less something powerful enough to bring down a bull elk.
A social media event, the governor has given Pickett the assignment as “Steve2” is trying to decide on a location for a major extension into Wyoming. The gov wants the deal.
Sounding suspiciously familiar, I ventured into the book because I like the series, the characters, and the stunning, majestic, and rustic location. But, yes, I think I’ve read this plot before, maybe at Book 21 there are no new plot ideas.
Still, Steve2 is exactly what you’d expect of a clueless (and fabulously rich) Silicon Valley media baron and the various characters surrounding him on this quest are exactly the clueless people you’d NOT want to be accompanying anyone.
You won’t read a Picket series novel without Nate Romanowski running at least a sub-plot and he does so here, providing his shoot first, ask questions later style of justice.
Predictably, it’s one disaster after the other, dodging the bad guys, confronting dangerously severe early winter weather, and experiencing more than the average savage death of bit players. But Joe is, after all a game warden, and experienced in these here mountains. He does, fortunately, have a budding and forceful Joe Pickett Jr in his youngest daughter and she’s coming fast to help save dead old dad.
The well-plotted and fast-paced narrative races to the conclusion in a flurry of Western blood and guts. But hey, in the meantime, it’s been an engaging and entertaining novel, one that the narrator enhanced in the telling this time. I listened to Long Range last year and could have happily exchanged Chandler for the lady who narrated The Bitterroots (another series also by the same author).
Still, I’ll be looking to listen to Book 22, released in March this year (coincidence? I think not), Shadows Reel. No, you don’t have to worry about starting with Book 1.
I obtained a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stock library.
Genre: Crime Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc.
Listening Length: 9 hrs 31 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 02, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Dark Sky [Amazon]
Rosepoint Publishing: Four stars
The Author: C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty-two novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award (twice), the Western Heritage Award for Literature, and 2017 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western. The novels have been translated into 27 languages. Open Season, Blue Heaven, Nowhere To Run, and The Highway have been optioned for film and television. Millions of copies of his novels have been sold in the U.S. alone.
Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he owned an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. In 2008, Box was awarded the “BIG WYO” Award from the state tourism industry. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and is currently serving on the Wyoming Tourism Board. He lives in Wyoming.
©2022 V Williams