Just when you think maybe the whole Joe Pickett series is likely to run out of steam (as we were suspecting after we read Below Zero), CJ Box comes back and knocks it out of the ballpark with what we can only say is the best novel in the series so far.
Nowhere to Run opens high in the Sierra Madre of southern Wyoming, with Joe on the trail of whoever had butchered a wounded elk. Within a couple of chapters, Joe chances across the likely culprits and finds himself caught up in a deadly cat and mouse game – with Joe seriously on the losing end of the situation. As with all of the best CJ Box novels, he pitches the scenario tremendously well – the villains are not out-and-out villains (although they are pretty damn bad) and the moral high ground causes trouble between Joe and his on-off sidekick Nate Romanowski.
The ethical dilemma at the heart of Nowhere to Run concerns a desire on the behalf of the aforementioned brothers to find a place that isn’t legislated by Government. Joe’s desire to do his job forces a confrontation and after that it’s a case of stand back so you don’t get your eyebrows singed off. Once again Box demonstrates that you don’t need to pitch your crime drama in easy to digest black and white to make a real point. He also manages to thread in the dynamic of a family pursuing their lost daughter and sow the seeds of later contention (we know that the problems he has with his mother-in-law are going to blow up at some point just as we know that his adopted daughter April is a goldmine of trouble down the line) – all of which makes for a highly enjoyable page turner.
Any Cop?: It’s probable if you haven’t sampled CJ Box’s Joe Pickett novels by book 10 you probably aren’t going to. So we can presume we’re preaching to the converted. As far as the converted are concerned, this may well be the best Joe Pickett novel so far…