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In Plain Sight

by C. J. Box

Publishers Weekly Wyoming Game and Fish warden Joe Pickett-honest, upright and hardworking-tends to attract the meanest villains this side of a spaghetti western, as shown in his sprightly sixth outing in which he and his family become the target of John Wayne Keeley, a misguided, conscienceless killer. In addition, Opal Scarlett, the matriarch of a wealthy ranching clan, is missing, and two of her sons, Hank and Arlen, are fighting over the estate. Joe's daughter, Sheridan, is best friends with Hank's daughter, Julie, which puts Sheridan in danger. As usual, hotheaded Joe is also in trouble with his boss, self-serving Randy Pope. When Joe is pulled off of the search for Opal, he stubbornly follows his instincts rather than orders, bringing down Pope's wrath. Edgar-finalist Box (Out of Range) expertly evokes Wyoming's landscape, wildlife, people and politics. Joe's love for the natural world shines throughout, but his lack of political finesse costs him his job by book's end. Fans will eagerly wait to see how he recoups his fortunes in the next installment. 15-city author tour. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Keeping any series balanced between familiar and fresh is tricky. An excellent series is like a tightrope act. With the author pushing himself to daring new heights, we just know he's bound to fall. In the sixth installment of Box's Joe Pickett series, the Wyoming game warden is back home in Saddlestring, happy to be with his family, when he finds himself in the crosshairs of an ex-con intent on righting a perceived wrong (from Winterkill, 2003) and drawn into an epic family feud. Out of Range (2005) was so remarkable that asking Box to top it seems unfair. Indeed, though Joe is again tested, In Plain Sight lacks the intensity and inventiveness of the previous books. Box always works in an issue--here it's the curse of the third generation, or inheritance troubles--and while it's a nice update on the western gothic, it doesn't have the same burning relevance as ecoterrorism or natural gas drilling. Even a family-in-jeopardy device feels slightly rote. But a high-wire artist can't go up indefinitely, and even performing closer to the ground, Box puts on a hell of a show. --Keir Graff Copyright 2006 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal When Wyoming's governor appoints Randy Pope to be the new director of the Game and Fish Department, warden Joe Pickett finds it almost impossible to do his job. Pope is a micromanager who hates Joe, ordering him to stay out of the investigation of a missing rancher. Meanwhile, Opal Scarlett's two sons are battling for control of her ranch, and Joe becomes involved when he is badly beaten by the new foreman hired by Hank Scarlett. This is followed by a series of threatening messages. Meanwhile John Wayne Keeley, ex-convict, murderer, and father of Joe's foster daughter who died in a fire, is seeking revenge against the Pickett family, but Joe is so distracted by his work frustrations and his anger at his boss that he misses the warning signs. Box (Open Season) writes edge-of-the-chair suspense; his prose sings with energy and heart-stopping action. There is some pretty strong stuff here (e.g., killing of helpless animals and gruesome murder scenes), but don't let that stop you from reading this unforgettable mystery. Highly recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 1/06.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus After an eventful trip to Jackson Hole (Out of Range, 2005), Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett is back in Twelve Sleep County for a homecoming that's anything but homey. Trouble starts when fishing guide Tommy Wayman tosses Opal Scarlett, matriarch of the Thunderhead Ranch, into the river over a long-simmering feud. Assuming that Opal's too mean to die, Tommy isn't worried when he doesn't see her climb out. But her disappearance—neither she nor her corpse has turned up anywhere since then—leaves her three sons free to battle it out with shovels over ownership of the ranch. That's the opening scene Joe interrupts, accompanied by his daughter Sheridan, 14, and her best friend, Hank Scarlett's daughter Julie. Soon enough, both Joe and Sheridan will be haunted by spectral sightings of Opal, grinning over her sons' fratricidal strife. By that time, though, Joe will have bigger troubles of his own. Fresh from his murder of convicted killer Wacey Hedeman, J.W. Keeley is on his way to Twelve Sleep County, eager to destroy Joe, whom he blames for the slaughter of his family (Winterkill, 2003). If you think Joe can expect help from the law-enforcement community, you don't know this series, and it's high time you started. Despite an encore roster of perps and felonies that plays like a Greatest Hits list from Joe's first five adventures, Box continues to write the sharpest suspensers west of the Pecos. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett better watch out as a grudge against him becomes deadly in the sixth installment. Box lives in Wyoming. Fifteen-city author tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.