If you have read a few of the C.J. Box Joe Pickett novels then you know that they weave together several threads. Sometimes there are politics: national, state, or local. There is Joe’s family and what is happening with them, his wife and three daughters. Joe’s best friend Nate often plays an important role in the stories, and then there is Joe’s job as a game warden, which is ostensibly the main topic and the source of the mystery. And so it is in Wolf Pack, the story is as much about the totally of Joe’s life as the mystery at hand.
Joe investigates some abandoned traps. Unattended traps are cruel as animals are left to needlessly suffer. Joe goes to the address on record for the hunter, but his GPS glitches. Meanwhile, the game warden in the neighboring district observes a drone harassing deer herds coming off the mountain. The drone operator appears to reside in Joe’s district. She asks Joe for help investigating. Through in some FBI agents from Washington and some out of place possible baddies that attract Nate’s attention, and there is the mystery.
On the family front, Joe and his wife Marybeth have moved into a new home. Their youngest daughter, Lucy, is in her senior year of high school and she had a boy friend. Meanwhile Liv, Nate’s wife, is pregnant and with her help Nate is trying to run a real business.
What about the “Wolf Pack”? There are four legged and a two legged packs on the scene.
I’ve read several C.J. Box Joe Pickett novels and generally enjoy them. They are great modern day mysteries with a western feel. Wolf Pack, however, didn’t appeal to me as much as the others I read. There was way too much violence. People were being killed right and left and their bodies disposed of. My sense is that in a real Wyoming town these types of events would get a lot more attention and community response. Also, I’m starting to feel that portraying FBI agents as overbearing bullies is becoming an overused and tired trope. This is too bad as there were all of the ingredients for another winner.
I listened to the audio version of Wolf Pack. The good narration of David Chandler and the many threads of the story outside of the violence saved it and made the story tolerable. I’m usually a fan, but not of this installment.