Thursday, May 18, 2023

[Review] — Joe Pickett Returns in C.J. Box's "STORM WATCH"

Available to Buy on Hardcover and Kindle

Ah, my. What happened to the time? C.J. Box's Storm Watch, the 22nd Joe Pickett book, was published by G. P. Putnam's Sons on February 28, and I got a copy of it about that time, give or take a few days; I don't remember the precise date. I read it soon after receiving it, but time got away from me, and here we are on May 18, and I'm only now giving my two cents on it. 
In Storm Watch, the authorities are baffled when a well-known University of Wyoming professor vanishes. That is, until game warden Joe Pickett, caught in a fierce spring snowstorm, finds two unexpected things while searching for an injured elk in his area. In the beginning, he discovers the professor's car parked on a distant mountainside and later finds the professor's frozen, dismembered body. Federal agents, fanatics, and Governor Colter Allen block his probe when he tries to find out more. 

Meanwhile, with the help of Geronimo Jones, Nate Romanowski is rebuilding his falconry business and funding it through cryptocurrency mining. Then a mysterious group of radical local activists approaches him, demanding that Wyoming join other western states and separate from the union, using force if necessary. They ask Nate to join them, but he refuses. Can he trust them, or is he being played for a fool? 
Joe and Nate tackle the storm of danger; that's gathering around them in different ways—and possibly for the first time, on opposing sides. 
Storm Watch feels rushed and is too brief, as several "Joe Pickett" readers have noted. Nothing in particular about the plot bothered me, but there were times when Joe's family should have had more storytime. Joe naturally steals the show, but this time he shares the spotlight with his friend Nate, whose story occupies half the book. Therefore, we essentially receive two novellas, which are loosely related and bundled as a single novel. 

I was disappointed with Storm Watch, a Joe Pickett thriller that's somewhat "readable" in the grand scheme. The Bitcoin mining narrative was incredibly dull and should have been better. Since Joe's adopted daughter, April, has transitioned into working in Montana as Cassie Dewell's intern, I had hoped for a crossover between the two series. Sadly, there was only a passing reference to April's whereabouts. The book is readable, as I've already mentioned. It's a quick little thriller that only ardent C.J. Box fans will enjoy. ╌★★★✰✰

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