Reviewed by Robert P. Moyer
WOLF PACK: A Joe Pickett Novel. By C.J. Box. Putnam. 370 pages. $27.
After a bruising political battle in book 18 of this series, Joe Pickett gets a new truck and his job back as a Wyoming game warden. Now perhaps he can return to handing out tickets for illegal trapping and fishing, taking a break from solving murders in the beautiful setting of this series.
Fat chance. Trouble hovers over Pickett. Like the drone that is terrorizing animal herds, chasing them to their deaths. Pickett handles the drone with the help of a talented accomplice, but he doesn’t handle the owner of the drone quite as well. When confronted, the guy, a transplant from New Jersey, his father and his bodyguards openly mock Pickett.
While Pickett tries to parse out why they are so dismissive, trouble shows up in a black SUV. Two FBI thugs try to intimidate Pickett into giving up his campaign against the guy. Unbeknownst to them all, even bigger trouble shows up in less conspicuous transportation — aWolf Pack.
Not the natural predator that locals claim kills their cattle. No, this pack is a crew of killers hired by the Sinaloa drug cartel to eliminate enemies. Unfortunately, they kill even when pointed at the wrong target. Before Pickett can figure out what’s going on (the reader has the information earlier, of course), bodies start piling up at an alarming rate — alarming to both Pickett and the reader.
Don’t get attached to any of the characters in the book; they might not survive to the grisly finale. This 19th book in the series is probably more graphic than any previous ones. Pickett survives, of course, but if you are bothered by bloody body count, you might want to think twice about following the Wolf Pack.