Open Season was first published in 2001 by C.J. Box and introduced Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett to mystery readers. Box has enjoyed a pretty long writing career, and he likely is still along way from being finished.
Joe Pickett accepts a position as game warden in Twelve Step, Wyoming and runs into trouble when he loses his weapon to a local poacher. Pickett survives the encounter, but the incident leaves a black mark on his career. Some months later, the poacher is found dead near a woodpile in Pickett’s backyard. Pickett finds himself enmeshed in local politics as well as a growing body count. There also seems to have been a resurgence of a species thought extinct. On top of that, his third child is on the way. Pickett has a very busy first outing in this particular novel.
For a first novel, Open Season actually works quite well. In many detective series, the protagonist often has a plethora of personal and self-destructive challenges. Pickett is pretty much a straight shooter and devoted family man. Some may label him as rather boring, but I ended up rather liking him as the story progressed. Pickett does end up displaying a formidable grit when the answers start flowing. I also liked his wife, who is certainly no pushover but has an unshakeable loyalty to her husband. Pickett has some struggles but has plenty of reason for others to envy him.
It should be interesting to see how Box’s writing flourishes as he continues to flesh out the Picketts as the series progresses. Box is already quite popular, but I imagine there are those slower than I am to sample his works, I would recommend to not put off a perusal of at least this novel. I plan to move forward and see how Joe Pickett and family face other challenges presented by the evil intent of some people and wilds of Wyoming.
Next up, a return to 221 B Baker Street is in order. Although the creator of Sherlock Holmes is long deceased, other writers over the decades have attempted to add their own flavor to the consulting detective. One of the better authors is Bonnie MacBird who has recently written The Devil’s Due. Once again, the game is afoot.