Mystery Series Reviews | Open Season

C. J. Box, #1

Open Season - C J Box coverWe come back to the United States with this review of Open Season, the first in C. J. Box’s series featuring Joe Pickett, the newly hired Wyoming State Game Warden. Joe Pickett replaces the outgoing Game Warden, Vern Dunnegan, and must work with the incompetent County Sheriff, O. R. “Bud” Barnum. Joe’s wife, Marybeth, is pregnant with their third child. Their two daughters, Sheridan and Lucy, are seven and three years old, respectively. Also part of the family is eight-year-old Maxine, Joe’s yellow Labrador.

The setting is the State of Wyoming, Twelve Sleep County, the town of Saddlestring, the surrounding Bighorns, and the Twelve Sleep River flowing through town. The Picketts live about eight miles outside of town. It is Wild West action situated late in the 20th century, and the entire Pickett family shares in the grandeur of the mountains and forests of Wyoming and the life and troubles of a state game warden.

The first book in this series begins with the sound of a bullet hitting flesh. The gun is fired by a poacher, Ote Keeley, whose rationale is, “There’s more animals in Wyoming than people.” Joe begins to write him up for poaching, Ote goes off the deep end, and Joe finds himself staring down the barrel of his own service revolver. It is action, murder, threats, tragedy, protection of an endangered species, and some wrongs made right. It is the beginning of Joe’s life as a Wyoming State Game Warden.

Up next: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

Harriet Engle, a Staff Assistant at the Manheim Community Library, is an avid reader of several authors who write murder mystery series. Look for her weekly reviews highlighting each of these series.