When Earl Alden is found dead, dangling from a wind turbine, it's his wife, Missy, who is arrested. Unfortunately for game warden Joe Pickett, Missy is his mother-in- law, a woman he dislikes heartily, and now he doesn't know what to do - especially when the early signs point to her being guilty as sin.
But then things happen to make Joe wonder: Is Earl's death what it appears to be? Is Missy being set up? He has the county DA and sheriff on one side, his wife on the other, his estranged friend Nate on a lethal mission of his own, and some powerful interests breathing down his neck. Whichever way this goes... it's not going to be good.
C. J. Box's newest best seller, Cold Wind, marks his 11th visit to the popular Joe Pickett series. When we are first introduced to the world of Cold Wind it seems to be this wide expanse of big Wyoming emptiness. The events and characters look to be products of small town thinking and petty local politics. Yet you quickly learn that there's much more going on here. Wind turbines are coming to dominate the landscape and the economy. Unlikely new players are amassing huge fortunes and influence. Where you have money and power in play, you've got just the elements you need for conflict, mystery, and murder. It's against this backdrop that Joe Pickett works as a ranger. Ostensibly his job involves counting wildlife and keeping an eye on the local hunters, yet his role also allows him unique leeway to act both as the law as well as outside the law.
David Chandler has now narrated 10 of the Joe Pickett books, so he's very familiar with the New West tone and feel for the series. He has a bit of challenge with the number of characters here, but Joe’s friend Nate stands out. Nate plays counterpoint to Joe they're two sides of the same coin. Where Joe is the thoughtful family man, Nate is the badass wild card unfettered by society and living by his own moral code. You see this particularly in Chandler's voicing of the characters. Where Joe is the everyman voice of reason, Nate is the low menacing whisper of raw emotion and animal drives.
In many ways Cold Wind is reminiscent of an old established genre of storytelling that's populated Western literature for generations. It used to be the promise of the gold rush, then conflicts over cattle, then it was the oil boom; now the next big thing shaping the Western provinces is wind power. With Cold Wind, C. J. Box helps continue this proud American tradition of individualism and justice. Cleo Creech
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Excellent, edge of my seat the whole time