Open Season by C.J. Box
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Open Season by C.J. Box, published in the year 2001, is the first in the series of crime fiction novels featuring the protagonist Joe Picket, a Game Warden in the Twelve Sleep County, Wyoming. The books opens with a prologue as Picket tries to stop a poacher. The events start piling up from the first chapter itself as the same poacher who Joe had confronted in the prologue is found dead and murdered in his backyard. The police after a routine investigation close the case, and handing over a culprit. But, Joe takes it personally, as the body was found in his own backyard, and apparently not satisfied with the result of the investigation starts to dig deeper into the case. As he digs deeper, he is confronted with the risk of losing the job he loves and thereby losing his family.
The book was nothing extraordinary, as in respect to the plot. This sort of crime novel has been written before and by the half of the book it becomes obvious as to the identity of the culprit. But, what made this one an enjoyable read was the setting. Most of the times a very exceptional thriller gets dull as it doesn’t get the required support from the setting. The setting fails to inject any sort of suspense or sense of adventure in to the plot. But, here wild Wyoming added the perfect amount of adventure quotient, to keep the reader moving on in a steady pace. For a city dweller like me, a crime novel based in the wild becomes much more than a regular crime thriller, it sort of turns into a thriller-cum-travelogue, as it happened here.
Joe Pickett is a family man, with the values in the right places. At times he may seem dull, but given the fact that this is the first book in the series, he comes out as a strong man, who supports his family, and despite all the luring stays true to his profession and values. He is shown in a much toned down human way. Although based in the wild, he is no Tarzan or Lone Ranger. He has emotions, he confesses to be a lousy shot, he even manages to lose his gun.
A well written book, with smooth dialogues, this will be enjoyed by anyone who wants to try a crime novel set outside the dreariness of a concrete jungle, and set in the lush green of the wild.
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