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Sunday 19 June 2022

‘Shadows Reel’ by C.J. Box

Published by Head of Zeus,
3 March 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-80328392-0 (HB)

Set in Twelve Sleep County, Wyoming, this is the twenty-second book in the series featuring Game Warden Joe Pickett.


A call from Lorne Trumley reporting a dead moose on his ranch has Joe driving out to check. As it is two weeks after the close of moose-hunting season Joe, like Lorne assumes, it’s a poaching incident.   But it is a human body, although one that is barely recognisable as such.


This is not welcome news, it is the day before thanksgiving and Joe is looking forward to spending time with his wife Marybeth and their three daughters, Sheridan, April and Lucy. The latter is bringing a friend along. Also visiting for the holiday is Liv Romanowski and her baby daughter Kestrel. Liv’s husband Nate, Joe’s long-time friend, is on the trail of an outlaw falconer Axel Soledad, who had not only stolen Nate’s falcons but beaten-up Nate’s wife in the process.


Meanwhile, Marybeth arriving early at the library of which she is Director, sees a man leaving a package by the library door. What Mary finds in the package is a photo album that appears to be a personal album of Adolf Hitler. Some internet browsing provides links to the infamous Nazi Julius Streicher. But how did this album end up in Wyoming?


Joe has contacted the new Sheriff Scott Tibbs, who has only been in the position for a few months but is already clearly out of his depth.  When the body is identified as a local fishing guide, who has lived in the area all his life and there seems on the face of it to be no reason why he was murdered. Or indeed tortured before he was killed.


In the midst of their thanksgiving celebrations a close neighbour to the Picketts is found murdered, and Marybeth and Joe fear for their family. They need to solve the killings, but there seems no common denominator, between the two victims.


With two story lines, one a complete mystery, and one a race to locate the outlaw Soledad, this is a compelling read.   On the one side a fascinating mystery that dates back to World War 2, and on the other, a fast-paced chase as Nate hunts the man who stole from him and beat his wife.

Storytelling at its best. Recommended.

Reviewer:  Lizzie Sirett

C. J. Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small-town newspaper reporter and editor, and he owned an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. In 2008, Box was awarded the "BIG WYO" Award from the state tourism industry. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. They have three daughters. He lives in Wyoming. 

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