Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Monday, 21 May 2012

Book Review: Blood Trail by C J Box

Blood Trail, number 8 in the ' Joe Pickett' series and yes I may as well say right out at the front - EVERY BIT AS GOOD AS 1 THROUGH 7!

Joe is back in Saddlestring with Marybeth and the girls, Nate is in Federal prison after he and Joe were double crossed by Portenson when investigating the 'perfect murder' in Yellowstone Park , the FBI agent who hates Wyoming and anything to do with the morons who live in such a godforsaken backwood, animal infested part of the country!

Joe and Marybeth have now bought a 'house' in town and Joe is filling in across the state for absent or sick wardens.  Nosey neighbours are making Joe wish that he was back in the isolation of their state owned house and hunting season is in full swing....  and it's not just the game that's being hunted.

A new hunter has arrived in the state, not hunting the wildlife but the hunters themselves.  Two have already been killed elsewhere when the third is killed in the hills outside Saddlestring and they are not just being killed, they are being strung up like an Elk sliced open and left on display....

The Governor again calls on Joe to investigate and Director Pope, Joe's boss who hates Joe as much as he (Joe) hates him, and not forgetting he was the guy who sacked 'our' Joe, want's to be in the field as part of the investigation and seems to be backing Joe up!  You just know that ultimately this means that there is going to be more trouble in store for him.

Joe also finds Stella Ennis is back, this time working for the Governor, Joe nearly fell for her and this damaged his marriage for a while, what will happen when Marybeth finds out that Stella is back?

Joe asks the Governor to intervene with the FBI and have Nate released, but he refuses and brings in a specialist tracker, who also ends up getting killed while out with Joe....... as does ......  (no spoilers - but sadness is felt)

Joe knows that there is something more to the killings but can't figure it out, as usual.  A high profile Anti Hunt protester and his Indian wife arrive in Saddlestring and this complicates the enquiry as he hails the 'hunter' as a hero.

Vern Dunnegan, Joes predecessor and mentor and the guy that Joe had to arrest all those years ago when he was involved in an incident that got Marybeth shot and nearly killed and resulted in them losing an unborn child, is back in the frame somehow and Joe has to confront him in prison....

Once again you think you know what the outcome is going to be but Box leaves it until about the last few pages to confuse and reveal the real killer it was a surprise, until you realise that the answer was also staring you, as it was Joe, right in the face.

Box, just continues to provide an enthralling read.  In between the business of Game Warden and Murder we get the 'mundane' family life;  growing daughters with the angst that that brings, nosey and irritable neighbours  and of course the continuing saga of Missy Vankueron-Longbrake, Joe's mother-in-law.  The narrative flows seamlessly from the high octane of danger and death to discussions  on homework, school and cleaning the roof gutters and fixing tiles and fences to keep the neighbours happy, how many authors do you read, that are this good?

Book 1 - Open Season                  
Book 2 – Savage Run                   
Book 3 – Winterkill                      

Book 4 – Trophy Hunt                  

Book 5 – Out of Range                 

Book 6 – In Plain Sight                

Book 7 – Free Fire                       
Book 8 – Blood Trail                     
Book 9 – Below Zero
Book 10 – Nowhere to Run
Book 11 – Cold Wind
Book 12 – Force of Nature

Editing for Kindle /iPad: 4 out of 5*
Reading Enjoyment: 5 out of 5 
Page length on kindle /iPad: 301 for the book (and 1st chapter of next book taking it to 314)
Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

* found another word with a hyphen that shouldn't have been there Mr Box 

You can purchase Free Fire At Amazon UK here or at Amazon US here 

CJ Box can be found here


  1. Wow. This series sounds great, but I think it might be too violent for me. Since I need unicorns and rainbows and romance and....you know. But I do love mysteries. How crazy violent is this one?

  2. Oh dear Penny, you might like to avoid the part where a hunter is killed strung up and field dressed with the body cavity slit open to cool down and the head removed

    other than that oh and the bit where the....... is pinned to the wall in director Popes hotel room the rest of it is detective work interspersed with Joe's usual moral dilemas xxxx

  3. U R killing me! How am I going to read all these books! Gaaaaa! Oh yeah, cast on, have time to spare. Head slap.


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