Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Book Review: Free Fire by CJ Box

I think by now you will have realised that I am a huge fan of 'Joe Pickett' and indeed the Pickett family and of course Nate Romanowski as written about by Mr Box and I really haven't a bad thing to say about any of his books as I work my way through them, this is number 7 in the reading order of 12  and still I have nothing bad to say, even although for the first time in all seven books I found two errors, one of which was a stupid hyphen in dan-gerous WTF!

Setting aside that, and I have marked it down in my editing for Kindle (Harsh but what can one do), what about the story.Well, you may recall that by the end of, 'In Plain Site'  Joe has been sacked from his job as Game Warden and in Free Fire we find him working as Ranch Foreman on his Father-in-laws ranch while Marybeth's accounting business is expanding.

Out of the blue the new Governor turns up in Saddlestring and offers Joe his job back but with strings attached.

A multiple murder has taken place in Yellowstone Park and it looks as if, for the first time ever, anywhere in the world, 'It is the perfect murder'. They know who did it, he even handed himself in immediately after killing 4 people, but they had to let him go!

Yellowstone Park might be in the state, in fact it is in three US states, and therefore comes under Federal law because of its status as a National Park.  The Governor thinks the Federal authorities are not doing enough and tells Joe that he wants him to visit the park and find out what the hell's going on, even although he will have no jurisdiction.

After discussing it with Marybeth Joe takes the job, knew he would, and is reinstated as a Game Warden with no loss of service.  Director Pope who we don't miss from the story still manages to stick the knife in, by making sure Joe doe's not get his original badge number back which would show him as a senior Warden, instead sending him Badge no 54, reserved for rookies!

Joe sets off for Yellowstone in a brand new truck, you just know what's gonna happen to that, just as Joe can't hit a barn door if he was standing in front of it with his gun, you just know what's gonna happen to that truck (oh, it's deliciously funny) followed by Nate Romanowski as back up.

Soon he is in the thick of it, more murders are committed, and just to mix things up we learn of events from Joe's past, about his brother, how he died and where he is buried.  His parents break up and why Joe has hated his father and always avoids discussing him and ghosts from that past become real in Yellowstone all lead to complications in the investigation.

A thrilling climax to the book ends with the FBI and an old adversary from that organisation double crossing Joe and Nate but this after Joe in his usual stumbling way, solves the crime.

This really was /is as good as the previous six books and Mr Box just keeps getting better and better.  The Perfect Murder scenario was a master stroke in finding it and building a story around it and it worked well, I wonder if that little loophole has now been closed in reality (hope so, wont be in a hurry to visit that corner of Yellowstone Park until I know it has been!)?

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: 380
Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
You can purchase Free Fire At Amazon UK here or at Amazon US here 

CJ Box can be found here


  1. and the old TBR pile just keeps getting bigger. Sigh.

    Sounds like a great series, Tom. Gonna give it a shot.

  2. we spoke abou authors who write a series of books in one of your blogs and I said that I went off one that I had been reading.

    Seems to be no danger of that here though. Box writes a compelling different story in every book with grand descriptions of the Wyoming Country and the interaction between Joe Picket and his family; for god sakes he even killed one of the girls, so he is not afraid to take chances.

    You know me and romance yuk, (am I still being convincing enough) but there are tender moments too in amongst the grisliness of a Game Wardens life.

    He hooked me with the first one I picked up and I just can't put them down.

    I usually read one and then a couple of other authors before going back to him, but finished this one earlier today, opened up another author read one page and then had to come back to the next one in the sequence, damn him

  3. Yeah Jaye, Tom's killing me with all these books. But Yellowstone - one of my favorite places. I may have to bump this one up. Any grizzly bears in the story?


All posts and photos copyright to the author, unless otherwise stated, and should not be reproduced without permission. If reproduction permitted, full accreditation and link to site must be provided.
Anonymous comments are not invited and will be sent direct to the SPAM box....