Book Review - Open Season by C. J. Box c 2001

Open Season by C. J. Box (A Joe Pickett Novel) is the first in a series of twelve novels featuring the Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett. The series is as follows:    1. Open Season  (2001), 2. Savage Run (2002), 3. Winterkill (2003), 4. Trophy Hunt (2004), 5. Out of Range (2005), 6. In Plain Sight (2006), 7. Free Fire (2007), 8. Blood Trail (2008), 9. Below Zero (2009),10. Nowhere to Run (2010), 11. Cold Wind (2011), and 12. Force of Nature (2012). Source:


C. J. Box is a New York Times bestselling author who has won various awards such as: the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (BLUE HEAVEN, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award, and the 2010 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award for fiction. His short stories have been featured in America’s Best Mystery Stories of 2006 and limited-edition printings. 2008 novel BLOOD TRAIL was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin (Ireland) Literary Award. The novels have been translated into 25 languages. BLUE HEAVEN and NOWHERE TO RUN have been optioned for film.


Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he co-owns 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. Source:

Open Season deals with the environmental issue of an endangered animal species. Game Warden, Joe Pickett faces corruption from his colleague and former Supervisor that greatly affects the safety, welfare and health of his family. Murders occur. Energy companies are involved. The common theme of "so-called" good vs. evil takes place.

The issue of environment vs energy is not resolved in this novel.

The story is often told in third person. The author talks about the personalities of his characters, their backgrounds, work histories, past and current relationships, and their community reputations. For example, Joe Pickett had worked with Wacey Hedeman, another Game Warden, on numerous projects and investigations together - built hay fences, shared horses, snow machines, traded notes, and called on each other for help. The characters are well developed. I felt I got to know a number of the characters as "real" people.

The author relates why characters have certain likes and dislikes based on their life experiences. For example, Joe does not like hospitals or nurses because he felt that they had lied to him about the causes of his mother's injuries when he was six years old.

The chapters were brief and fast paced, full of character description, plot telling, action and emotional character responses.

The author does a nice job of summarizing the resulting outcomes of the main characters and the status of any outstanding issues raised. The reader is not left hanging with very many loose ends at the novel's close.

I would recommend this novel to teens and adults who enjoy action, mysteries and the exploring of issues with competing interests.

Since Open Season is currently the first in a twelve novel series the reader may look forward to continue reading about the adventures and life of Joe Pickett, Game Warden. The author includes a preview of Savage Run the next Joe Pickett novel in this series at the end.- MA