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Below Zero by C. J. Box
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Below Zero (2009)

by C. J. Box

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I know Below Zero is not CJ Box’s latest novel, but it is the latest one I’ve read and I am just as riveted as I was with all the rest. Joe Pickett and his family, Marybeth, Sheridan and Lucy, continue to burrow into the hearts of CJ’s readers. Joe, a Wyoming game warden who often finds himself on the disgruntled side of either the director of the Wyoming Game and Fish, the Wyoming governor, one or more county sheriffs, or his wife, finds he must take a leave of absence to investigate text messages Sheridan is receiving from someone calling herself April. We, CJ Box’s loyal readers, believe that April, their adopted daughter, was killed six years before in Winterkill. We are immediately pulled into the story because we, along with Joe and Sheridan, can hardly breathe at the thought that April might be alive and is reaching out for help. We have no choice but to force ourselves into the truck with the two of them as father and oldest daughter head off —despite Marybeth’s concern for Sheridan’s safety, and Lucy’s anger at not being included—to find and save April and bring her home.

Being busy with my own writing and research, I usually find it difficult to hold my attention to a story I’m reading, no matter the author. With Below Zero (or anything CJ Box writes) I have a hard time leaving it to return to my own work. He keeps me engaged and rooting for the heroes, often as in the westerns and mysteries of old, wanting to yell out, “Look out behind you!” or “Quick! Hide!” There are times I want to punch someone in the nose, or worse. Sometimes that someone is Joe Pickett himself when he doesn’t see the obvious. Of course we can’t forget about Nate Romanowski.
A Joe Pickett adventure would not be complete without the .454 Casull-carrying falconer and fugitive who is determined to do whatever it takes, legal or not, to protect the Pickett family.

I am writing this review before finishing Below Zero because, frankly, I don’t want to inadvertently give the ending away. Do Joe and Sheridan find the girl claiming to be April, alive and unhurt? Is she April? If so where has she been for six years? Why hasn’t she made contact earlier? What unlawful act does Nate Romanowski commit in the name of the Pickett family’s friendship? Do we remember why Nate feels he owes Joe his lifelong gratitude?

CJ Box keeps the stories going, book to book, year to year. I can’t wait to watch Sheridan turn into an adult. What further tribulations do she and Lucy have down the road? CJ, don’t ever quite writing while I’m still around. ( )
  JamesPaddock | Dec 4, 2016 |
April died six years ago. Joe was a witness in a mistake-lade stakeout. The family mourned April as if she really was there instead of a foster child. So - who called on Sheridan's phone saying she was April?

This, combined with several important deaths in "Blood Trail"; leaves Joe and family upset to say the least. On top of this, a Chicago mobster is on the run in Wyoming, accompanied by a young girl and his pretty sure he's crazy son. Murders happen wherever this trio lights.

A very good book in a great series. One of the best so far. ( )
  macygma | Jul 24, 2016 |
From Amazon:

Six years ago, Joe Pickett's foster daughter, April, was murdered. Now, someone is leaving phone messages claiming to be the dead girl. As his family struggles with the disturbing event, he discovers that the calls have been placed from locations where serious environmental crimes have occurred. And as the phone calls grow closer, so does the danger.

My Thoughts:

While I didn't entirely dislike the book...I am finding that the most recent ones need a greater infusion of reality. In spite of all the contemporary touches... cold hospitals that are more interested in insurance coverage than the patient's recovery... carbon footprints and the death of Planet Earth... abused foster-care children...text messaging...just to mention a few...they can do nothing to rescue a lame...contrived... and unbelievable plot. Box has done much better and hopefully will again. 2.5 stars ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Joe Pickett's family gets a message from a young girl he and his wife helped raise and he has thought her dead for several years.
  taurus27 | Mar 26, 2016 |
This was a pleasant read. Good suspense. The actual mystery was only so-so however, and the twist was way too obvious. I got it about 3/4 of the way through the book, and I NEVER catch on to things like this, so if I guessed, then the average reader will probably know what is going to happen before they even start the book. :-) ( )
  magerber | Feb 22, 2016 |
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For Don Johnson ... And Laurie, always
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Marshall and Sylvia Hotle, who liked to list their places of residence as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Quartzsite, Arizona, and "the open road," were preparing dinner when the saw the dark SUV with Illinois plates drive by on the access road for the third time in less than an hour.
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Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is forced to relive the tragedy of his foster daughter April's apparent death six years earlier when his daughter Sheridan starts receiving text messags from someone claiming to be April. The nightmare rachets up a step when whoever is sending these messages is discovered traveling with suspected environmental terrorists.… (more)

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