Breaking Point

Author: C.J. Box

Critics called Force of Nature an "amazing" (Associated Press), "outstanding" (Minneapolis Star Tribune), "warp speed...showdown between good and evil" (The Denver Post). "This is the best Box I've ever read, and I’ve read them all" (Library Journal).

Breaking Point, however, takes Joe Pickett into uncharted territory. The question is: What will he do when he gets there?

It was always good to see Butch Roberson, Joe thought -- a hardworking, upright local business owner whose daughter was friends with his own. Little did he know that when he talked to Butch that day in the forest, the man was about to disappear. He was heading into the mountains to scout elk, he said, but instead he was running. Two EPA employees had just been murdered, and all signs pointed to him as the killer.

As the manhunt organized itself, Joe heard more of the story -- about the tract of land Butch and his wife had bought to build their retirement home on, until the EPA declared it a wetland. About the penalties they charged him when he balked, new ones piling up every day, until the family was torn apart...and finally, it seems, the man just cracked.

It was an awful story. But was it the whole story? The more Joe looks into it, the more he begins to wonder--and the more he finds himself in the middle of a war he never expected and never wanted. Powerful forces want Roberson not just caught but dead--and the same goes for anyone who stands in their way.

Every man reaches his breaking point. Joe Pickett may just have reached his.

Breaking Point (Joe Pickett, #13)

Publishers Weekly (starred review):

Bureaucracy run amok drives Wyoming construction company owner Butch Roberson to the breaking point in Box's excellent 13th Joe Pickett novel (after 2012's Force of Nature). When game warden Pickett investigates a cut fence between private land and public land, he comes across Roberson, who says he entered the public land to scout elk. Before leaving, Pickett delivers a friendly warning to Roberson, who resents the laws restricting his access to public land, to repair the fence. Later, Pickett learns that Roberson is the prime suspect in the killing of two armed EPA agents. Vindictive EPA regional director Juan Julio Batista, who quickly arrives on the scene, calls in a lot of manpower, while Pickett leads a team on horseback into the mountains after Roberson. Former sheriff Kyle McLanahan goes gunning for Roberson, too, prompted by hopes of a reward. Thrilling wilderness chases, chilling stories of the abuse of power, and Pickett's indomitable frontier spirit power this explosive novel.


Library Journal (starred review):

Like the forest fire described in the book, fans of this series will burn through the pages to discover who-dun-it and why. With each book, Joe Pickett has evolved as a complex, deep character, richly described by Box. Another must-read.


Kirkus Reviews (starred review):

Its basis in a real-life conflict makes Joe's 13th case one of his most tendentious, but it's Box who makes it one of his most exciting.


The Washington Post:

The story has everything one could ask for in a Western thriller: well-drawn local characters, soulless bureaucrats whose meddling does more harm than good, lots of guns and horses, plenty of danger and suspense, a spectacular setting and a forest fire thrown in for good measure. 

Box tells his story in the first-rate prose his fans have come to expect: tight, precise language peppered by occasional poetic descriptions of land that both he and Joe Picket call home.


USA Today (rated four out of four stars):

C.J. Box dishes up a thought-provoking and highly tantalizing tale of government interference and conspiracy and poses the question, "What would you do if your government pushed you too far?" This thrill-a-minute story, it turns out, was inspired by the true story of an Idaho family whose nightmare involvement in a case of government overreach went as far as the U.S. Supreme Court. Here's an exceptionally well-told story that will entertain, thrill and maybe even outrage its readers. 



Just when you think that C.J. Box has reached the peak of his talents, the clouds lift, the sky clears, and another, much higher summit appears. The new territory in the current instance is Breaking Point, the latest installment in the Joe Pickett canon. The arrival of a new Pickett book (or any book by Box, for that matter) is noteworthy, but this particular volume is worth reading, given its subject matter, one that should concern anyone in the United States who owns real estate. Based on real-world events, this is one of those rare novels in which the author's advocacy does not get in the way of the storytelling, which is first-rate from beginning to end.

Plot out several hours, sit down and crack the binding on this book, which will raise the hair on your neck and chill you to the bone.


Library Journal Prepub Alert:

Box has won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Gumshoe, and Barry Awards, as well as the French Prix Calibre .38, and his last Joe Pickett thriller debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times best sellers list. So you'll definitely want the latest Pickett title, which sends Joe on a hunt for neighbor Lyle Pendergast, who vanishes when it appears that he was responsible for the death of two EPA agents.


Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Schedule a massage before you begin this superlative thriller, because the tension starts early and never stops, as Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett battles everything that nature and government bureaucrats can throw at him. It's the best installment yet in an already rich series. Grade: A


St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The book builds toward a climax that includes a fast-spreading forest fire, an even faster mountain river and a drone bearing a Hellfire missile. As if the action isn't enough, Box then gives readers a jaw-dropper of a surprise ending.


Sun Sentinel:

Breaking Point skillfully shows how government can enhance lives and preserve the environment while also portraying the legal system running amok. But Breaking Point is no treatise pitting an individual against the big bad Goliath of government. The book's tense plot provides edge-of-the-seat suspense filled with unpredictable twists and realistic characters, all set against the vivid, wide-open spaces of Wyoming.

Based on a true incident, Breaking Point is infused with the frontier spirit of an old-fashioned Western. Box's contemporary spin on that genre makes the book a satisfying thriller.