The Disappeared

Author: C.J. Box

Wyoming's new governor isn't sure what to make of Joe Pickett, but he has a job for him that is extremely delicate. A prominent female British executive never came home from the high-end guest ranch she was visiting, and the British Embassy is pressing hard. Pickett knows that happens sometimes--these ranches are stocked with handsome young cowboys, and "ranch romances" aren't uncommon. But no sign of her months after she vanished? That suggests something else.

At the same time, his friend Nate Romanowski has asked Joe to intervene with the feds on behalf of falconers who can no longer hunt with eagles even though their permits are in order. Who is blocking the falconers and why? The more he investigates both cases, the more someone wants him to go away. Is it because of the missing woman or because he’s become Nate’s advocate? Or are they somehow connected? The answers, when they come, will be even worse than he'd imagined.

The Disappeared (Joe Pickett, #18)

The New York Times Book Review:

What’s that smell? The acrid odor of fire is always cause for alarm in the mysteries C. J. Box sets in heavily forested Wyoming. But there’s something strange about the odor that’s coming from the burner at a lumber mill in THE DISAPPEARED, “something that smelled a little like roast chicken.” Wylie Frye, the night manager, recognizes the peculiar stench, but for $2,500 he can take shallow breaths and ignore it. The task of identifying that strange smell falls to Joe Pickett, the conscientious game warden in these rugged novels who is mostly charged with monitoring the wildlife of the region, where so much land is managed by the federal government. That explains his interest in a dicey wind energy project and his involvement with a group of falconers clamoring to hunt with eagles. But when a British tourist disappears from the dude ranch where Joe’s daughter works, he shows the tough-and-tender qualities that make him such a great guy to have on your side.

Publishers Weekly (starred review):

In bestseller Box’s superlative 18th novel featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett (after 2017’s Vicious Circle), the state’s new governor, Colter Allen, orders Joe, who did many special investigations for the previous governor, to find out what happened to the CEO of a high-profile British advertising agency, Kate Shelford-Longden, who has gone missing after vacationing at the Silver Creek Ranch outside Saratoga. Given suspiciously few resources and very little time, Joe is happy to accept the help of both his 23-year-old daughter, Sheridan, who works as a wrangler at the ranch, and comrade Nate Romanowski, who predictably approaches the case from beyond the law’s boundaries. Meanwhile, the lethal Gaylen Kessel, the head security agent for the wind energy company that has taken over the region, makes trouble. In the end, Sheridan and Nate must deal out rough justice to the malefactors, while the book’s key environmental issue enhances the satisfying conclusion. Also welcome are Box’s underrated touches of wry humor, generally overlooked as one of his strengths. Series fans and newcomers alike will be rewarded.


THE DISAPPEARED, the latest in the Joe Pickett series, is simply the greatest. C. J. Box has created in Pickett, a Wyoming game warden, an unassuming, very real American hero of (barely) above-average skills and superior character, who deals with the concerns of the average person - family, food, shelter, job, job and job - with an awareness of his limitations that does not prevent him from utilizing to the utmost those skills that he possesses.

Every word of THE DISAPPEARED is wonderful. It never lags or disappoints. Box’s clean, cold prose compels you to love the Wyoming countryside as much as he does, whether or not you’re an outdoors person. But it’s his character development that makes the book a winner. He plays a neat trick here with Pickett who, near the end, is probably at his lowest point ever. Just when the reader thinks there is no way that Pickett is going to resolve his problems, a savior - part deus ex machina, part guardian angel - unexpectedly appears on the scene. As far as I’m concerned, the next book in the series cannot come soon enough.

Library Journal:

The facets of this story are many: falconers seeking permits to hunt with eagles, mysterious goings-on at a local lumber mill, an exclusive guest ranch that caters to the one percent, a missing British citizen, state politics, a wind farm with thousands of turbines expanding its acreage, and Joe’s mother-in-law, Missy VanKueran. Box neatly links all these disparate components, and his wrap-up will leave his many readers breathless. Another hit for storyteller extraordinaire Box, and series fans...will cheer.


The eighteenth installment of this hugely popular series delivers everything fans want: a compelling mystery, high-stakes action in a beautiful setting, and enjoyably humorous interaction between characters they’ve come to know and love. There’s a reason we keep coming back for more.

The Providence Journal:

“The Disappeared” is thriller writing at its very best, as big and broad as the Wyoming landscape painted in shades mixed perfectly between dark and light.

The Oklahoman:

You know what you're going to say when you start “The Disappeared”?

Not much. You'll be too busy reading because Box has another all-weekend urgency for fans of his Joe Pickett novels and for readers who demand a solid PI and a completely plausible crime. This page-turner leads you down one path before tossing you onto another; it's a book filled with characters you might meet in real life if you're particularly (un)lucky. And just when you think the breathless action is over, Box bows out with a cliffhanger that leaves you with fingers clutching your book, “Arrrgh!” on your lips.

The Denver Post:

Joe Pickett is well established in Western literature as a beloved lawman. “The Disappeared,” the latest in Box’s best-selling series, is a tightly crafted story with a sense of place. Box makes you smell that sawmill burner and feel the cold of a Wyoming blizzard as Pickett struggles through the snow to solve the mystery of Cowboy Kate.

The Arizona Republic:

Wyoming's favorite "range rider" isn't sure where one case ends and another begins in C.J Box's new slow-burn thriller, "The Disappeared." Game warden Joe Pickett is summoned by the state's newly elected governor to resume his role as an unofficial investigator, this time to find a wealthy British tourist who vanished from an exclusive resort and hasn't been seen in weeks...So begins the 18th Pickett novel, one of the most deliberate and sure-footed in the series. In many ways it is a roots novel, a throwback to the earliest Pickett books, with its environmental themes and overlapping plot lines. "The Disappeared" showcases Box's versatility. He manipulates readers like a no-limit hold 'em pro: drawing them in with the classic mystery staple of a missing heiress, then raising on the blind with contemporary Western issues while never hinting at what he's got in the hole.

And you better watch those hole cards.

Box, who along with his wife owned an international tourism marketing firm, layers his story with an insider's knowledge of the Western economy and the dude-ranch industry. Will you be surprised? Pickett probably says it best: "Yup."

Nudge Book Magazine:

A polished telling of a simple story that is really entertaining. The Disappeared keeps you guessing, as there is more to the story than the initial set up leads you to think. I was taken by the style from the very first sentence: “Wylie Frye was used to smelling of smoke and that was long before he became a criminal of sorts.” Sometimes it doesn’t take much to indicate you will like a novel. This is a classic American rural thriller. The Disappeared takes full advantage of the weather and the wide open spaces to build an atmosphere, there’s a nice eco angle to the story. The pace is good and there are enough twists to engage the brain. Box is a consummate story teller. I would happily read some of his other novels off the back of The Disappeared.