Wolf Pack

Author: C.J. Box

The good news is that Joe Pickett has his job back, after his last adventure in The Disappeared. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose son is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy.

When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he’s asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up in and around Joe’s district in shocking numbers. He begins to fear that a pack of four vicious killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel known as the Wolf Pack has arrived. Their target seems to be the mystery man and everyone–including Joe, Nate, and others–who is associated with him.

Teaming up with a female game warden (based on a real person, one of the few female game wardens at work in Wyoming today) to confront these assassins, Joe finds himself in the most violent and dangerous predicament he’s ever faced.

Wolf Pack (Joe Pickett, #19)

Publishers Weekly (starred review):

The action-packed final quarter of the book ranks among Joe and Nate’s best and bloodiest confrontations. Box is the king of contemporary crime fiction set in the West.

Kirkus Reviews:

One of his most tightly wound tales, with more thrills than a snowy road on a steep mountain and more authority than the governor of Wyoming.


As always, Box takes familiar elements of his long running series…and seamlessly combines them into a read that makes your heart race, even though you won’t leave the couch until you’ve turned the last page. Half mystery, half thriller, totally worthwhile…You can just about set your watch by a Joe Pickett novel in March; the number-one-best-selling author’s legion of fans will be counting down the minutes.

The Providence Journal:

This 19th postmodern Western to present Pickett as a lawman cut from the classic cloth is a thriller of rare depth and emotion, featuring pitch perfect plotting and characterizations every bit the equal of Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry.

The Columbis Dispatch:

Impressively, Box has woven together some major challenges of contemporary life: the preservation of the wilderness, questions about reining in modern technology and the scourge of lethal illegal drugs...Just as nature is tough in the West, where the fittest and sometimes just the lucky survive, there are plenty of human casualties in “Wolf Pack.” Readers probably won’t guess who will survive even as they appreciate the momentum of Box’s wild, shoot-out conclusion.

The Rushville Republican:

So. How are your fingers? In good shape, are they? Great, because you’ll need them for edge-of-your-seat clinging while you’re reading “Wolf Pack.”

If you’re new to this author, prepare yourself for a future search for the rest of the series. For fans of Pickett or Box, though, you know what to do about “Wolf Pack”: hunt it down.

Chapter 16:

Somewhere along the way, the Pickett books stopped being merely competent regional fiction—featuring stunning mountain scenery, ample hunting and fishing, and a likeable, cowboyish hero—and became one of the most consistently satisfying thriller series ever written. It’s fitting that Box’s publisher put praise from Lee Child on the cover of the new book, because Joe Pickett now rivals Jack Reacher as a protagonist that loyal readers will follow anywhere...Box masterfully weaves his cast of characters, both new and familiar, through a series of events that build suspense with each passing day (and each passing wolf quote). He creates a sort of thriller kabuki: while it may seem formal and stylized in structure, it is inevitably enthralling in presentation.

Late in the book, as the separate storylines wind toward a single violent climax, Nate observes to Joe that things are about to “get western.” When they do, it is not a spoiler to say the good guys win, nor is it a spoiler to say that some losses are suffered. And after the breathless finale, there’s only one question left to ask: When will the next book come out?


Full disclosure, Box is my favorite living author, and when I received my review copy last November, I started it with the intention of reading it slowly and dragging it out in hopes of savoring it. Instead, I blew right through it in less than four hours. I’ve read everything Box has ever written, so trust me when I say that this is his most explosive novel to date!

The Real Book Spy:

Reading Box’s new book each year and following Joe, Marybeth, Nate Romanowski, and others is similar to catching up with old friends you haven’t seen in a while. It’s a real treat, especially for longtime fans of the series. Nobody has ever developed a family the way Box has with the Picketts over the course of nineteen novels. Whereas most series are losing steam and becoming repetitive this deep into their run, Box continues to find brilliant new ways to shake things up. That includes a number of shocking revelations here, all of them too good to spoil in this review, that’ll stun diehard fans who know all too well that Box is capable of landing hard-hitting twists when you least expect them. C.J. Box’s Joe Pickett franchise is good enough to go toe-to-toe with any other series in print today, regardless of genre . . . and Wolf Pack is the most unexpected, relentless, and action-packed novel he’s ever written.