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Blood Trail (Joe Pickett #8)

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,723 Ratings  ·  300 Reviews
It is elk season in the Rockies, but this year a different kind of hunter is stalking a different kind of prey. When the call comes in on the radio, Joe Pickett can hardly believe his ears: game wardens have found a hunter dead at a camp in the mountains; strung up, gutted, and flayed, as if he were the elk he'd been pursuing. A spent cartridge and a poker chip lie next to ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 20th 2008 by Putnam Adult
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One For The Money by Janet EvanovichA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan DoyleMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieA is for Alibi by Sue GraftonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Favorite Mystery Series
44th out of 385 books — 112 voters
Open Season by C.J. BoxBelow Zero by C.J. BoxBack Of Beyond by C.J. BoxBlood Trail by C.J. BoxWinterkill by C.J. Box
Fiction Novels for the Outdoorsman
4th out of 83 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rex Fuller
Jun 08, 2013 Rex Fuller rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. The story is clean and firm like newly tightened wire. Great surprise ending. My only regret is we don't see how, or even whether, Joe Pickett gets out of trouble at the end. I understand the reasons for doing it that way (dramatic ambiguity, teasing for the next book, etc.). However, to render perfect justice, which I thought was a hallmark of the series, the good guys have to come out okay. Even so, I would go so far as to say this is one to read again, the best that can be said of ...more
Jan 20, 2010 Anthony rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
One of my favorite Joe Pickett books. There is a serial killer on the loose in Wyoming. The killer is going after hunters and treating them like deer: Gutted, skinned, decapitated and hung up. Joe is asked by the Gov. to find out who is doing this. Joe is reunited with his old boss, Nate, and the regular cast of characters that we have come to enjoy over the years.
Box has really tightened up his story telling. I didn't find myself skipping pages only turning them as fast as I could. Unfortunat
BLOOD TRAIL (Licensed Invest-Joe Pickett-Wyoming-Cont) – G+
Box, C.J. – 9th in series
Putnam, 2008 – US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780399154881

First Sentence: I am a hunter, a bestower of dignity.

Joe Pickett, now working director for the Governor of Wyoming, is called to go to a murder scene where an elk hunter has been murdered and his body treated like the quarry he sought. This isn’t the first such killing.

The Governor puts Joe on the multi-agency investigation, in spite of the antipathy between him a
Mar 15, 2015 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent entry in the Joe Pickett series. I have been reading these in order and they just seem to get better and better. In this one, someone is hunting and killing hunters. It appears that the perpetrator is making these kills because he is against the hunting of animals...but is this the real reason? Why is the killer leaving a red poker chip next to each victim as a calling card? And why does it appear that the victims knew each other? And then why is Pickett's boss, Randy Pope, so ...more
Eve Nolon
Dec 29, 2015 Eve Nolon rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, e-book
This was so close to being the first five-star rating that I gave to a Box novel, and it was so damned close until the very end and Joe Pickett had to go and ruin it. I'll get to that. First let me say that there was AWESOME Nate/Sheridan stuff. I ship them like burning, especially now that Sheridan is older and I love that she wrote him while he was in prison and thinks of herself as an apprentice falconer. Further, I loved that Nate referred to her as "his girl" when he asked Joe about her on ...more
Jan 11, 2009 Jen rated it really liked it
Blood Trail is the eighth book in C. J. Box's Joe Pickett series. In this adventure, someone is hunting elk hunters in Wyoming. The first couple killings appear to be hunting accidents, but when a man is hung and gutted like prey, the police, the state game warden, even the governor take an active role in finding this human hunter. And their first step in solving the heinous crimes is to call in Joe Pickett.

The stakes are raised in the investigation when an anti-hunting advocate, Klamath Moore,
Sep 14, 2011 Wesley rated it really liked it
This was good. I think CJ Box is improving as his books go on as a writer. The diversity in the last few have just been outstanding. This had a twist at the end like none I've seen yet. I also think that Nate has to be one of my favorite characters in a novel yet. Especially this one, I did this on audiobook given the busy week and I'm totally glad. The narrator is absolutely outstanding, I wish I had did the first book via audio so I had the voices in my head as a I read. It may have helped som ...more
Jul 13, 2016 wally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: box
12 jul 16...and on to another from box for me. ole joe pickett...he has something in common with travis mcgee...they both lost a brother to death. victor. the last story, i think that was the 2nd? time, 2nd story? that joe p's bro is mentioned. free fire.
they're everywhere! they're everywhere!
13 jul 16, finished, great story!
Oct 23, 2009 Quinn rated it really liked it
C.J. Box is the modern day Louis L'Amour. A "hunter" is hunting hunters in the Wyoming mountains and they are turning up dead. Joe Pickett, a Fish and Game officer must stop the "hunter" from killing again. What Joe discovers is that things are not always as they seem because there is a score to settle.

Although the writing is straight forward and the ending predictable, I found this book extremely interesting. I enjoy hunting and I thought the author did an excellent job of describing what the h
Jan 27, 2016 Dale rated it it was amazing
Published in 2008

Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett is still on special assignment from the Governor. What this means is he has no home territory and is always on the edge of being fired But, he is kept around because he has a knack for solving big problems involving dangerous people.

Joe's strength does not come from his tracking ability (he's good but not great), or his ability as a crack shot (he's horrible with a pistol) or his abilities as an outdoorsman (he is very good but he is not a surviva
Jan 19, 2016 Kevin rated it it was amazing
As usual C.J. Box gives you a ride you won't soon forget. Your favorite game warden Joe Pickett is recruited by the Governor to look into hideous crimes, where hunter's during elk season are being stalked and become the hunted. Chilling tale especially for any of us that have been in the outdoors by ourselves to hunt game. As Joe Pickett mentioned several times in this novel "you can feel the hair on your neck stand up"! Box has a way of racheting up the story to get your full attention, so much ...more
Jan 01, 2016 Dale rated it really liked it
This book adds a nice touch by opening with a philosophical discourse on the nature of hunting. That introduces the first bit of mystery, for although this treatise is well written, it is not clear whose narrative it is. As the discourse goes on, the intentions of the author become quite clear and culminate in the actions that get Joe Pickett involved in the case.

Joe is now and on-demand game warden, working at the behest of Governor Rulon when needed and filling in around Wyoming agencies when
Lissa Notreallywolf
Jun 11, 2015 Lissa Notreallywolf rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This book focuses on the ethics of hunting, especially after someone starts hunting the hunters. Front and center are extreme environmentalists who find the idea of men hung like game animals a form of cosmic justice. Joe can't see it that way because he makes a clear distinction between men and animals. Pope his boss (still, again) doesn't see it that way because he is confronted with the head of the last victim in his hotel suite. Again this novel is a question of who done it, which resolved i ...more
Jon Borah

Award-winning writer C. J. Box returns with a vengeance in this thrilling new novel featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett.It’s elk season in the Rockies, but this year a different kind of hunter is stalking a different kind of prey. When the call comes in on the radio, Joe Pickett can hardly believe his ears: game wardens have found a hunter dead at a camp in the mountains—strung up, gutted, and flayed, as if he were the elk he’d been pursuing. A spent cartridge and a poker chip lie next to

Michael Sova
May 06, 2014 Michael Sova rated it it was amazing
Blood Trail is the eighth C. J. Box novel in the award winning, highly acclaimed and immensely popular series featuring Wyoming game and fish warden Joe Pickett. If you want to know what I think of the author, I suggest you read my reviews of In Plain Sight (Pickett #6), Free Fire (Pickett #7), and Blue Heaven (a standalone). Since I started posting my Turn the Page reviews, there isn't anyone I've written more about or referenced more often. I suppose that applies to the author as well as his ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Maynard rated it really liked it
I always look forward to a C.J. Box novel featuring Joe Pickett. Although the story starts out slowly, it quickly picks up pace and as we approach the denouement, the reader can't help but be transfixed as he or she turns the next page and is already looking forward to the page following.
Chris Jensen
Jan 02, 2011 Chris Jensen rated it liked it
Entertaining. I read this while vacationing out east and it was the type of easy reading that made the end of the day something to look forward to. It's not a very complicated plot. I sort of figured it out about half way through the book. Work for a fish and game agency, the working relationships with hunters, Native Americans, the politicians and the overly ambitious bureaucrats is spot on and very entertaining to view through the eyes of C.J. Box.
Charlotte Ehney
Feb 14, 2016 Charlotte Ehney rated it really liked it
Joe Pickett was the game warden of Saddlestring District in Wyoming. Now he works for the governor handling hunting and game special assignments throughout the state. When a hunter is killed and the body desecrated in the Saddlestring District, Joe is assigned to the murder investigation. Joe has to deal not only with the current crime but also with strained relationships from his days as game warden. To make matters worse, anti-hunting activist Klamath Moore arrives on the scene in support of t ...more
Mar 10, 2016 Evelyn rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2014 Pat rated it it was amazing
Another great Box, full of twists and turns and gorgeous descriptions of Wyoming land.
I liked the detailed descriptions of hunting and trapping--while feeling repulsed at the institution proper, especially the dressing of the carcasses.
Joe is a properly conflicted and sometimes fumbling law enforcer to hold our attention. But, his unwavering sense of right and wrong always informs and sustains his actions.
I wish we had spent more time with Sheridan, who is now on the verge of adulthood. Joe feel
Aug 18, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing
It is hunting season and Joe Pickett is busy keeping up with hunters in his area until the hunters become the hunted. A dead hunter is found strung up and eviscerated as if he were an elk. Who would do this to another human being? Why would they do it? Are there others?

Like most Joe Pickett stories this one catches your attention pretty early on. Joe is a man who will catch the killers no matter what and he often pays a high price for the way he does it. He's a good game warden though and he kno
Jun 25, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it
Good as always. I really enjoy the taste of Wyoming and the West I get every time I read one of CJ's books. Like Nate, it makes me want to bury my face in a sagebrush and inhale the wonderful scent. I miss it!
Becky ♡The Bookworm♡
Wow! The twists and surprises in this installment were amazing! And Nate....oh boy...I don't have the words! I loved this book! I'll be back with a more detailed review when time allows!
Chris Demer
Mar 20, 2015 Chris Demer rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
A taut, suspense-filled novel centered around a series of bizarre murders of hunters in Wyoming.
The protagonist is Joe Pickett, a former Game Warden and current part time substitute. He has been called in to investigate the murders and catch the perpetrator(s). The complicating factors? There seems to be a connection between the victims, that is not clear at first. His former boss seems excessively concerned and has been acting erratically. There is an anti-hunting extremist visiting the area.
The longer I live in Wyoming, the more I appreciate Joe Pickett novels. In our small state, and by working in state government, I can see where Joe would be hired directly by the governor, and caught amongst the various factions. When someone like this character actually enjoys their work, and tries to do it with some type of ethical behavior and by an internal code, it can be difficult to find employment again in the same field, particularly given the small employment market. At the same time, ...more
Minty McBunny
May 01, 2014 Minty McBunny rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, april-2014
I keep on reading this series because it keeps being exceptionally good. I am so impressed at Box's ability to keep putting Joe Pickett in these dangerous situations without it becoming preposterous. I am glad he's not continuing to use the other Picketts as pawns and victims, but rather introducing new characters while keeping the characters from previous books acting as expected. I like that Nate is there to do the things we want to happen, but wouldn't want to see Joe do. All told this series ...more
Barry Martin Vass
Jul 14, 2016 Barry Martin Vass rated it it was amazing
C.J. Box excels in writing the sort of taut, rough-and-tumble mystery/adventure set in remote, often inaccessible locations that I really enjoy. In this one, when an elk hunter is murdered and then mutilated in the Big Horn National Forest, Wyoming Governor Spencer Rulon deputizes game warden Joe Pickett to head out to investigate. Are animal rights agitators to blame, or is it something even more insidious? This has all the traits of a great mystery: realistic dialogue, characters that get unde ...more
Mar 03, 2016 Marek rated it really liked it
This is the 8th book in the Joe Pickett series. This time, someone is hunting in season...but they're not hunting elk. It's grisly and ugly and it's up to Joe to figure out who's responsible. But, as always, there are several players and things are obscured, and Joe has to clear the air to see how all the puzzle pieces fit.

This is another great Joe Pickett novel. There's more of Nate, so don't discount him yet. And there's even another old player from Joe's earlier years as a game warden that h
Dec 29, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it
#8 in the Joe Pickett series. Joe is a WY game warden unable to conform to the standards set by his management, but due to his good results he is prized by the governor.

Joe Pickett is assigned by the governor to investigate the murder of an elk hunter. The body was found field dressed with a poker chip nearby. When further investigation of two hunter deaths disclose poker chips at the scene, a serial killer is suspected. The arrival of a high profile animal rights activist and the release of Na
Sep 27, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it
The 8th of the series. Joe has left his mother in law's ranch and moved into town, in a house that he hates, with a really disgusting neighbor. Suddenly, someone is hunting the elk hunters, and treating them in the same manner. Killing them, gutting them, hanging them from a tree and sometimes beheading them. Joe needs help, and springs Nate from Federal prison with Governor Rulon's permission. Not so much about Joe's family in this book. I knew who the killer was early on, but could understand ...more
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Edgar Award-winning author C.J. Box is the author of nineteen novels including the Joe Pickett series. He's also won the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, and the Barry Award. 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 Dub ...more
More about C.J. Box...

Other Books in the Series

Joe Pickett (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Open Season (Joe Pickett, #1)
  • Savage Run (Joe Pickett, #2)
  • Winterkill (Joe Pickett, #3)
  • Trophy Hunt (Joe Pickett, #4)
  • Out Of Range (Joe Pickett, #5)
  • In Plain Sight (Joe Pickett, #6)
  • Free Fire (Joe Pickett, #7)
  • Below Zero (Joe Pickett, #9)
  • Nowhere To Run (Joe Pickett, #10)
  • Cold Wind (Joe Pickett, #11)

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“I know Edmond Locard’s Principle, the central theory of modern forensic crime-scene investigation: something is always left behind.” 1 likes
“AS A HUNTER I am looked down upon in Western society. I am portrayed as a brute. I am denigrated and spat upon, and thought of as a slow-witted anachronism, the dregs of a discredited culture. This happened quickly when one looks at human history. The skills I possess—the ability to track, hunt, kill, and dress out my prey so it can be served at a table to feed others—were prized for tens of thousands of years. Hunters fed those in the tribe and family who could not hunt well or did not hunt because they weren’t physically able to. The success of the hunter produced not only healthy food and clothing, tools, medicine, and amenities, but a direct hot-blooded connection with God and the natural world. The hunter was the provider, and exalted as such.” 1 likes
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