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Free Fire (Joe Pickett #7)

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,436 Ratings  ·  295 Reviews
Joe Picket returns, this time to the wilds of Yellowstone National Park. Deftly plotted and full of intrigue, Free Fire is C. J. Box's best novel yet.

Joe Pickett, having recently been fired from his job as a Wyoming game warden, is working on his father-in-law's ranch when he receives a call from the governor's office. Governor Rulon-a devious but down-home politico-has
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 10th 2007 by Putnam Adult (first published January 1st 2007)
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Off The Grid by C.J. BoxStone Cold by C.J. BoxForce Of Nature by C.J. BoxFree Fire by C.J. BoxThe Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Books in my future
3rd out of 171 books — 6 voters
Below Zero by C.J. BoxOpen Season by C.J. BoxBack Of Beyond by C.J. BoxBlood Trail by C.J. BoxWinterkill by C.J. Box
Fiction Novels for the Outdoorsman
14th out of 77 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jim Thomsen
Aug 01, 2010 Jim Thomsen rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorites in the Joe Pickett series. It's set in Yellowstone National Park, where I worked for a year in 1997, and so I felt more connected to the setting than a Washingtonian normally world to a series that takes place exclusively in Wyoming.

But beyond that, it's just got a great plot, great characters and great tensions. Some highlights:

— The legal ambiguity surrounding Yellowstone's tiny "Zone Of Death," where a person can kill anyone inside without fear of prosecution, is
There is a small stretch of land on the southwest edge of Yellowstone Park where Idaho and Wyoming meet called the "Zone of Death", where there is no real law because of bureaucratic B.S. A place where Idaho law and Wyoming law have no jurisdiction because it is on National Park Land. A man kills three people and has to be set free because no one is allowed to prosecute. Joe Pickett is sent to investigate the killings and what he discovers is a twisted web of cover ups and conspiracy that goes a ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the best in the Joe Pickett series so far. Number 7 in the series finds Joe being sent to Yellowstone National Park by the Wyoming governor to investigate the murders of four Park contract employees by a local attorney. The murders took place in an area called the Zone of Death where the murderer could not be prosecuted because of the local jurisdictions. Joe, who was fired from his game warden job in the last book, is promised to be reinstated by the governor if he takes on the ...more
May 29, 2015 Stella rated it liked it
Nancy picked up this book while we were in Yellowstone, October, 2014. The setting for the book is Yellowstone. She really enjoyed it and passed it on to me. I bought the audiobook at Audible.
Just starting today.

I enjoyed the book, the western theme, the location. I didn't think the writing was very sophisticated. I like Craig Johnson's style and characters better. Course, this is the first Joe Pickett I have read.
I thought the first encounter he had at Yellowstone with the FBI guy, the assi
Jul 14, 2009 CT rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent mystery set in Yellowstone Park. The book worked on many levels: the intro to Yellowstone, story of how Joe Pickett’s past intersects with the present, the free fire zone, and the jurisdictional nightmare that is Yellowstone.
Apr 18, 2015 Jerry rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Another great entry in the Joe Pickett series. I recommend reading this series in the correct order, because I'm not, and it's hard to keep track of some of the characters as they reoccur throughout the series.
Nov 18, 2014 Kay rated it really liked it
Shelves: western
Another great Joe Picket novel, this time set in Yellowstone. A rock solid book with plenty of mystery.
Jan 24, 2016 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Loved it! I felt I was in Yellowstone ! Wow great book!
Eve Nolon
Dec 29, 2015 Eve Nolon rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Free Fire is definitely my favorite of the series so far, surpassing Blood Trail, which could of been a five-star book for me, but wasn't for reasons I'll explain in that review. Back to Free Fire! Excellent concept that really pulled me into the plot and the plot made sense! All the way through, which is sort of amazing. I enjoyed the change of scenery to Yellowstone, where I've never been but I've wanted to visit. Box did an excellent job with his descriptions of setting and really making the ...more
FREE FIRE (Licensed Investigator-Joe Pickett-Wyoming-Cont) – Ex
Box, C.J. – 7th in series
Putnam, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780399154270
First Sentence: A half-hour after Clay McCann walked into the backwoods ranger station and turned over his still-warm weapons, after he’d announced to the startled seasonal ranger behind the desk that he’d just slaughtered four campers near Robinson Lake, the nervous ranger said, “Law enforcement will be here any minute. Do you want to call a lawyer?”
*** Joe Pic
May 17, 2012 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
C J Box box writes a decent crime novel around a the character of Joe Pickett, a game warden in Wyoming. The series is interesting in that it paints a picture of Wyoming and big game hunting that most of us have never been exposed to.

Box's stories are what I call "Republican formulaic" in that organized law enforcement is always inept or corrupt, or both, and Pickett is the 'every man' succeeding from pure tenacity, luck and righteousness. Pickett's innocence requires being saved in each episod
Jeff Dickison
Mar 06, 2016 Jeff Dickison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good Joe Pickett novel as he must go to Yellowstone Park as a special agent to find out how and why a man could kill six people and get away with it. Good writing, excellent action, and good descriptions of the park and it's building make this a winner. Recommended.
Susie James
May 16, 2016 Susie James rated it really liked it
Very interesting side trip into crime, bureaucratic bungling and straight arrows --and a trip into Yellowstone!
Sep 13, 2011 Wesley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series_favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2016 Billpilgrim rated it really liked it
I read a C.J. Box book a couple of months ago after hearing him interviewed on WAMC. I like it a lot, Badlands, and I picked this one up at a library book sale recently. The other book is not part of the Joe Pickett series. This is the first one the series that I have read, it is the seventh one, out of 16 now, and I'll be reading more. Although there were references in the book to past events that must have been the subject of previous entries in the series, I did not feel like I was missing an ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Jon rated it liked it
I was talking with a friend, sharing our mutual enjoyment of Lee Child novels, and he strongly recommended those of C.J. Box. I tried this one and in general didn't think it measured up. It's a pretty good mystery, and there are some thrills along the way, but I thought the characters were cliches and the writing was only so-so: "'Fuck,' he hissed." The lore about Yellowstone Park was very interesting, and I'm sure the descriptions were accurate; but there was too much wandering around with extr ...more
Nov 05, 2015 Dale rated it really liked it
Joe Pickett is at it once again. Fired from his job as game warden, he finds temporary refuge as foreman on his step-father-in-law's ranch. Not much hope for a story here, so in flies a lackey of the Governor of Wyoming to tell Joe that he has been had Pick(ett)ed to investigate quadruple homicide in the so-called Zone of Death in the Idaho part of Yellowstone. Hmmmm.... ranch hand or On Special Assignment for the Governor? Rama noodles or paella?

But of course Yellowstone is a big area for such
Jun 13, 2015 Dale rated it it was amazing
Published in May of 2008

In the previous book in the Joe Pickett series, In Plain Sight , Joe lost his job as a Wyoming game warden. In this book Joe gets his job back, sort of. Governor Rulon, a man who delights in doing things that irritate bureaucracies, has offered him a chance to work as a Game Warden "without portfolio" (as they might say in diplomatic circles). Joe is an independent agent, working for the Governor but the Governor wants plausible deniability for everything Joe does.

The Go
Jon Borah

Joe Pickett, recently fired from his job as a Wyoming game warden, is working on his father-in-law's ranch when he receives a visit from the governor. Governor Rulon - a devious but down-home politico - has a special request, one Joe knows he can't refuse. For weeks, the headlines have been abuzz with the story of Clay McCann, a lawyer who slaughtered four campers in a far-off corner of Yellowstone. After the murders, McCann immediately turned himself in at the nearest ranger station. Seemed lik

Sep 01, 2015 Patty rated it liked it
Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, no longer in the public service for some transgression, is toiling for his in-laws until the Wyoming governor hires him confidentially to investigate the murder of several campers in Yellowstone Park. Their murderer confessed and walked free since he killed the men in an unoccupied portion of the park unable to produce a “jury” of his peers. But before being shot, one of the dead men sent the governor an email referencing unregulated resource extraction in the pa ...more
Lissa Notreallywolf
Jun 11, 2015 Lissa Notreallywolf rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2014 L rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
How to balance the excess violence (bad) & worship of the "outside the rules" approach to police work with the joy of reading about Yellowstone National Park and a kid who gives her father a hard time about his gas-guzzling vehicle? Really this should be 3-1/2 stars, I suppose. I rounded up because I know I'll go look for more C. J. Box. I do like Pickett and could find myself sort of liking Wyoming.
Dec 30, 2015 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Free Fire comes at you gripping you so hard by the throat that you can't catch your breath till you turn the last page. First of all down on his luck main character Joe Pickett who has become one of my personal favorites series, is asked a favor by Wyomings Governor. By doing so he has everything to lose, but also everything to gain, which is mainly getting his life back including his job as a game warden that he so loved. Sometimes you have to take that chance/bait as there is no other way even ...more
Mar 02, 2016 Evelyn rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Mitchell
C.J. Box has chosen an inventive premise for this installment in the Joe Pickett series based on real-world facts: at one point, an obscure combination of laws made it impossible to prosecute crimes in a particular section of Yellowstone National Park. Pickett investigates murders that occurred in this region, and becomes entangled in an ongoing criminal enterprise with political implications. But, despite the interesting concept, the book falls flat. The story itself just isn't that interesting ...more
Jan 16, 2014 Pattianne rated it really liked it
Free Fire - Joe Pickett #7 - Joe Picket returns, this time to the wilds of Yellowstone National Park. Deftly plotted and full of intrigue, Free Fire is C. J. Box's best novel yet.

Joe Pickett, having recently been fired from his job as a Wyoming game warden, is working on his father-in-law's ranch when he receives a call from the governor's office. Governor Rulon-a devious but down-home politico-has a special request, one Joe knows he can't refuse. For weeks, the headlines have been abuzz with
Marge Anderson
Mar 18, 2016 Marge Anderson rated it really liked it
All of the Joe Pickett books are great, but this one is exceptional. Wyoming Game Warden Joe is on temporary assignment to Yellowstone Park, where he comes face to face with part of his traumatic childhood which has not been revealed before. He is also traveling with his bad-ass mirror image, Nate Romanowski, who shows him some of his black ops secrets of Yellowstone. You'll never look at a visitor's center or national park hotel the same way.

Another skillful plot by Box, which ties up good-guy
Michael Sova
Jan 08, 2014 Michael Sova rated it really liked it
Forced to turn over his gun and badge, disgraced Wyoming Game and Fish warden Joe Pickett accepts a position as foreman on the Longbrake Ranch. The change of scenery gives Joe some financial stability, a more comfortable home and much closer proximity to his social climbing mother-in-law. When Governor Randy Pope offers Pickett an opportunity to get his old job back under far less than ideal circumstances, he still jumps at the chance.
Free Fire is the seventh C.J. Box novel in his award winni
Kelly ...
Jan 06, 2016 Kelly ... rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, fiction
What did you like best about Free Fire? What did you like least?
Best -- the setting. I love the National Parks of our country -- particularly those in the west. My husband is a seasonal Ranger and it was fun to escape into Yellowstone and see the Rangers in a new (and sometimes despicable) light.

If you’ve listened to books by C. J. Box before, how does this one compare?
I didn't feel as though the plot was as fully developed as other novels. Plus, moving the setting to Yellowstone made the family
Michael Arches
Dec 29, 2014 Michael Arches rated it it was amazing
It's a terrific story focused on Yellowstone where several problems exist at once. First, a sleezy lawyer has figured out there's a part of the park where serious crimes can't be prosecuted, called the Zone of Death, and the lawyer kills four men there. Then there's the problem that the entire park is one giant volcano ready to burst at any time. And Joe has to confront his past because his brother died in the park many years before, an event that destroyed Joe's family.
It's a lot for one man to
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Anyone reading Joe Picket series? 16 51 Nov 17, 2012 10:08AM  
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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 16 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)
  • Blood Trail (Joe Pickett, #8)
  • Below Zero (Joe Pickett, #9)
  • Nowhere To Run (Joe Pickett, #10)
  • Cold Wind (Joe Pickett, #11)

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