I've never heard of C.J. Box, author of "Endangered" (Putnam 2015). I picked the book because it got good reviews and is the fifteenth in the Joe PickI've never heard of C.J. Box, author of "Endangered" (Putnam 2015). I picked the book because it got good reviews and is the fifteenth in the Joe Pickett series. More importantly, Lee Child recommended it--'one of today's solid-gold, A-list, must-read writers.' I wasn't about to argue with Jack Reacher's right hand man.
Now I have to read the rest, it was that good.
Joe Pickett is an easy-going, easy-to-know Wyoming game warden and family man. He takes his job seriously and has a reputation for solving mysteries rather than settling for the easy answer. Joe never is bigger than life, but he's always true to life. In this story, he's in the middle of mystery dealing with poachers who killed an entire Lek (community) of sage grouse when his 18-year-old daughter is found unconscious in a ditch, beaten and left for dead by her assailant like so much trash. While Pickett tries to unravel this mystery while working on who killed the sage grouse, he finds himself at odds with one of the nastiest local families you'd ever want to meet. For them, anything is fair game if they can get away with it.
This is not a hard-charging, fast-paced thriller with a complex plot that constantly whips you around like a roller coaster. The wonder of this book is the author's voice, through the character of Joe Pickett. He's kind and non-judgmental, but strong and firm in his beliefs. He's natural and uncomplicated, the type of person you'd want for a friend. The power of his personality drives the story, tinges every action, and kept me turning pages. Through Box's magnificent pen, I got to not only know Joe Pickett but understand his motivations. I've already ordered the rest of the series....more
Robin Burcell's "The Kill Order" (Harper 2015) is the fifth in the FBI Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick series (the second series created by Burcell).Robin Burcell's "The Kill Order" (Harper 2015) is the fifth in the FBI Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick series (the second series created by Burcell). Sydney becomes embroiled with a powerful computer code called the Devil's Key. It's repercussions are so extensive, it is considered a danger to national security and anyone in its possession is ordered to be killed--the Kill Order.
The problem starts when a deep-cover American agency asks Sydney to draw a profile picture of a man a twenty-year-old pickpocket (Piper) saw kill her boyfriend. Because Piper has an eidetic memory, she remembers minute details and quickly identifies the man as a powerful government official. To make things worse, Piper saw the Devil's Key and now has it stuck in her brain, which means she must be killed. Sydney, with the help of the specialized government agency, decide to unravel why the code is so lethal and hopefully in that way, save the girl's life. What they don't expect is that doing this puts all of them in mortal danger.
The characters are interesting and clever and the plot fast-moving--in fact, it never slows down. The importance of the Devil's Key is explained, but to me, not believably enough. I get that it's a backdoor into sensitive computers. What I don't get is why that isn't solvable since it is a known problem. I found myself bogged down by the plot. At times, it seemed to be going in circles albeit at full speed, as the author tried to figure out where it was really headed.
I was disappoint that Sydney's skills as a forensic artist didn't show up more in the book. I know they're spotlighted more in other volumes in the series (i.e., "Black List"), so Burcell might have wanted to broaden the foundation for the plot by delving into other areas. One other point that didn't detract from the book's score: I think this book would have been easier to understand if I'd read some of the earlier books in the series first. Characterizations were a bit sketchy and there were references to earlier cases that I assume were from prior books. I think if I'd ready the books in order, I would have felt much closer to the characters.
Overall, a great read from a talented author. I will be reading the rest of the series--starting with Book 1....more