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Free Fire

(Joe Pickett #7)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  8,948 ratings  ·  534 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, 352 pages
Published May 10th 2007 by Putnam Publishing Group
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4.23  · 
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 ·  8,948 ratings  ·  534 reviews

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Jim Thomsen
Sep 05, 2009 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
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 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
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 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
This is another good entry in the Joe Pickett series. In this one, Joe Pickett goes into Yellowstone National Park to investigate a mass murderer. It proves to be no easy task.
We get an interesting story with a good mystery and the typical C.J. Box twists. We get cold-blooded killers, some odd-ball characters, slimy politicians, dirty cops, corporate intrigue, danger, and no little violence. In addition to all that, Yellowstone Park itself becomes a character in this story. (This story says to m
Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
An interesting premise, but ultimately I just couldn't get into it.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting story about the former Wyoming game warden, Mr. Pickett. He's approached by the governor's assistant to do some under cover investigating in Yellowstone Park. A lawyer has found a loophole to commit murder in a certain area that is not under normal rules. Good mystery, laughs and action.
I read the previous book in this series several weeks ago and the ending left me hanging, wondering how the main character, Joe Pickett, would respond to the changes in his life. He had just been fired from his job as a game warden for the state of Wyoming. He had finally run afoul of bureaucratic politics once too often. The job had defined who he was as a person. What would he do now?

The answer was that he would become a ranch foreman for his wealthy father-in-law. But, of course, that didn't
Kate Lacy
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
I have been a fan of C.J. Box and his park ranger, Joe Pickett. This is one of the latest books and sorry, folks!
It's basically a diatribe against governmental practices in handling Yellowstone Park. All of the points made may be true, but I was reading the book for pleasure, not for politics and Joe Pickett has been lost in translation.
Jan 06, 2009 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 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.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! I felt I was in Yellowstone ! Wow great book!
Nov 18, 2014 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.
Randy Tramp
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett goes to Yellowstone National Park at the request of the Governor. No other agency wants him there.

Attorney Clay McCann admitted to killing four campers in the back-country of Yellowstone. Does he commit the perfect crime and get away with murder?

I like Joe Pickett as a character and Yellowstone as the setting. Two for one. I've never been to Yellowstone, but one day I'd love to go there. Especially, after reading this story and experiencing the sites. (Box did an
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Yet another gripping tale of intrigue from C.J. Box. I have come to expect that Box's Joe Pickett and his family will be put in harms way. I have come to expect there to be rather gruesome scenes. I was not disappointed. Nate is a fascinating character. Did Joe weed out all the bad guys? I wonder. Box uses his words not just to paint the gruesome scenes, but also to give the reader vivid images of the settings, both of man made and natural. I could hear the sound of the geysers spouting off. On ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed how the premise from the law review article, "The Perfect Crime" was developed into a novel. For the attorneys it is worth schooling yourselves up on the vicinage clause of the constitution before you start. A quick youtube of the "Zone of Death" will also give you a quick primer.
Robert James
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another winner from this author. I loved that the setting was so unique. He made Yellowstone Park into a critical character in the plot. Pickett seems to me to be moving out of the stumbling and bumbling simple game warden mode. He has a lot of Columbo in him.
Luke Walker
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story goes in a different direction than the other Joe Pickett novels, and it took me a while to get into it, but it paid off. This is another solid entry in the Joe Pickett series. I highly recommend this series!
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really enjoying this series: the writing, plot, narration is all such fun. This volume is set in Yellowstone Park which has always fascinated me.

If only my library stocked all the books!
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, audio-library
Not my favorite Joe Pickett book, although it made me want to visit Yellowstone.
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty interesting entry in the Joe Pickett series. Nothing really new about it but it takes place in Yellowstone. The grandeur of the stage helped the story quite a lot. Fun book.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Although I enjoyed the book and the mystery, I definitely felt I was missing out on something by picking up the 7th book in the series without reading the previous books. I picked this because it was set in Yellowstone, and I wanted another book about the area. All the elements about the park that were brought into the story were well written and fit seamlessly into the story. I enjoyed the story and characters enough to go back and read others in the series.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: authors-i-ve-met
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps a higher rating as an audiobook than I'd give for a hand-in-hand version, but this was quite entertaining to both my husband and myself as we drove across country. Very much in the Longmire vein, plus it dealt with a part of the country I know quite well.
May 18, 2016 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
Mar 07, 2015 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 24, 2015 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
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: rt-2016
This is the first book I have read by C.J. box even though it #7 in the series, because I needed a book set in Yellowstone national park. It does well as a standalone, there are references to past events, but no big holes in the story.

It is a mystery/western/ adventure type story, not usually my thing. I think the fact that I have been to Yellowstone enhances the reading experience, and the descriptions rang true throughout the book. It is basically about someone who thought they had committed t
Jan 05, 2009 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.
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I learned so much about Yellowstone National park in this story of backstabbing, insanity and murders. Joe Pickett, the hero, has lost his game warden job. It was only a matter of time. But the new Wyoming Governor has decided to turn Joe into a sleuth by sending him on a Mission Impossible-type position. Find out why a prominent lawyer killed four people and who else was involved.

An excellent tale from an author that I enjoy more each book!
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Anyone reading Joe Picket series? 16 57 Nov 17, 2012 10:08AM  
cj box 1 14 Oct 10, 2012 05:38PM  

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C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 24 novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, two Barry Awards, and the 2010 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award for fiction. He was recently awarded the ...more

Other books in the series

Joe Pickett (1 - 10 of 20 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)
“Yellowstone, a place so special and awe-inspiring that after exploring it in 1871, the Hayden Expedition conceived of the original concept of the world’s first national park—a set-aside of 2. 2 million acres containing more than ten thousand thermal features, canyons, waterfalls, and wildlife—so no man or corporation could ever own it.” 5 likes
“We’re trivial pissants in the big scheme of things, fleas, fly shit in the pepper.” 4 likes
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