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Free Fire (Joe Pickett #7)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  6,286 Ratings  ·  402 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, 355 pages
Published May 10th 2007 by G. P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 1st 2007)
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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
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
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, suspense, stars-5
One of his best.
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.
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
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.
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.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! I felt I was in Yellowstone ! Wow great book!
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.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-library, 2017
Not my favorite Joe Pickett book, although it made me want to visit Yellowstone.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Eve Nolon
Dec 29, 2015 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
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
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!
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: box
11 jul 16, another from box for me. this must be...ummm, maybe the 10th? give or take. #7 joe pickett. onward & upward.
12 jul 16, finished. great story! ooga booga! yellowstone...the caldera. fascinating story. almost made it to yellowstone back when...but stopped at the museum in cody, spent the day there, instead. i live in the u.p.
onward, ever onward.
Jeff Dickison
Mar 06, 2016 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 rated it really liked it
Very interesting side trip into crime, bureaucratic bungling and straight arrows --and a trip into Yellowstone!
Lindsay Luke
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
A few years ago, a legal scholar wrote a paper about a legal loophole that would make it impossible (or at least very difficult) to prosecute someone who committed murder in the portion of Yellowstone Park that is in Idaho. In a nutshell, Yellowstone Park is in the Wyoming judicial district. The Constitution entitles you to a trial in the state and district where the crime occurred, but no one lives in this corner of Idaho. This book starts off with murders committed in this little area. The kil ...more
Ken Heard
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes location becomes a major character in a novel. Of course, James Lee Burke does it with Louisiana in his Dave Robicheaux series and Steve Hamilton writes well of Michigan in his work.

In Free Fire, Yellowstone Park becomes a character, both in C.J. Box's descriptions of the terrain and the plot line. A corner of the park was considered the "Death Zone" because laws did not pertain to an area of "no man's land" simply because there was no jurisdiction to try cases in. A lawyer kills seve
Luke Phillips
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked up Free Fire after reading an article on Yellowstone's 'Zone of Death' and becoming intrigued by the subject. It mentioned the book, and the rest as they say, is history. Despite being the 7th in the series, I found it easy to pick up some of the back story, and to get to know the characters.

Joe Pickett is a former, perhaps even disgraced game warden, working on his father-in-law's ranch, when he receive's a call out of the blue from the governor of Wyoming. He is offered the chance of
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 the story of Clay McCann, a lawyer who slaughtered four campers in cold blood in a far-off corner of Yellowstone National Park. After the murders, McCann immediately turned himself ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another solid entry in the Joe Pickett saga, with plenty of suspense and a high body count (if that appeals to you). You have to get past the improbability of a small town game warden resolving crimes and conspiracies that baffle local and state law enforcement and in some cases, the FBI.

Box tries to get around the improbability of the sheer volume of violent crime occurring in one small town (think Murder, She Wrote) by sending Joe to other locales. Last time it was Jackson Hole, this time Yell
Lissa Notreallywolf
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
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Anyone reading Joe Picket series? 16 53 Nov 17, 2012 10:08AM  
cj box 1 14 Oct 10, 2012 05:38PM  
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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 18 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.” 4 likes
“We’re trivial pissants in the big scheme of things, fleas, fly shit in the pepper.” 3 likes
More quotes…