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Open Season

(Joe Pickett #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  18,490 ratings  ·  1,587 reviews
Joe Pickett is the new game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming, a town where nearly everyone hunts, and the game warden--especially one like Joe who won't take bribes or look the other way--is far from popular. When he finds a local hunting outfitter dead, splayed out on the woodpile behind his state-owned home, he takes it personally. There had to be a reason that the outfit ...more
Hardcover, 278 pages
Published May 7th 2001 by Putnam
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Alissa F. I've read this book three times. Twice for fun and this last time for my book club. I enjoyed it every time.

Community Reviews

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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,490 ratings  ·  1,587 reviews

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Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any mystery series fans
Shelves: mystery, own, western
Are you looking for a new mystery series? Do you like a beautiful western setting with modern day cowboys and outlaws? Do you like your justice served with rawhide, gun oil, and cheap saloon pilsner?

Look no further - welcome to the world of Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett whose heart is way bigger than his luck. While going about his daily tasks of checking hunting licenses and counting antelope, he is always getting himself caught up in mysteries and conspiracies that end up with him almost los
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it

Hello CJ Box and his game warden protagonist Joe Pickett! I’ll be coming to visit your little part of Wyoming again and again.

Box introduced game warden Pickett in this debut novel in 2001. Since then Box has been a steady and prolific writer, giving us fans a novel a year so this is a new series I can get to know and spend some time with.

Mystery and thriller fans are accustomed to protagonists being either a police officer and some sort or a private investigator and that’s alw
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
“Looking for a new exciting career? Love the outdoors and working with animals? The state of Wyoming is accepting applications for positions as game wardens. If you’ve spent years obtaining a college degree in fields related to conservation or ecology, you could qualify to be one of our low-paid government agents with a huge territory to cover along with more work than you can possibly do. As a bonus, you’ll get to issue tickets to heavily armed drunken rednecks with no back-up in the middle of ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller

It’s actually been two weeks or so since I’ve finished this – so this review may be a bit sparse on details.

Not that a lot of exposition is required to review Open Season. Simply put: I enjoyed it.

While the structure of the story isn’t particularly novel as far as mystery stories or police procedurals are concerned, the environmental aspect certainly is. See, Joe Pickett isn’t a cop or a P.I., he’s a game ranger. However, he apparently isn’t exempt from dealing with murderers and/or crooks on t
Dan Schwent
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, 2017-books
When a man dies in his front yard carrying a cooler, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett finds himself thrust into a mystery, a mystery that might cost him everything he holds dear...

Over the past ten years, I've read hundreds of mysteries and thrillers. There's a stripped down charm to some of them and many of them boil down to the oldest of tales: people being shitheads to each other. When this one popped up on the cheap, I decided to give it a shot. "Wyoming game warden" isn't something that come
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first C.J. Box book I have read and I am not disappointed at all! I found it so interesting and actually read it in one sitting. I have been wanting to read the Joe Picket series for awhile now and am so glad I finally did. This game warden is one intriguing character. I will continue the series after finishing the Alex Cross series.

My quick and simple overall: an awesome start to a series. 👍👍
 Li'l Owl
This debut novel by cj box is absolutely sensational!! The beginning pulled me in immediately, making it nearly irresistible to stop once I started.

The set of characters are so different than ones that make up detective procedural novels or even private investigator crime solving thrillers. It's unusual in so many ways but it's still completely absorbing. The individual personalities are well defined and are full of depth. I immediately fell for Joe and his family. Joe is such an endearing and
Jun 27, 2016 added it
Shelves: debut, series
Published in 2001, Open Seasonis the solid debut of the long running C. J. Box’s Joe Pickett Series

The Hook Over and over again I have heard praise for C.J. Box and his Joe Pickett series. I couldn’t ignore all the rave reviews for #16 Off the Grid. I decided it was now or forever hold the page. Besides, Box thinks Michael Connelly is great and as you all know I’m a Connelly fan.

The Line ”Joe rarely found a reason to draw his weapon, and even if he did, he doubted he could hit anything with it.”
Cathrine ☯️

The wilds of Wyoming, controversy between ranchers and conservationists, plus our main guy, game warden Joe Pickett made for an entertaining mystery/thriller and introduced me to book 1 in a series that I will continue reading. Rumor has it that Robert Redford would like to produce a TV series based on the books. Since I can’t get enough of Longmire, bring it on. I loved the unlikely heroine of Sheridan, one of Joe’s two daughters. I would classify this as man-lit which women can appreciate.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've been meaning to read Open Season for a long time! Joe Pickett, our main character, is the new game warden In Wyoming. Joe is the kind of guy I like to read about. He's down to earth, down on his luck and rather bumbling on the job. "When Joe screwed up, he did it massively and publicly." He's a family man and wears his heart on his sleeve.

Bodies start piling up on the wood pile in Joe's backyard. He starts looking closely at the murders and possibly an endangered species living in that wood
Sep 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Dear Sheriff Longmire, please don't be mad at me for cheating on you with another Wyoming lawman. He meant nothing to me, I swear!

I was set up on a blind date with Joe Pickett, Saddleback Game Warden and family man. We had a good time. I mean, Joe is lawful good, to an extreme. He's a good husband, father, and morally in the right. Plus Wyoming is always a good time for an outdoors-lovin' girl like me. The mystery was solid and I will continue the series, but I think Joe and I will remain "just
This is a mystery / thriller but it also (IMHO) a story with a message about the Endangered Species Act. Joe Pickett is the game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming and relatively new on the job. He is a family man and dedicated to his job. He has two daughters, Sheridan and Lucy, and his wife Marybeth is expecting their third child. He is honest and doesn't take bribes or look the other way and because of that he is not always popular. He isn't a sharpshooter and he makes mistakes. Sometimes embarr ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I’m ready to read the next one.
Lisa Kay
★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) I haven't heard the narrator, David Chandler, read before. At first, neither he nor the book grabbed me. I mean, I was interested, but not captivated. That changed as the book progressed! Looking forward to listening to him narrate the rest of this series, as he certainly became Joe Pickett to me.

Excellent start to the series. Nice slow build, that comes to a believable and satisfying conclusion. Sure, at times, I knew where the story was going, but ther
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This was typical of the genre. The body of a murdered man on the wood pile behind the home of a young game warden leads him to an investigation in which he will bring down corrupt politicians and big oil money. Despite being out numbered and facing threats to his livelihood and the safety of his family, he never falters. There is the usual amount of implausible scenarios, including the incredible shoot out. There is enough attention to developing the characters that the story was more interestin ...more
Well, this didn't end up being what I was hoping for.

Joe Pickett is a Game Warden in Twelve Sleep River County (Wyoming) where he lives in State housing with his pregnant wife and their two daughters, ages 7 and 3. This was a quick and simple read...and by simple I mean obvious in pretty much every aspect. Joe is such an OBVIOUS boy scout...whose only flaw seems to be a couple of personal habits that cause his wife to fear that other people will think him mentally slow. I don't think he's necess
Jason Parent
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was only going to give this three stars, but shit got real toward the end.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read
A solid 4 stars.

This is the first entry in the long-running Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box. It’s a police procedural mystery thriller set in Saddlestring, Wyoming where Pickett is a U.S. Game and Fish warden for Twelve Sleep County.

This is definitely an unusual setting since the area is so sparsely populated that the number of characters in the story is pretty small. Joe is the main character and he lives in Saddlestring with his pregnant wife Marybeth and his two daughters Sheridan and Lucy. Ve
Christine Zibas
When Open Season took nearly every "first novel" mystery prize, it wasn't a surprise. This reissue of the Joe Pickett classic has all the tell-tale signs of greatness that would keep its author, CJ Box, crafting many more novels to come. A Wyoming native, Box infuses his books with a love of the land and the modern issues that concern the people who live there.

In this first novel, readers are introduced to straight-shooter Game Warden Joe Pickett and his family. Trying to eke out a living, Joe d
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A quick but predictable mystery set in Wyoming. I may read more, but for now I like Craig Johnson's WY setting and Paul Doiron's ME game warden more.
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was my first book by C.J. Box and luckily it was also the first in the Joe Pickett series. I really liked this book. The protagonist is an average Joe (no pun intended) who isn't particularly clever or handsome or strong. He is just a hard working guy trying to do his best for both his family and his job. I like books that have characters that are a bit flawed to make them more believeable.

I will definitely read more in this series. That seems to be my problem. I can now take 1 book off my
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a different kind of mystery set in the wilds of Wyoming
Joe Pickett, Wyoming game warden and stand up family man, gets involved in something way above his pay grade when a three local hunters turn up dead, one in Pickett's own yard. Pickett is not cop, detective, or sheriff, and while educated about the things he would be -- mostly game and guns -- multiple murders are considerably outside his area of expertise. I don't want to say any more and spoil anything, but the mystery kept me guessing a while (view spoiler) ...more
A fantastic start to the Joe Pickett series. I started this series in the middle and was not sure the beginning would be as good as the latest, but it was. Joe really puts himself on the line in this addition, he is new and messing with folks that don't want him nosing around in their business. A big developer will stop at nothing to cover up an endangered species and that includes going after Joe and his family. Suspenseful and fast moving. Great as a stand alone as well.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

Joe Pickett is a Wyoming game warden, just an all-around good guy. He doesn't seem to have any major baggage or drama that he carries to work with him. He doesn't seem to habitually bend the rules or laws in his pursuit of justice, or at least not yet. These are some of the features that I love about many of the detective and crime series that I love to read. (I'm looking at you, Harry Bosch.) But in this first Pickett book, I found that Joe Pickett really loves his job, he loves t
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
A good enough mystery, though sort of formulaic. People have secrets, will warn and threaten others to 'keep quiet' about those secrets. However, we all know most normal, red-blooded Americans can NEVER KEEP A SECRET.

(This is why I think most conspiracy theories are utter crap. You want to keep a really big secret? Tell no one, or if you tell one friend, you must kill him or her. JK Really, but I got a problemo with secrets.)

Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden, who's having a hard time making end
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: western-modern
3.5 stars

So I had a 2 main reasons for reading this book and series.

The first being I had hopes that it would similar to the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson, which btw is my favorite series.

And the second is that CJ Box and Sandra Brown, another favorite must read author of mine, are doing a MatchUp where CJ Box's Joe Pickett (from this series) and Lee Coburn (from Sandra Brown's Lethal) work together. Since I am familiar with Lee Coburn I thought it would do me good to get to know Joe
Matt Garcia
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The mystery was solid. It's pretty obvious what's going on and who's behind it but it was still intriguing and satisfying to see all of the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.
The plot is unique and I appreciate that. The topic of endangered species and a mystery surrounding that is not something that I've seen before and Box is able to navigate it well.
The main character, Joe Pickett, was the atypical protagonist. A good natured, hard working, family man who is a game warden in Wyoming. I li
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous! I am thrilled to find this “new to me” author. Box’s debut novel is suspenseful and informative. It is the second book about a game warden that I’ve read recently. The locale for Game Warden, Joe Pickett, is Wyoming. Box develops interesting characters and I am looking forward to reading more books in the series.
Randy Tramp
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Joe Pickett is the new game warden in Wyoming. He's not popular because he upholds the law.

A body is found at his back door. Joe investigates.

What made this story more interesting is the involvement of Joe's family, specifically his little girl. No one messes with Joe's family and gets away with it.

I've read several stories in this series and going back to the first book seemed natural. What an opening book to this series. Pickett is one person I think about after the book is closed. I'm already
Alyx Tschirhart
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well this was one of those books where after reading a few chapters, you just aren't sure if you're going to like it too much. In fact I was mildly regretting already purchasing three other books in the Joe Pickett series.
But shortly after my worry, the book really turned it on. I'm eager to see what the next is like.
At the beginning, I wasn't too fond of Joe Pickett. He seemed too weak to be a character in such a large series. However, I had wrongly mistaken restraint and strength for fragilit
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C.J. Box's Joe Pickett series 6 72 Jun 19, 2017 05:17PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Just Incorrect Page Count 3 20 Sep 29, 2015 07:13PM  
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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

Other books in the series

Joe Pickett (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • 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)
  • Blood Trail (Joe Pickett, #8)
  • Below Zero (Joe Pickett, #9)
  • Nowhere To Run (Joe Pickett, #10)
  • Cold Wind (Joe Pickett, #11)
“Wyomingites, Joe had observed, didn’t know what to do when it rained except get out of it, watch it through the window, and wait for it to go away.” 3 likes
“The relationship between a father and his daughters, Joe had discovered, was a remarkably powerful thing. They looked to him to accomplish greatness; they expected it as a matter of course because he was their dad and therefore a great man.” 3 likes
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