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Joe Pickett #1

Open Season

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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 outfitter, with whom he's had run-ins before, chose his backyard, his woodpile to die in. Even after the "outfitter murders," as they have been dubbed by the local press after the discovery of the two more bodies, are solved, Joe continues to investigate, uneasy with the easy explanation offered by the local police.

As Joe digs deeper into the murders, he soon discovers that the outfitter brought more than death to his backdoor: he brought Joe an endangered species, thought to be extinct, which is now living in his woodpile. But if word of the existence of this endangered species gets out, it will destroy any chance of InterWest, a multi-national natural gas company, building an oil pipeline that would bring the company billions of dollars across Wyoming, through the mountains and forests of Twelve Sleep. The closer Joe comes to the truth behind the outfitter murders, the endangered species and InterWest, the closer he comes to losing everything he holds dear.

278 pages, Paperback

First published May 7, 2001

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About the author

C.J. Box

118 books5,276 followers
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 2016 Western Heritage Award for Literature by the National Cowboy Museum as well as the Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel by the Western Writers of America in 2017. The novels have been translated into 27 languages.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he co-owns an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. They have three daughters. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Box lives in Wyoming.

--from the author's website

* Joe Pickett


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,276 reviews
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,824 followers
February 13, 2018
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 losing both his job and his life. The setting is the fictional town of Saddlestring at the base of the Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming - and you can almost smell and feel the crisp mountain air while you are reading.

The great thing about this series is, if you like this first offering, I can guarantee you that it only gets better from here! I cannot recommend this enough!

Side note: I got into this series because I was the Assistant Manager of the Old Faithful Inn Gift Shop in Yellowstone National Park back when this book was first released. At the time, we had C. J. Box come in each year to do signings of his most recent release. In fact, he used to email me directly to coordinate the signings (kinda made me feel important!). I stress though, meeting him in person back when he was just starting out did not bias me towards his writing - it really is great stuff whether I met him or not!
Profile Image for Charles  van Buren.
1,709 reviews178 followers
August 26, 2022
I will admit that I always wanted to be a game warden which undoubtedly prejudices me in favor of this novel. In Joe Pickett's Wyoming, political patronage to get the job is not mentioned. But keeping the job? That is quite political. With corruption, politics and big business all playing a part.

The characters are realistically drawn. In my law enforcement career, I worked with real life counterparts to several of them. The pretty boy officer whose own family couldn't trust him; the old, corrupt departmental legend; ditto the long term sheriff; the incompetent and corrupt bureaucrats; the politicians. What is missing are the ordinary people and the extraordinary people with whom and for whom I worked over the years. Pickett's department is one of the dismal ones with nearly all bad guys surrounding him. Pickett faces it all with integrity and courage. Not an easy thing to do with no financial resources except a paycheck; a work at home wife; young children and a baby on the way. As bleak as things seem for Officer Pickett, it all works out in the end for him, the endangered animals and maybe even for most of the local inhabitants of the town and surrounding area.

Not as well written as I expected from the reviews, this novel is still a worthwhile read for outdoor enthusiasts.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
August 16, 2018

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 always fun, something grounded to help connect some dots and provide a certain and more or less predictable backstory. Usually adding some character flaws to the hero: alcoholism, broken relationships, etc. will add flavor to the story. Lee Child’s mixed this up some with Jack Reacher but the basic premise was still sound.

Pickett is a game warden. Yeah! Guy out in the field checking for hunting and fishing licenses and who you call when the moose wanders into your campsite. But it can get dicey when the guy you are citing for a violation is heavily armed and / or drunk and there is no one else around for miles. I had a neighbor years ago who was a Tennessee Wildlife Resource agent (game warden) and he told a story about one of his colleagues who was ticketing an outfitter way out in the Smokey Mountains of eastern Tennessee and the man’s client was Steven Seagal. Seagal was actually very nice and all was handled appropriately … but there was still that tension.

So, back to Joe Pickett. We find our hero as a very green newbie, more or less new to his position and making rookie mistakes a plenty. He also has a young family with one on the way and all living in a small, state funded house in his jurisdiction. Money is tight and Joe is working hard to provide for his family while also establishing himself and to begin his career.

From here Box tells a very entertaining re-imagining of Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 An Enemy of the People, where the idealistic goals of society are matched against the more immediate needs of putting food on the table. There's also nefarious greed and the ambivalence towards natural resources involved. More than just an exciting whodunit, Box explores themes of conservationism and the complexities of government service and the balancing needs of ecological and economic stability.

Good fun in Wyoming and I’ll be back.

Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,816 followers
September 10, 2016
“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 nowhere when you catch them committing hunting violations. Act now!”

Joe Pickett loves his job as a game warden, but it’s a tough gig trying to support his family on a small salary and constantly suffering by comparison to the legendary warden he replaced when the older man retired. After a terrifying incident when trying to ticket a poacher, Joe is humiliated and suffers from a loss of respect in the community. When that same poacher shows up dead on the woodpile in Joe’s backyard, the game warden has to help track down a killer and find out what’s been going on in the wide empty spaces of Wyoming.

I liked the setting and the idea of a game warden as the main character of a mystery. I also liked how Joe’s work was shown as important but thankless, and how he was starting to worry that his love of the job was going to hurt his family. There’s a pretty good story behind the killing of the poacher, and some interesting supporting characters. I also liked that Joe was portrayed as a basically decent guy, but not the smartest tool in the shed and prone to screwing up.

However, I pretty much had the entire plot figured out about a quarter of the way into this. It’s obvious who the villains are and what their goal is early on. Joe spends a lot of time figuring out what’s going to be obvious to most readers, and it’s frustrating watching your hero get manipulated when you’ve already figured it all out.

Liked it, didn’t love it. I’d give the series another try if the story sounded interesting or it had great reviews, but I won't be rushing to pick another one up.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,221 reviews2,051 followers
January 25, 2022
The moral of this story is never get between Joe Pickett and his family, especially if he is holding a loaded shotgun at the time. He is a calm, quiet man until he is not and then watch out!

Open Season, like its main character, starts slowly and quietly and then explodes at the end. What an ending too, sadness, violence, hope, regrets but most of all a family which hangs together and supports every one of its members.

This is the first book in the series but I have already read a later one which made me come back and start at the beginning. The series is set in Wyoming and Pickett is a Game Warden. It is not a well paid job but it comes with a house and it is something Pickett has always wanted to do. In Open Season he comes across some really unpleasant characters and nearly loses everything.

This was an excellent read, full of information as well as a great story and some beautiful characters. Special acknowledgements to Sheridan and to the charming weasels who inadvertently cause the whole drama. I am looking forward to book two.
Profile Image for Tim Null.
100 reviews63 followers
October 16, 2022
I read the first three Joe Pickett books back in the day. Enjoyed the first two books by C.J. Box, but there's a kidnapping in the third book and I don't handle kidnappings well. I took the books to Recycle Bookstore and moved onto another author. Now all these years later my wife is reading Joe Pickett books, but she's reading the books out of order! How can a person manage such a thing?

Note: I read the above to my wife and she gave me her copy of Free Fire by C.J. Box, and suggested I read it. I'm hoping the book doesn't contain some sort of hidden message.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,921 reviews10.6k followers
December 26, 2017
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 comes to mind when I think of a sleuth.

Open Season starts out by establishing that Joe Pickett is a good man but not precisely on the ball. A guy gets his gun from him and he never lives it down. Joe's a family man, with two daughters and a bun in the oven. His wife is clearly the brains of the operation. When the very man that snatched his gun away from him winds up dead on their wood pile, Joe finds himself neck deep in something sinister.

The rural Wyoming setting was the star of the show for me. Being a hundred miles from nowhere is scary on its own, not to mention throwing in the wildlife and the fact that everyone is packing heat. Box did a great job capturing what life in a dying small town is like. I liked that Joe was a by the book game warden rather than some kind of smart mouth maverick like so many other sleuths.

The setup for the mystery was good but I felt like everything after that was telegraphed. When there are only three prominent characters besides the sleuth and his family, it's pretty obvious that one or more of them is involved in the shady business. I felt like I spent a lot of time waiting for Joe Pickett to catch up.

As much as I've complained, I did enjoy the book and the ending was cathartic enough to be worth it. Box resisted the temptation to make Pickett rush in with guns blazing like an action hero and kept things true to character.

While it wasn't the best mystery I read this year, Open Season was an engaging enough read and I'm open to reading the further adventures of Joe Pickett. Three out of five stars.

Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
550 reviews1,064 followers
July 22, 2015

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 the odd occasion.

This is the first novel in a series, so the character isn’t completely established yet and there are one or two (very) minor pacing issues. However, once things get going they really get going. There are the requisite few twists and surprises, but what really clinched it for me was the white knuckle sequence toward the close of the story and the totally bad-ass ending. Damn, but things get a bit tense there.

Recommended to suspense-heads.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
908 reviews164 followers
May 20, 2018
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. 👍👍
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,965 reviews671 followers
March 3, 2019
What an exciting start to one of my favorite series. The setting is wonderful, a fictitious town in Wyoming .... aaah the great outdoor. After reading a few recent installments, I had no idea that Joe Pickett had such a rough start as a rookie game warden. He's not your typical crime novel hero, a bit slow in some areas, trusting, a straight arrow type of guy, but how many times can a guy loses his gun? Many likable and convincing supporting cast of characters.

Paperback edition; 289 pages. The rest were preview of next two in series.
Profile Image for  Li'l Owl.
398 reviews231 followers
Want to read
September 15, 2020
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 original character who makes mistakes and is complete with a few flaws. He's generally upbeat and is quite comical at times. His family is heart warming and genuine. I fell in love with his loving wife, who pregnant and expecting their third child, and his little girls, ages seven and three. Sheridan is a bright and imaginative, Lucy is inquisitive and impressionable, both are adorable and precious.
It took no imagination to put myself smack dab in the middle of Joe's little cabin. I could smell the sage brush, see the brilliant colors of golden aspen trees, imagine the crunch of the leaves under my feet, and feel the bitter cold high in the mountains. There's a strong sense of being in the wide open spaces of the prairies, the wildlife prolific and breathtaking. Cj box is a master of descriptive words that paint the images just as bold as on any canvas.

Then, there is the story. The description of what the book is about is dead on.
It's packed full of energy and suspense. The pace is nearly frantic and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. There are lot's of twists that made it impossible to even grasp a hint of the who and the why, coming to a heart stopping ending. It left me longing to read the next in the series. And I will be doing just that in the near future.
I don't usually write a novel when reviewing one but I just want to give you a taste of how much I loved this book! I highly recommend it!

Here's a bit of *Chapter One*

Seven-year-old Sheridan Pickett related her dream aloud to the stuffed bear that served as her confidant. Lucy, three and horrified, listened in. "The monster, Sheridan said, had come down from the mountains through the dark, steep canyon behind the house very late last night.... the monster had rattled the back gate before figuring out the latch and had then lurched clumsily (sort of like mummies in the old movies) across the yard to the back door. Its eyes and teeth glinted yellow, and for a second, Sheridan felt an electric bolt jolt through her as the monsters head swiviled around and seemed to look directly at her before it fled. The monster was hairy and shiny as if covered with liquid. Twigs and leaves were stuck to it. There was something white, a large sack or box, swinging from the monsters hand.
"Sheridan, stop talking about monsters", Joe called out. The dream disturbed him because the details were so precise.
"You're going to scare your little sister".
" I'm already scared", Lucy declared pulling her blanket to her mouth.
"Then the man walked slowly away across the yard through the gate toward the woodpile where he fell down into a big shadow. And he's still out there, Sheridan finished, widening her eyes toward her sister to deliver the complete effect.
"Hold it, Sheridan, Joe said abruptly, entering the room with a spatula in his hand. " You said 'man'. You didn't say 'monster'. You said 'man. '"
Sheridan looked up quizzically, her big eyes wide. "Maybe it was a man. Maybe it wasn't a dream after all."
Profile Image for Carol.
829 reviews481 followers
June 27, 2016
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.”

The Sinker – As you might expect this kickoff introduces the man, giving us a glimpse of Joe, his family, wife Marybeth, daughters Sheridan and Lucy and the beautiful locale of Twelve Sleep, high country, Wyoming.

Joe Pickett exhibits a vulnerability in his inaugural appearance. Consider that he arrests the governor for fishing without a license and later allows a bad guy to take his gun and turn it on him. Hard to live things like this down but Joe perseveres and you got to love him for it. Pickett is a Wyoming Game Warden, not a superhero, just a man with a family doing his job. Even his name is plain and easy.

There are seven parts to Open Season each beginning with either a quote from The Endangered Species Act or consideration of said. These are important not only to Pickett’s job but to the plot. What I found extremely interesting in the story-line was the political ramifications of sighting what was thought an endangered species, what a come-back would mean to the economy and livelihood of this rural region. Never thought of this as explained.

C.J. Box says that Open Season was written as a one-off but it’s clear he set it up to continue, perhaps with fingers crossed. He states that each of the sixteen titles in the series can be read as stand-alones. He also feels that "Winterkill, Free Fire, Breaking Point and Off the Grid" could be good entry points into the series”. This may be and many may come to his books this way. Myself, I prefer to read the first book in any series. It is not always the best but begins my journey with the character.

First impressions may not always be correct but I’m willing to hangout with Joe again.

Profile Image for Cathrine ☯️ .
616 reviews337 followers
December 24, 2015

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. A great advantage being a woman is we can read chick-lit and man-lit and enjoy them equally. :D
Perfect for relaxed reading in between heavier, longer adventures in literature.
Profile Image for Chris.
735 reviews95 followers
December 31, 2022
I kept thinking about Dudley-Do-Right as Joe Pickett's character is revealed in this first of a series mystery novel. Just exchange the Mountie uniform for that of a Wyoming Game Warden. I loved the setting, I wanted to go out and take a hike in the woods, but without the drama of course. It's been a number of reads since I've had one that I hated to set it aside and so eagerly wanted to pick it up each day. I like learning new things and even in this mystery there was something to research, I ended up googling Miller's weasels (Black-footed ferrets and their faces are SO cute!)

The story unfolds slowly as we meet the Pickett family and are introduced the to the good and bad of a Game Warden's job. An outfitter whom Joe had a run-in with, is discovered in the Pickett's backyard dead of a gunshot wound and Joe is determined to discover who shot the man & why he would head to the Pickett's home. But there is more afoot than this one murder and obstacles are being placed in Joe's way. Is it politics, economic worries, job performance, something else or a combination of all. Regardless, as Joe inches closer the pace picks up until an explosive confrontation occurs. A just conclusion.

My only negative was even though Joe isn't sure who to trust, it was obvious to me from early on that one of the characters was up to no good. Too bad Joe wasn't as perceptive as his wife.
Profile Image for Michelle.
753 reviews4 followers
October 5, 2019
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 friends". My heart belongs to the more impulsive, mature, and headstrong Walt Longmire. He's the Wyoming lawman for me.

I just didn't get into Joe like I do Walt. Joe is a bit of a sad sack. I need my book boyfriends to be strong and confident. If you have ever read the Hamish Macbeth series, Joe reminded my of him. Likable, but not someone to fall in love with. Anyway, I will continue hanging out with Joe when I have some downtime, because why not?
Profile Image for Henry.
636 reviews28 followers
April 12, 2020
This is my first of C.J. Box' Joe Pickett novel. Terrific and extremely well written. I am looking forward to reading the next in this series.
Profile Image for Jim.
562 reviews85 followers
April 6, 2020
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 embarrassing ones. He is cautious and careful ... so much so that sometimes others think he is a little "slow".

When a local outfitter with whom he had a previous run-in is found on the woodpile behind his house and shortly after that two other outfitters are also found dead he continues to investigate even though the local police declare the crimes "solved". For Joe it is personal. There had to be a reason the first outfitter made his way to Joe's house and died in his backyard splayed on his woodpile.

InterWest is a multi-national natural gas company with big plans to build an oil pipeline across Wyoming that could bring jobs and money to Twelve Sleep. But these plans could be derailed by a cute endangered species brought to the woodpile in Joe's backyard. As Joe investigates the "outfitter murders" he finds that he comes closer to losing everything he holds dear.

This was an enjoyable quick read. I will probably read other books in the series. A refreshing change from the typical urban settings.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,342 reviews524 followers
October 1, 2020
Joe Pickett, I am sorry I took so long to read your story. Two library patrons have told me I should read this series. When the second one told me I just had to listen to this book on audio, I finally listened. I loved the first book so much that when I was finished I immediately checked out the second book in the series on my Libby app. What is there to love about this series set in Wyoming? 1) Joe Pickett is a man with a strong moral compass. He is conscious of his flaws. Wants to do the best job he can. Loves his family. 2) The family dynamics are so heartwarming. Little Sheridan really shines in this first book. Wife Mary Beth is a rock for Joe. 3) The setting is a refreshing nature fix for the reader and the rustic elements of the West shine through. I do also want to commend David Chandler for his performance on the audiobook. I can't imagine a better voice for Joe. Thank you, C.J. Box for bringing Joe Pickett into our world.
Profile Image for Veronica .
744 reviews177 followers
March 28, 2017
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 necessarily incompetent but he does come across as a bit of a doofus. And his boy scout upstandingness is only highlighted by the fact that most of the other male characters are all such OBVIOUS disgusting douchebags it's hard to imagine anyone not feeling the need for a shower after spending five minutes in their presence. The mystery aspect is also OBVIOUS with the who-done-it and the why-they-done-it being pretty clear from the get go...and I say that as someone who never tries to figure out the mystery ahead of the protagonist. There's nothing interesting on the home front either since Joe's family life is pretty bland. All in all this was an innocuous read.
Profile Image for Still.
574 reviews81 followers
February 18, 2022
I can’t write a review of this novel.
It was spoiled by my having seen the mini-series based on this & I assume the next novel in the series.

Concept is brilliant. C.J. Box might be my next favorite author.

The main character in this long running series is Joe Pickett. He works as a state game warden in the wilds of Republican redneck Wyoming. He’s longed to be a game warden since he was a teenager.

He runs up against a poacher … licensed hunter working off-season… who runs afoul of Joe’s aesthetics and the law. Later he’s murdered & winds up dead in Joe’s backyard carrying something verboten in a cooler.

This leads to mayhem & more murder.

Joe has a family so that kinda steps on the tail of a potential outdoors noir concept. The family biz really slows down the action.
On the positive side, Box really engages the reader in a slightly slower paced bit of crime-suspense than I’m usually accustomed.

I recommend this as an introduction to a unique crime-action series by a truly great writer.

For best results read reviews by other GoodReads friends

Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews516 followers
May 27, 2016
★★★★½ (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 there were certainly some surprises. And my heart was in my throat more than once. I was on the edge of my seat by the end. I've already downloaded the next in the series.

Thanks for the rec, Becky ♡The Bookworm♡!
Profile Image for Stacey.
874 reviews161 followers
February 21, 2018
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 pile. If there is an endangered species in the area, the natural gas company can't put a pipeline through. There are higher stakes at play as his sights on the killer and the real motive emerge.

I've found a new series and character to wrap my arms around!
Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,491 reviews9 followers
January 21, 2023
Small-town Wyoming game warden, Joe Pickett, investigates the murders of some local poachers and stumbles onto a possible cover up of what they were really up to. His wife and two adorable daughters support Joe in everything he does, even if his menial paycheck means they live in a government-owned house and have never taken a vacation. The tension builds when Joe's family is endangered.

I read this in anticipation of watching Season 1 of Joe Pickett on Paramount+. Throughout the book I was able to picture each scene which I will compare to how it plays out on screen. Very good book and I even learned a thing or two. I'd pick up the next in the series without hesitation.
Profile Image for Erth.
3,505 reviews
December 27, 2020
After reading Craig Johnson and Tony Hillerman, I’m happy to have discovered another strong western series. Open Season introduces readers to Joe Pickett, Wyoming game warden, husband, and father. When little Sheridan Pickett discovers a monster in her family’s back yard, her father and her family become embroiled in a mystery that is almost more than they can handle. Almost.

C. J. Box’s prose is easy and comfortable as a well-worn saddle, and as gripping an experience as any mystery lover could desire. Halfway through, Open Season becomes unputdownable.
Profile Image for Anita.
2,100 reviews146 followers
April 18, 2022
This is not my normal choice of reading/listening material. I selected this book because there is a TV series out there and because I thought it was something my husband might enjoy listening to on our road trip. Well, the trip was canceled but I was intrigued enough to listen to the book. After a slow start, the plot began to grow on me. I was pretty sure I knew who the baddie was and why but seeing how Joe peeled away the tangle of lies, deceptions and betrayals was what kept me going. Joe is a salt of the earth character and there just aren't enough of his kind around.

Joe Pickett is an honest man who has loved the outdoors his whole life and now he is living his dream as the new game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming. He is married to the love of his life, has two adorable girls and another baby on the way. The only thing that casts a shadow on this bliss is the fact that he just doesn't make much money on a game warden's salary and now he is faced with some nasty goings on in his little slice of paradise.

When a local hunting outfitter with whom Joe has had other encounters rides into Joe's backyard and dies on his woodpile, he brings more than death to Joe's home. He brings Joe a whole lot of trouble and decisions that Joe would rather not make. But the man Joe is will not allow him to take the easy way out and that makes him a target for some powerful enemies.
Profile Image for Howard.
1,176 reviews73 followers
April 29, 2020
4 Stars for Open Season (audiobook) by C.J. Box read by David Chandler. This is a great start to an interesting series. I’ve read a later book in this series and I really liked it. So I wanted to see how the story started. I enjoyed this one and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. The narration is great too.
Profile Image for Cydni.
31 reviews16 followers
January 15, 2019
I really enjoyed this book. I’m ready to read the next one.
Profile Image for Donna.
1,845 reviews
December 24, 2021
4.5 stars.

This month, I have been watching the new Joe Pickett series available on demand from Spectrum Originals. Two new parts have been coming out each week in December. Now, I love Joe Pickett so of course I had to watch and I think it's great. This series is based on the first Joe Pickett book, Open Season. I recognized all the characters but realized I couldn't remember the plot of this book. Well, it has been 20 years since I read it so I go to my bookshelves (where I have all the CJ Box novels) and decided to re-read.

Joe is the new game warden in Twelve Sheep, Wyoming. Joe takes a lot of ribbing for arresting the governor for fishing without a license. Come on, cut him some slack.... Joe didn't know he was the governor. Joe sometimes comes across as fumbling but he has unwavering honesty and integrity. So what if he was last in his class in shooting and he does make mistakes but he has utmost moral character. He loves his family and his job. Being a game warden is all he ever wanted.

The TV show took some liberties with the story to make it more dramatic but some of the scenes and dialogue were spot on with the book. One big difference - there's no Nate in Open Season.

I'm an indoor person due to allergies but I love to picture the outdoors and this series forms beautiful pictures for me. I highly recommend the book and the TV series. I confess to loving anything created by author C.J. Box!
Profile Image for Ruth.
69 reviews24 followers
March 12, 2022
Joe Pickett is the new Game Warden of Twelve Sleep County Wyoming. When Joe finds Ote Keely, a local hunting outfitter dead on the woodpile behind his house he takes it personally. There has to be a reason Ote chose Joe's backyard woodpile to die in. After the "outfitter murders" are solved Joe continues to investigate, uneasy with the explanation offered by local police. As Joe digs deeper he discovers that Ote brought more than death to Joe's back door, he brought an endangered species that was thought to be extinct and are now living in Joe's woodpile. As Joe comes closer to the truth behind the outfitter murders and the endangered species the closer he comes to losing everything he holds dear. Including his family. A good start to a series I plan to continue reading. Recommended . Four stars.
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