Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Pickett Country
by C. J. Box
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2014. 269 pgs. Mystery
Fans and newcomers alike should enjoy C. J. Box's sparkling new collection of stories set in Wyoming. Joe Pickett, steadfast and companionable game warden, is the protagonist of a couple of these stories, including the title piece which has piercing things to say about shallow, self-absorbed lives as opposed to the life of a good man, a hard and faithful worker. "Pronghorns of the Third Reich" sounds like it will be a funny story, but it is a chilling (in more ways than one) tale of two men caught in a Wyoming blizzard, one wronged by the other, or so he says. "The Master Falconer" doesn't sound like it will be funny but it is mildly amusing as Joe's friend Nate Romanowski engages in a battle he seemingly cannot win with an Arab sheikh who demands wild falcon chicks to train. If you love the West, this book can be enjoyed simply for Box's descriptions of landscape and atmosphere, but there is ever so much more of ironic twists, human nature turned against itself, and flat-out fear that make this book a fine summertime read in the cool of the evening.