Buckle up, because America’s favorite game warden is set to hit bookstores once again in March 2019.
For almost two decades, C.J. Box has captivated readers with his average-looking, hard-working, honest-to-a-fault game warden named Joe Pickett. A protagonist unlike any other in print right now, Joe is known for doing the right the thing, working hard, being a lousy shot with his handgun, and proudly loving on his wife, Marybeth, and their daughters.
Now eighteen books in, Box’s series is as popular as ever. In fact, it was just recently, (2016’s Off The Grid) that the author debuted at the top of the New York Times list for the first time, making Joe Pickett the face a #1 bestselling franchise. Since then, Vicious Circle debuted at #2 behind only Clive Cussler, before this year’s The Disappeared reclaimed the top spot. Bottom line, even after all these years, at a point when most series have fizzled out, or are at best losing steam, Box and his game warden counterpart are more popular than ever. Including with Book Spy followers — who made The Disappeared one of the most pre-ordered books through our links so far in 2018.
Now, Joe is saddling up to ride again, with Box’s next book, Wolf Pack, the 19th in the series, scheduled to come out on March 19, 2019. Check out the cover and plot details below!
(Note: if you haven’t read The Disappeared, beware, the plot details below might offer a spoiler or two.)
Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett encounters bad behavior on his own turf–only to have the FBI and the DOJ ask him to stand down–in the thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times-bestselling author C.J. Box.
The good news is that Joe Pickett has his job back, after his last adventure in The Disappeared. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose grandson is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy.
When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he is asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Joe discovers that the man is in the witness relocation program, as he is in possession of knowledge about dangerous people. Soon, Joe comes across a pack of four killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel to find the man in the WITSEC program–and Joe realizes his actions might expose the man.
Teaming up with a female game warden (based on a real person, one of the few female game wardens at work in Wyoming today) to confront these assassins, Joe finds himself their prey–along with Lucy and her boyfriend.
After digesting those plot details, several things stand out right away. . .
First, the elephant in the room. Obviously, for those who’ve read The Disappeared, the ending was a stunner. Talk about a twist to close on! Without offering any spoilers for those still catching up on their reading list, let’s just say that Joe’s future is left, shall we say, uncertain due to how things wrapped up.
It would now appear, based on what we now know about Wolf Pack, that Joe will continue as a game warden. That’s a relief!
The other thing that jumps out is that Lucy seems primed to play a big role in this book, which is interesting because Sheridan had a major role in The Disappeared. Back in March, during a Q&A I did with Box, he told me, “I do love writing about Joe’s family and the maturation and growth of his daughters. Sheridan has been an important character since she was seven years old in Open Season, but I want the other girls to shine as well.”
That quote, four months later, suddenly makes a lot more sense (It also has me wondering if April will get some serious screen time in the 19th book, due out in 2020, though that might be thinking too far ahead) now that Lucy and her boyfriend, along with Joe, will apparently find themselves on the wrong side of a group of assassins.
Additionally, the mention of a drone is worth noting too. Longtime fans will remember the run-in Joe had with a drone in Breaking Point, which didn’t exactly go his way.
Interestingly, Joe’s best friend, the fan-favorite Mr. Nate Romanowski, who played a very minor role in Breaking Point, isn’t mentioned at all here. Ironically, to put that into perspective, except for Endangered (2015) you’d have to go all the way back to Breaking Point (2013), to find a book where Nate isn’t mentioned in the plot details. After being referenced in the plot synopsis for Stone Cold (2014), Romanowski is featured prominently in the descriptions for, Off The Grid (2016), Vicious Circle (2017), and even The Disappeared. What that means for the former outlaw in Wolf Pack remains to be seen, but we do know that Joe will be working with a female game warden for the first time, who is based on a real-life game warden in Wyoming.
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.