Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Pickett by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Shots FiredMr. Box has put together a group of short stories in this book which is about the happenings in west. Several of them feature Joe Pickett, the Wyoming ranger and one even features Joe’s buddy, Nate Romanowski.

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In the opener (One Car Bridge) Joe gets involved with a very irate and prosperous ranch owner. The owner is mad at Joe and it seems like the world especially after his plan for a special wild game hunting exposition goes sour. When the state turns his idea down Joe has to pass the word to the Ranch Foreman and then to the owner. Quite an usual tale about what happens next.

Pirates of Yellowstone is about a pair of immigrants trying to get jobs at Yellowstone. How they become involved in a shady escapade with a tragic ending is also very interesting.

The End of Joe and Ezra is quite a tale of two long time partners who go just about one step to far in their pursuit of more beaver skins.
Well written and the descriptive writing keeps the reader really into the telling if the reader can stay warm!

The Master Falconer is a somewhat different take on Nate Romanowski, Joe Pickett’s friend. Nate always seems to be getting into some type of trouble and is usually just one step out of jail. Here he is matched against an old supposed customer of his. Exactly how the duo work out in this short story is somewhat expected but not quite what the reader foresaw. Great tale!

One story is about a very unusual happening in a drift boat on a fishing trip as a guide takes two fishermen on a day’s expedition. Jack has been invited by Tim but he is not at all prepared for what happens as the flat-bottomed boat floats and they fish. Quite a ending here also.

Another tells of a pair of ranch hands who basically kidnap a judge who has recently presided over a trial involving one of them. The story is really bolstered by the description of the trip the three of them are making through a major blizzard to get to an isolated ranch house. Pronghorns of the Third Reich is also enhanced by a true photo that shows an unique site from the 1930s. Quite a story.

Dull Knife features Joe Pickett as he gets involved with the drowning death of an Indian girl who was the greatest female basketball player he had ever seen. She was never allowed to pursue her passion and instead fell into the clutches of some bad folk who had somewhat taken over the young people on the reservation. As usual Joe does what he does best…….solve the problem!

LaSauvageNoble seems a bit out of place as it basically takes place in Paris, France. The connection is that an American Indian from
Wyoming made a trip over to Paris with some very strange results.
Interesting twist to the rest of the short stories in the book.

Blood Knot shows the relationship that is built and nurtured between a young girl and her aging grandfather as they fish together for trout. It is a great look at family relationships that do and don’t exist!

The last short story has Joe Pickett responding to an urgent call as he is out on patrol. Shots have been fired and he responds. The situation isn’t one that he expects but it turns into quite an adventure.

Overall a great group of short stories that hold the reader’s interest in each episode!