The Disappeared (A Joe Pickett Novel) by C.J. Box

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The DisappearedAs usual Joe Pickett, Wyoming’s favorite Game Warden, gets picked to move out of his normal bailiwick and has to work on a problem for the governor. But this new governor is not a fan of Joe nor is the governor’s right hand. Mainly because Joe is always solving problems but he is always causing other ones as he works. Usually he is not only tearing up state furnished equipment like trucks, etc. but he also tends to even run up against the legal system by doing things HIS way as opposed to by the book!

However because of the seriousness of the newest problem and because they have no one as good at solving problems the governor gives Joe an assignment that no one could solve. It seems that a very well-known British businesswoman has turned up missing instead of returning to England after her stay at a very exclusive guest ranch in Wyoming. And wouldn’t you know, Sheridan Pickett, Joe’s oldest daughter is working at the ranch as a wrangler after just finishing college. Joe is somewhat astounded by this since Sheridan was never the horse lover that her mother and sisters were. But it seems Box needed a “friend” in the right place for Pickett as the story evolves.

As Pickett arrives at his new working grounds which is not in his assigned region he receives a call from Nate Romanowski who wants to bring in someone to talk with Joe about a problem that the falconers are seeing and trying to solve. Joe isn’t happy with the potential interruption but does know that Nate, even though he can be a problem, can also be an asset in Joe’s endeavors.

There is a new site in the area as it seems a huge windmill farm that was not only built recently but it also appears it is growing larger and larger. The establishment strangely enough basically delivers electric power from its system to southern California where there is always a lack of electrical power. Joe wasn’t familiar with the farm but is astounded by its size and wonders what it does to wildlife and especially falcons and eagles in the area. He should know that there is going to be a connection with it and Nate’s recent phone call.

But there are so many other things on Joe’s mind that that one isn’t at the forefront. As he begins his investigation of the missing Englishwoman he finds that not only is the local game warden missing but his office, though locked up, appears to have been thoroughly gone through by someone who took out file folders and other items. These things were files that seem to have been compiled about the missing lady.

Not only is the game warden gone but it also seems that a sheriff that Joe has known and worked with is also “out of sight”. None of these things make sense to Joe but as he begins digging deeper he finds more things such as a large regional wood burning site has been running at later hours in the evening and there appears to be some very unusual smells emanating from the site when it runs.

Joe appears to be working in one direction while Nate is doing his thing in another. And to even confound things more, Sheridan, in search of the missing woman, seems to be doing some looking around at the ranch where she works. As usual there is plenty of action and also it is a well thought out plot. These are the elements of any C. J. Box story and he perfects them uniquely. Good read!