Open Season is the first book in Box’s Joe Pickett series. Joe is a Game Warden in Wyoming and he’s underpaid, under appreciated, living in a house he doesn’t own with his devoted pregnant wife and two little girls. And a dog (who I personally felt needed more character development…but I’m a dog person).

Joe’s the right guy for this job-aside from the pay and lack of appreciation he really loves what he does. Unfortunately, the bad guys don’t. They are worried that Joe will discover their little secret and blow the possibility of BIG money pouring into the area and their pockets.

I’m not giving away anything here by telling you the secret involves an endangered species-every section starts with a part of the Endangered Species Act. The reader knows what’s going on-up to a point-before Joe does, but once he starts figuring it out we are rooting for him before the bad guys get him-or his adorable family!

Downsides? The segments in this first book in the series from the Endangered Species Act are kinda long and I’m thinking many readers brush past the legalize to get on to the story. I’d have shortened those to just the most salient points…but I see the author’s point, too.

A lot of time is spent early on setting the scene…sometimes more than is necessary, and Box has a tendency to over explore Joe’s inner turmoils, occasionally repeating points previously made.

As a result, this book starts off a little slow-but don’t let that stop you. Once the author gets rolling it’s a great ride with classic overtones of Honest Cop vs. The System. Be prepared for a real page turner, lots of tension and plenty of grit.

But wow, what a great first story to kick off a series that will keep you on the edge of your seat with every book, all while building a cast of compelling secondary characters, including his family and his best friend, Nate, a man with a shady background, a love of falcons and a solid commitment to the Joe and his family. 

I’m betting by the time you come to the end of this first book you’ll be looking forward to reading  the next one in the series…which is Savage Run, by the way. 

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