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on 4 April 2012
Yet again CJ Box has proved that Joe and Nate make a double act to rival other great american landscape crime series such as James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel.

Starting off with the seemingly indestructible Nate being ambushed, this novel finally lifts the lid on some of the secrets that he has been habouring over the series. The story builds beautifully with a few, not altogether unexpected twists and turns, smoldering to a suitably violent crescendo. This novel concentrates more on Nate that our main hero Joe, but keeps the mythical wilderness of Wyoming as the common denominator and mother nature as the master.

The uncluttered story telling is both evocative and addictive and I was unable to put the book down until finished (yet again). I never thought I would care about a game warden in Wyoming, but this is great crime fiction and I would thoroughly recommend the series to others.
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VINE VOICEon 15 April 2012
Although a "Joe Pickett" series novel (# 12), Force of Nature is mainly about falconer Nate Romanowski. Nate is Joe's best friend and has been involved in several of the earlier books, a mysterious character with an unknown (but dark) past. Here, readers learn of that past as Nate takes centre stage to resolve his unfinished business. Hence, for readers new to this author, Force of Nature is a good introduction to the series. Regular readers such as myself will, of course, enjoy the book both for its narrative and for the ongoing development of familiar characters.

Nate has for some years lived "under the radar" of society, hiding out in various wild, mountainous areas of the northwestern United States. He is technically a deserter from a special operations unit in the Army. In the opening scenes of Force of Nature, as Nate is flying his falcons, he is asked for help by some local fisherman whose boat is out of control. They attack him, he responds, and once again finds himself on the run. Soon, it becomes apparent to Nate that a figure from his past is behind this and other lethal events. The mystery at the core of Nate's character and way of life, when revealed, explains why violent incidents are occurring, and why Nate has little option in deciding what to do about them.

Joe Pickett is a US game warden in the small Wyoming town of Saddlestring. Although he is Nate's good friend, as a dedicated law-enforcement officer he has always distanced himself from knowing too much about Nate's past and present actions. Here, though, he realises that it isn't that easy to separate friendship from support, and has to make decisions for himself and for his family about whose side he is on, and how far he will go to help his friend.

Force of Nature is, as usual, a highly readable novel in which one just has to keep turning the pages to find out how the action will pan out. Nate has been a rather two-dimensional character in previous novels, mainly because of his mysteriousness and his silent relationship with nature, as well as the focus on Joe and his family. In Force of Nature, he emerges as a more rounded character, and hence the reader is more involved in his past and present predicaments. As usual, the settings are to the fore; one feels one is there in Wyoming, Montana or Idaho as Nate and Joe traverse the mountain trails. I have to admit that I felt a little disappointed that Joe, Marybeth and their three daughters take a back seat in this novel, but I hope that the author will be rectifying that situation soon!
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on 22 May 2016
Very enthralling novel.... too good to put down. C.J. Box is a brilliant tale spinner. His works , containing Joe Pickett and amazing. I never want to put the books down, not even to sleep at night. This one was full of suspense and a real thrill from cover to cover. Plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader waiting for more. I can highly recommend this series of novels..... I only have two to read...." In Plain Sight" and the newest one " Of The Grid " Can't wait !!!
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on 15 May 2012
I am a great fan of Lee Child and Michael Connelly but C.J. Box is becoming my favourite mystery writer. He just gets better and better with each book. I am well into the Joe Pickett series and wish I had started with the first book and read them in order as his characters all seem to develop realistically with each new story. This is yet another intriguing, unusual and yet realistic plot with superbly vivid settings and even minor characters that come to life. I hope he keeps writing and writing as I will read them all.
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on 23 February 2013
Well after 4 years, that's me finally caught up with Mr Box's Joe Picket (although I do believe another one is due out shortly)! And what an explosive way to end the current crop,

This was more a Nate Romanowski tail than a Joe Pickett tail. Over the last 11 books we have come to not know too much about Nate Romanowski as knowing who he is or what he has done would be more dangerous than stepping into an unprotected nuclear waste site, youd get a fatal overdose of contamination and your life expectancy would be reduced to milliseconds rather than years....

Force of Nature changes all of that and those that know Romanowski are dropping like bugs who've just been sprayed with DDT.

Nate's old bosses in Special Operations have decided that having him still on the loose with the knowledge that he has is just too dangerous, for them, and the only way to remove that danger is to kill him and anyone that he may have confided in, whether they know or not. If they are loosely connected to Nate, they need to die, including the Picketts, all of them.

The best thing Joe can do is stay out of the way, pack up the family and head out of dodge until the smoke clears and the body count can be checked and then to wait and see who survives, although it doesn't look good as Nate explains that the hunter on his tail is even better at hunting and killing people than he is, and we know from past experience that Romanowski is skilled in his craft!

Is everyone we know to be trusted? People we have known for years, newcomers with seemingly impeccable bona fides, who can be trusted, who can't? Box mixes it up here for us and we end up trusting some we shouldn't and doubting others who we should have more sense about and then the final showdown, who survives and who doesn't and the biggest question of them all, does Sheriff Maclanahan get re-elected and I can tell you now, Box has left us to stew over that one, the swine.

Book 1 - Open Season √
Book 2 - Savage Run √
Book 3 - Winterkill √
Book 4 - Trophy Hunt √
Book 5 - Out of Range √
Book 6 - In Plain Sight √
Book 7 - Free Fire √
Book 8 - Blood Trail √
Book 9 - Below Zero √
Book 10 - Nowhere to Run √
Book 11 - Cold Wind √
Book 12 - Force of Nature √

Editing for Kindle /iPad: 5 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 5 out of 5
Page length on kindle /iPad: 396
Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
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on 8 May 2012
Perhaps not so much a holding title as a riveting story. I started with several of Box's Joe Picket books which were only 99p, this being one, and found that they were not only good value but a right good read. Box manages to build the story to keep you page turning till the end. Whilst it's not suspense - you find out who the bady is early on but can't work out the hows and wherefors. His description of the mountainous landscape and wildlife is superb and there is just something about Nate Romanowski :-). I had to move on to collect and read the series. There are still more to go as he is a prolific writer.
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on 21 January 2014
I've read all eleven of the Joe Picket books in order, over a period of about a month.
It's probably the best series of Crime Thrillers I've read and I include Michael Conelley's Harry Bosch, James Patterson's Alex Cross, and Lee Child's Jack Reacher, all of which I've read over a similar time period.
Whereas many authors seem to run out of new ideas as their series evolve, Mr Box seems to get better with the next offering. it's interesting how the family relationships have changed. The girls growing up. The addition of April and the great loss the family suffered when she was wrenched away from them. Nate's influence on first Joe, followed by Sheridan, and then later Marybeth, and of course not forgetting Marybeth's mother.
I've recently started reading Tess Gerritsen's, Rizzoli and Isles books which I can also recommend.
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on 17 July 2014
I read a lot of books and I hardly write reviews because if I did it for all the books I read, I will be doing this for a very long time. I had to write a short one for this.

The best so far. I have all of the Joe Pickett series in order and I have to say this one is the best. I love Nate's character and there is more to it then expressed in the books. I particularly liked this one as Nate plays a bigger role and we get to see some bits of his past. I wish the write will write more about Nate in the future books. I am in awe with Nate....
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on 29 May 2013
I have really enjoyed the eleven previous Joe Pickett Novels - They have an almost Scandinavian feel to them - where there is a deeper social, economic or, in CJ Box's case, often environmental reason behind the human wrongdoings. Generally CJ lets both sides of the arguments speak and in the end Joe Pickett's sense of decency and determination get to the truth wins out and justice is served. The characters are often better nuanced than other thriller writers with both good points and personality flaws. In the earlier books the family were having real problems in the marriage and with the daughters and dealing with them as best they can. It added to the appeal of a different voice from the hardbitten, alcoholic, womanising loser / loner one dimensional anti heroes of so many others. But the series has gradually lost a lot of that subtlety and moved towards a more libertarian simplistic government is bad / incompetent / corrupt ethos (even though Joe works for them).

One of the other flaws in the previous structures was that the excessively violent Nate (a modern day loner / cowboy character) would appear almost out of nowhere and solve problems usually with olympic standard shooting and some Tarantino type violence.

This novel places Nate as the main character and so loses a lot of the emotional complexity and becomes an old fashioned shoot-em-up in the Wyoming Mountains. It compares the work of military special forces to that of a bird of prey doing what it has to do without mercy or conscience, usually out of a misplaced sense of 'Patriotism' In the end we see what happens when that approach goes wrong, but its solution is more of the same with "good" violent rogue "patriots" killing "bad" violent rogue patriots with both sides using torture and summary execution to further their political aims.

In this novel CJ Box has undoubtedly slipped from his usual high standard but it won't stop me reading the next one in the series either.
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on 16 February 2013
Don't ask me how, but every Joe Pickett book that I have read is different.........but the same. The background - modern day western (??) never changes, but the storyline never ceases to amaze me by its variable plot. C J Box has obviously been around a bit. He has such a wealth of experiences to draw upon. Or does he just make it up? I don't know, but every page seems real to me. Definitely one of those "can't put in down" books. They are frightning by their believability. The characters are so finely drawn that you can see them in front of you. Yet there are no discriptions that you are bored with by the time that you get to the end. The pictures that Box draws of the scenery makes you feel as though you have been there. Yes, I like this story and all of the Joe Pickett stories, but don't expect to put it down for a moment until you have read the last chapter!
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