Top critical review
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Fine trail chase action makes this novel - 3++
on 31 March 2013
"Breaking Point" is recognizably a C.J. Box work for mostly good reasons. Steadfast protagonist Joe Pickett is front and center through most of the book. The evocation of the Wyoming wilderness and the struggles of mere humans to survive in it, are matchless. And further along that track, one of author Box's classic chase/escape vignettes carries the book to its climax. Regular readers of the Joe Pickett series will rejoice in the splashy removal of one of the admirable fish and game warden's perennial enemies--justice served at last.
What I liked less about "Breaking Point" was the misfire of the author's usual attempt to balance perspectives on issues like the use/preservation of the Western wilderness, gun ownership and use, etc. In this book, which is clearly inspired by a real case of apparent government regulatory abuse, the author takes a very wide swing at all Federal government employees as well as the regulations that they enforce. In my opinion, he goes way overboard on this question. There are too many straw men at work here. And at the same time, Box seems to forget that most of us ordinary citizens' beefs in the U.S. are with local authorities--like Fish and Game Wardens, local cops, meter maids, EMT services, corrupt city council members, etc. To be fair, Box does include a sub-story about a gun fanatic who represents the population segment that believes "that you can never own too many guns". But even with this inclusion, I didn't see any useful addition to the discussion on Second Amendments rights vs. reasonable control to ensure that psychopaths can't get guns.
When all is said and done, C.J. Box (and Joe Pickett) are at their best when on the trail and in service of Wyoming wildlife and the wilderness. The more there is of that kind of action and the less there is of general demonizing of government, the better the books are. Meanwhile, I remain a real fan of this writer and his series and look forward to the next book.