Force of Nature

[Amazon Link]

Another compulsive page turner from C.J. Box. It's not a guilty pleasure, but a proud one: Mr. Box is a very fine writer.

The book starts out with a humorous, but also gruesome, discovery: an inept fly fisherman (who got into the sport to meet girls, with no success) is casting in the Twelve Sleep River, when a seemingly abandoned drift boat floats down toward him. He manages to stop it, only to find three very dead bodies and a lot of blood.

We back up to discover the cause: Joe Pickett's friend, Nate Romanowski, acting in self-defense. We know from reading the previous book in the series (and I suggest that people read the series in order) that Nate has been hiding out from a shadowy group of assassins who want to kill him, and also just about anyone who knows him. Their lethal ruthlessness is demonstrated throughout.

Why? Well, we find out along the way, also with revelations about Nate's back story. (An Air Force Academy cadet? Hm, did not see that coming.)

This is billed on the cover as a "Joe Pickett Novel", and Joe's a major presence here, but I'm not sure that Nate's exploits don't get more pages. That's OK. Joe is torn three ways: between his loyalty to his friend, his desire to stay on the right side of the law, and the safety of his family. His course here is as perilous as Nate's, in its own way.