Stone Cold

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The 2014 copyright on this book tells me I'm a mere 4 years behind on my C.J. Box reading. I'll catch up before I die. I hope.

It's a Joe Pickett book, with a strong appearance from plays-by-his-own-rules Nate Romanowski. Nate has fallen in with an (um) interesting gig: he's seemingly on assignment as a freelance vigilante, bringing rough justice to bad people the ordinary system hasn't been able to punish.

Meanwhile, Joe is up in the mountains with Dave "Comic Relief" Farkus, trying to retrieve a Wyoming Game and Fish pickup left stranded near a mountaintop in a previous book. When, out of the blue, he's called in to meet with colorful Wyoming Governor Rulon. (He's the kind of governor you wish your state had.) Joe's back on secret-agent duty, looking to investigate some weird, possibly nefarious, goings on in remote (and fortunately fictional) Medicine Hat County. Specifically, there's this guy, Wolfgang Templeton, that might be up to no good.

Keep a low profile, Joe is advised. Stick with your cover story, just observe what's going on. And, oh yeah, the last guy sent up there died in an "accidental fire".

Needless to say, Joe doesn't keep a low profile. And finds himself in deep doo-doo. Fortunately, Joe has learned a lot about survival among desperate people over the years.

Meanwhile, Joe's daughter, Sheridan, is an RA at her University of Wyoming dorm. And one of the students in her charge is exhibiting strange behavior. As if his high school yearbook picture had "Most Likely to Be a Mass Shooter" caption. That's also suspenseful.