The 14th Joe Pickett novel is quite different from preceding entries in the series. It is less involved with the environment, which, though never completely ignored, one has become accustomed to in plots involving the Wyoming game warden, but filled with action and violence. It begins when the governor enlists Joe to secretly scout what is believed to be a criminal enterprise in the northern part of the state where a rich stranger has set himself up as the lord and master of the area, buying everything in sight up and having virtually the entire population in his figurative debt.
Joe is not supposed to get involved, but merely gather information, setting the stage for the FBI to make a case. Of course, that never keeps Joe from an active role. An added dilemma: Joe’s good friend Nate appears to be involved with the bad guys. A second subsidiary plot line involves Joe’s daughter Sheridan, who is a Resident Assistant at the university residence and provides an offbeat finale.
The action is non-stop, and the inclusion of more of Pickett’s family in the story adds a touch of real human interest. The characters drawn are hard-nosed, and Joe’s sense of righteousness comes across loud and clear. An excellent tale told with verve and clarity.