C. J. Box

Off the Grid

"...heart-pumping stuff..."


Falconer Nate Romanowski, friend of Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden, is 'off the grid' - he's recovering from gunshot wounds and lying low while the FBI search for him because of his past crimes. However, he is tracked down and confronted by two mysterious agents who want him to assess a possible terrorist threat which is hatching in the Red Desert in south/central Wyoming. They promise that his criminal record will disappear if he agrees to cooperate, and though Nate doesn't trust them, he feels he has no option but to acquiesce.

Joe, meanwhile, has been contacted by Wyoming's State Governor, Spenser Rulon, who wants him to investigate what appears to be unusual criminal and FBI activity within the Red Desert. Joe and Nate inevitably meet, and discover they are investigating the same activities.

What they discover is both frightening and perplexing, with nothing as it seems. Certainly, there is a terrorist cell operating which has one goal in mind, and which goes in for casual murder, bloodshed and lying as legitimate weapons. But how is Mohammed Ibraheem ('Ibby') and Suzy Gudenkauf, plus their acolytes, mixed up in it? Are they goodies or a baddies? What about Ghazi Saeed and his henchmen?

And how will Joe handle the situation, knowing that his daughter Sheridan is one of Ibby's acolytes?

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This is C. J. Box's sixteenth Joe Pickett novel, and it's as slick and page-turning as all the others. Box is a superb writer, and knows how to put together a roller coaster ride of a story that puts you on the edge of your seat. Joe Pickett is believable, as he is not a super-hero, but a family man with a job to do, which he does to the best of his ability. Nate, for all his faults, is the perfect foil, and the two gel. Not a word is wasted in this book, though Box does go in for describing in great detail the firearms he uses in his job - something which may not appeal to UK readers who know nothing about guns. But to me, this adds to the authenticity of the story, even if I too have no great interest in firearms and what they can do. Box knows how to tell a story - holding back when he has to and going full-pelt in the action scenes. It is heart-pumping stuff at times, and the denouement is spell-binding.

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