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Shadows Reel (A Joe Pickett Novel)

Shadows Reel (A Joe Pickett Novel) PDF

Author: C. J. Box

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons


Publish Date: March 8, 2022

ISBN-10: 0593331265

Pages: 368

File Type: Epub

Language: English

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Book Preface

Lorne Trumley had called dispatch to report a dead moose on his ranch. Since it was two weeks after the close of moose-hunting season in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, Joe Pickett had responded.

He slowed down and then stopped his green Ford F-150 pickup in front of the closed barbed-wire gate. Engine running, he limped out and approached it, all the while keeping his eye on several Black Angus cattle who had poked their heads out of a seven-foot stand of willows to stare dumbly at him. Even though he was moving slower than usual, Joe was able to open the gate, drive through, and close it again before the spark of a bovine thought—We can run out on the road!—slowly worked its way through the cows’ brains. By the time they’d realize their escape was possible, it would be too late.

He grunted as he dropped the iron loop over the top of the gatepost and levered it closed. Most of the muscles in his body still hurt, and he had stitches in his back and thighs from an encounter with a wolverine.

He wished old Lorne Trumley would replace the ancient wire gate and install a cattle guard at the entrance to his place. It was unlikely, though. Lorne was in his eighties, and like a lot of longtime local ranchers, he only fixed things for good after they’d been repaired so many times there was nothing left of them. And the three-strand gate still worked, sort of.

Joe winced as he pulled himself back into the cab. His Labrador, Daisy, scooted toward him on the front seat and placed her heavy head on his lap, as if offering sympathy for his infirmities.

He patted Daisy’s head and eased down the worn two-track road that would take him to Lorne’s home.

“Thanks, old girl,” he said to her.

As he drove by, the cattle finally leaped to action and charged past him toward the closed gate. Yup, too late.

Lorne Trumley’s Crazy Z-Bar Ranch was a fourth-generation holding spread over lush, unique landscape six miles west of the town of Winchester. It was largely a glacial river bottom, and the north branch of the Twelve Sleep River did a series of lazy S-curves through it, providing a version of a natural irrigation ditch. Trumley raised cattle and grew hay, and because of the river branch there was plenty of water, which was a rarity in the valley. The water sustained thick, tall stands of willow and knotty brush that divided the ranch land as if by windrows. It was a geothermal area as well, with warm-water seeps and heated quicksand that steamed in the winter.

The name of the ranch had nothing to do with the ownership or history of the place. “Crazy Z-Bar” was just a description of the brand used on its cattle: the letter Z tilted forty-five degrees to the left over a single line.

Joe knew from experience that the Crazy Z-Bar was a good place not to get stuck. The first time he’d come out to talk to Trumley about a change in hunting regulations, he’d mired his pickup in quicksand and had to walk the rest of the way to the house. After delivering a lecture about the big-game biologists in Joe’s agency knowing absolutely nothing about anything and any change in the hunting seasons would be foolish as hell, the rancher had followed Joe back to his pickup in a tractor and pulled him out.

It was a cool day and the sky was close. The summits of the Bighorn Mountains were shrouded with cloud cover. Joe looked at the digital temperature display on his dashboard: forty-two degrees.

For Joe, it felt good to go back to work that morning after lolling around his house for too many days. It felt right to him to pull on his red uniform shirt and pin on his badge and j. pickett, game warden nameplate. It even felt right to buckle on his holster and .40 Glock semiauto.

Marybeth had told him a strange story that morning. He pushed it to the back of his mind for now.

While recovering, he’d used part of his time to thoroughly clean out his pickup. He’d done a lot of the things he’d always promised to do when he “had the time.” He’d repaired his equipment and repacked his extra clothing. His weapons were all cleaned and oiled, and the console box of maps, ticket books, notebooks, and agency bulletins had all been organized and replaced. He’d vacuumed Daisy’s dog hair off his bench seat and power-washed the floor mats.

It was as if he were driving a new pickup, he thought. He wondered how long it would last.



Also by C. J. Box

Title Page




Wednesday, November 23

Chapter One: The Moose That Wasn’t

Chapter Two: Joe and the Body

Chapter Three: Bert’s Dog

Chapter Four: Marybeth Pickett

Chapter Five: Marybeth and the Nazis

Chapter Six: László and Viktór

Chapter Seven: Nate Romanowski

Chapter Eight: April Pickett

Chapter Nine: Geronimo Jones

Chapter Ten: Hungarian Hay Hook

Chapter Eleven: Sheridan Pickett

Thursday, November 24

Chapter Twelve: Gargoyle

Chapter Thirteen: The Razor City

Chapter Fourteen: Northwest of Boise

Chapter Fifteen: Wingville

Chapter Sixteen: The Shaman

Chapter Seventeen: Lola Lowry

Chapter Eighteen: Northern Lights

Chapter Nineteen: The Wet Fly

Chapter Twenty: Voilà!

Chapter Twenty-One: The Brothers

Chapter Twenty-Two: Seattle

Chapter Twenty-Three: The Gum Wall

Friday, November 25

Chapter Twenty-Four: The Trap

Chapter Twenty-Five: Kovács Family Secrets

Chapter Twenty-Six: Portland, the Rose City

Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Reckoning


About the Author

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