Review: “Open Season” by C.J. Box


Open Season: The First Joe Pickett Novel by C. J. Box. 323 pages. Putnam Books.

This isn’t the first time that I picked up a book because I watched a movie or TV series. But usually I waited until I was done with the viewing before I turned to the book. In this case, my wife and I ordered the book from Amazon while we were streaming and watching the series Joe Pickett on Paramount Plus. Right up front I will say that both the book and the series have their strengths and their weaknesses, and I will go into those, hopefully without giving too much story away.

To begin with, Joe Pickett is the story of a modern-day game warden who lives with his pregnant wife and two daughters in Wyoming. He is hired into what he considers his dream job, even though he lives in a home that isn’t his, and his entire annual income is $26,000. He’s honest to a T, won’t take bribes or look the other way, and at first gets a reputation as a very unpopular guy in town. Things start getting interesting when a local outfitter takes his gun away, then later ends up dead in Joe’s woodpile in his back yard.

It’s a classic murder mystery, yet is quite unique, mainly because of the main character. The book spends a great deal of time in internal dialogue and you get to know Joe quite well. On the other hand, the series expands stories about secondary characters and brings them into the story more. The series diverges from the original storyline by the time we get to the end of the book quite a bit, but both are good. I actually preferred the TV series, mainly because I liked what they did with the other characters and with the actor who played Joe.

If there was anything I could complain about in the book, I would say that it could have been fleshed out more. You see more description of people and the area on the series, but of course, you lose their inner thoughts. The book won several awards.

This book is the first of sixteen books on Joe Pickett, but I don’t think I will continue the series. The author’s writing was good, but not great.

I give it four stars out of five.