Friday, July 22, 2011

A Review of "Cold Wind" [46]

Cold Wind by C.J.Box
Putnam Adult, ISBN 978-0399157356
March 22, 2011, 400 pages

Joe was out on a routine patrol, watching that area fisherman and hunters were following the rules that it is his job to enforce. As he approaches the edge of his millionaire father-in-law Earl Alden property, he can't help but see...and hear..the massive turbines of the wind farm being built there. But something is wrong with one, that is not rotating in sync with the others. Something seems to be hanging from the blades. As he get s closer, he see it is a body, the body of Alden himself, horribly bloated from the centrifugal force. Even if he was not the nicest man, it seems a particularly horrible way to die. It seems someone really, really hated the man.

Yes, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett dislikes his mother-in-law Missy, but he loves his wife a great deal. So when Missy is accused of killing her latest husband..she has traded up several times...and police seem uninterested in looking into any other explanation of the crime, Joe steps up to look into things. And steps right into a hornets nest full of angry neighbors, millions of dollars and very personal, very angry, long term feuds.

Then, we have the ongoing story of Joe's Nate Romanowski, a man with a lot of his own enemies in his past, including the wife of a man he killed. Sure, he was justified, but not in her eyes, and she has come from Chicago to seek her revenge. Let's just say it might be smart to keep your distance from Nate until that works out, which it will, beginning with an explosive attempt to take him out. An attempt that will cost Nate dearly.

I have read a couple of books in this series before and I think this is a pretty solid entry in the group. It has some strengths..and it has a few weaknesses.
The mystery itself was quite good, with some interesting twist and turns, an accused that it is hard to like and an lawyer that is a bit over the top but always interesting when he appears. And happily, I did not figure it  out this time. You might think you did...until that last twist comes along!

Another plus is the setting in Wyoming, a place that clearly the author loves. Maybe not the place I would want to live, but  the author does a great job in making it come alive for the reader. One of the biggest strengths of the book, without question, are the characters of Joe and Nate. Nate's story is secondary in this book, but to me, perhaps it was the more interesting of the two this time around. And while Joe and his wife, and even the distasteful Missy are great characters, I am not sure they are quite great enough to keep me totally interested as the book lapsed into long and complicated discussions about the political and finances of wind energy. Yes, I am sure it is an important issues, here along the coast where I live as well as in the great open spaces of the West, but I think the reader can't help but think we are receiving a bit of a lecture along with our murder mystery. I don't mind the author trying to give a certain point of view about a timely issues, but here the sell was a bit too hard for my taste.

Fans of the series will no doubt enjoy this installment, but for someone who might be considering starting the
Joe Pickett series, you may not want to start with this on.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a ARC of this book.


  1. Those wind turbines scare the hell out of me. Close up, they are huge and almost demonic! Imagining a body hanging from one would just send me right over the edge! Sounds like an entertaining but not outstanding series?

  2. I've heard a lot about Box's books and will try to remember not to start with this one.

  3. Definitely with you on the lecturing aspects of this book. But I liked Joe and Nate also.

  4. Most people don't read mysteries to be lectured. I know I don't. As you say wind energy is an important issue; one I wish this country would take more seriously but I don't want to hear the pros and cons about it in a mystery book. I think my eyes would start to glaze over at those parts.


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