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by C.J. Box
G.P. Putnam's Sons, March 2022
368 pages
ISBN: 0593331265

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

SHADOWS REEL is the twenty-second novel in the Joe Pickett series, featuring this much-loved Wyoming game warden, his family, his friends, and the beautiful high country where he lives and works. Joe is called to investigate what a local rancher thinks is a burnt moose on his property. When Joe gets close, he realizes that it is the charred corpse of a man, not an animal. The man turns out to be Bert Kizer, a local fishing guide. When the police go to Bert's home, they discover a scene of torture and murder. Why would someone attack an old man who had little money or goods? What were the murderers hoping to get from him?

Meanwhile, Joe's wife Marybeth, the director of the local Saddlestring library, has a mystery of her own. Coming in early to work that morning, she sees an old man drop off a parcel at the library door. When she carefully opens it, she discovers a photo album from WWII. It is a Nazi album, belonging to a prominent Nazi and filled with photos of him and other leaders of that horrific group, including Hitler. Where did this come from? Who left it and why? Marybeth looks through the album and is greatly disturbed by the images. She brings it home and family members are equally upset by it.

Meanwhile, their good friend Nate Romanowski, a uniquely odd and powerful character who has been a steadfast helper for Joe and the family, is away searching for the amoral person who assaulted his wife, terrorized his child, and stole his precious group of trained falcons. On his way, he encounters street protests and urban terrorism. Because Nate is away on his search, Joe must face his difficult investigation without his friend's help. Joe never wants to be involved in crime-solving, but circumstances always seem to draw him in. We follow both the unfolding of Joe's situation and Nate's frantic and dangerous road trip to get revenge and retrieve his priceless birds.

We also meet two desperately crazed brothers who have traveled to Wyoming from Hungary and are strangely obsessed with obtaining the photo album. Why do they want it? How did they even know of its existence? Our questions are answered by the book's end, but not before suspense builds and people's lives are in jeopardy. Nothing is easy to guess but the complex answers are satisfying in SHADOWS REEL, this spell-binding new addition to the Joe Pickett series.

Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, February 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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