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Long Range
Cover of Long Range
Long Range
Joe Pickett Series, Book 20
by C. J. Box
"Impressive precision and heart-gripping suspense....Good characters, an extra good story, and great scenes of life and death in the wilderness"—New York Times Book Review
Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must investigate an attempted murder—a crime committed from a confoundingly long distance—in the riveting new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author C. J. Box.

When Joe Pickett is asked to join the rescue efforts for the victim of a startling grizzly attack, he reluctantly leaves his district behind. One survivor of the grizzly's rampage tells a bizarre story, but just as Joe begins to suspect the attack is not what it seems, he is brought home by an emergency on his own turf. Someone has targeted a prominent local judge, shooting at him from a seemingly impossible distance. While the judge was not hit, his wife is severely wounded, and it is up to Joe to find answers—and the shooter.
The search for the would-be assassin becomes personal when Joe's best friend, Nate Romanowski —just as he's adjusting to the arrival of his first child—falls under suspicion for the crime. It's a race against the clock as Joe tries to clear Nate's name and identify the real shooter, all while deciphering the grizzly encounter. Beset by threats both man-made and natural, the two men must go to great lengths to keep their loved ones safe.
"Impressive precision and heart-gripping suspense....Good characters, an extra good story, and great scenes of life and death in the wilderness"—New York Times Book Review
Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must investigate an attempted murder—a crime committed from a confoundingly long distance—in the riveting new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author C. J. Box.

When Joe Pickett is asked to join the rescue efforts for the victim of a startling grizzly attack, he reluctantly leaves his district behind. One survivor of the grizzly's rampage tells a bizarre story, but just as Joe begins to suspect the attack is not what it seems, he is brought home by an emergency on his own turf. Someone has targeted a prominent local judge, shooting at him from a seemingly impossible distance. While the judge was not hit, his wife is severely wounded, and it is up to Joe to find answers—and the shooter.
The search for the would-be assassin becomes personal when Joe's best friend, Nate Romanowski —just as he's adjusting to the arrival of his first child—falls under suspicion for the crime. It's a race against the clock as Joe tries to clear Nate's name and identify the real shooter, all while deciphering the grizzly encounter. Beset by threats both man-made and natural, the two men must go to great lengths to keep their loved ones safe.
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  • From the book

    One

    The sleek golden projectile exploded into the thin mountain air at eight thousand feet per second. It was long and heavy with a precise pointed tip and a boat-tail design tapering from the back shank, and it twisted at over three hundred and fifty thousand rotations per minute.

    Designed by ballistic engineers and weighing one hundred and eighty grains, or slightly less than half an ounce, the bullet was entirely jacketed by a smooth gilding of ninety-five percent copper and five percent zinc, with a wall-thickness variation of near zero. The pointed red ballistic tip of the nose also served as a heat shield. The projectile was engineered to withstand the extreme aerodynamic heating effects produced by the speed of its trajectory.

    Inside the jacketed round was a soft lead core. Upon impact and deep penetration, the ballistic tip would drive backward into the lead core and expand the projectile into a mushroom shape in order to create a large wound cavity.

    It sliced through the windless evening in absolute silence. But far behind it, two distinct sounds rang out: the report of the shot itself and the sharp crack in the air as the bullet broke the sound barrier.

    The rocky rise and the sagebrush-encrusted foothills of the Bighorn Mountains receded from view until they blended into the layered landscape.

    One second.

    The crowns of river cottonwood trees passed far below, as did the lazy S-curves of the Twelve Sleep River. Two distant drift boats hugged the eastern bank as fishers cast to deep pools and holes darker in color than the rest of the river. As if in bas-relief, fishing guides manned the oars and pointed out rising trout for their clients.

    Below, a V of geese held in a frozen pattern over the river as they glided toward a field to the south. Above, a red-tailed hawk hovered motionless in a thermal current as it scoured the landscape for rabbits and gophers.

    One point five seconds.

    A cow moose and her two calves pushed through the willows without stealth or grace to splash into the river ahead, out of view of the angling boats. A river otter slipped into the current without a ripple. Bald eagles on dead branches studied the current below them and didn't look up as the bullet zipped by hundreds of feet above.

    The cow moose flinched and raised her head at the sound of the crack.

    Two seconds.

    An ocher spoor of dust trailed a combine equipped to gather up large round hay bales in an irrigated field on the other side of the river. The dust was infused with the last blast of sunlight from the summit of the western mountains and the combine produced an outsized impression on the bronze terrain.

    The backs of Black Angus cattle covered the pasture like cartoon balloons, each animal tethered to its own long shadow.

    The red roof of a barn shot by below, and ravens circled the fresh kill of a jackrabbit hit by a motorist on a black ribbon of highway.

    Two point five seconds.

    Almost imperceptibly, the bullet began to drop and slow and drift slightly to the left, a motion called the aerodynamic jump. Because it was flying east to west through the air, its course was altered slightly by the gravitational force of the rotation of the earth known as the Eštvšs effect.

    The fourteenth and fifteenth fairways of a golf course scrolled by below, the turf freckled with the gold leaves of fall. A small herd of mule deer grazed on the grass near the clubhouse, unaware that interlopers-white-tailed deer from outside the area-were...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 27, 2020
    In Edgar winner Box’s terrific 20th novel featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett (after 2019’s Wolf Pack), a retired FBI agent warns Joe’s longtime falconer friend, Nate Romanowski, that the Mexican drug cartel whose four assassins Nate helped take down in Wolf Pack have marked Nate as a target for revenge. The cartel has dispatched Orlando Panfile, an expert marksman, to do the job. Meanwhile, someone takes a long-range shot at ill-tempered Judge Hewitt in his home that hits Hewitt’s wife, leaving her in critical condition. Could it be Panfile? Joe is asked to join the investigation by the new county sheriff, Brendan Kapelow, who eventually becomes convinced that Nate is responsible for the shooting. Kapelow arrests Nate for attempted murder when a long-range rifle is discovered hidden in one of his falcon pens. Of course, Joe isn’t buying it, and conducts his own unauthorized investigation to help clear Nate. But why does Panfile mount an effort to have Nate freed? Clever plotting keeps this conspiracy yarn moving briskly, and the scenes depicting Nate’s abuse while in prison are harrowing. This is another top-flight crime yarn illustrating why Box’s readers are never happier than when Joe and Nate have reason to “get western.” Author tour. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2020
    Once again, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett gets mixed up in a killing whose principal suspect is his old friend Nate Romanowski, whose attempts to live off the grid keep breaking down in a series of felony charges. If Judge Hewitt hadn't bent over to pick up a spoon that had fallen from his dinner table, the sniper set up nearly a mile from his house in the gated community of the Eagle Mountain Club would have ended his life. As it was, the victim was Sue Hewitt, leaving the judge alive and free to rail and threaten anyone he suspected of the shooting. Incoming Twelve Sleep County Sheriff Brendan Kapelow's interest in using the case to promote his political ambitions and the judge's inability to see further than his nose make them the perfect targets for a frame-up of Nate, who just wants to be left alone in the middle of nowhere to train his falcons and help his bride, Liv Brannon, raise their baby, Kestrel. Nor are the sniper, the sheriff, and the judge Nate's only enemies. Orlando Panfile has been sent to Wyoming by the Sinaloan drug cartel to avenge the deaths of the four assassins whose careers Nate and Joe ended last time out (Wolf Pack, 2019). So it's up to Joe, with some timely data from his librarian wife, Marybeth, to hire a lawyer for Nate, make sure he doesn't bust out of jail before his trial, identify the real sniper, who continues to take an active role in the proceedings, and somehow protect him from a killer who regards Nate's arrest as an unwelcome complication. That's quite a tall order for someone who can't shoot straight, who keeps wrecking his state-issued vehicles, and whose appalling mother-in-law, Missy Vankeuren Hand, has returned from her latest European jaunt to suck up all the oxygen in Twelve Sleep County to hustle some illegal drugs for her cancer-stricken sixth husband. But fans of this outstanding series will know better than to place their money against Joe. One protest from an outraged innocent says it all: "This is America. This is Wyoming."

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2020
    After 19 hot-selling novels featuring low-key Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, Box has secured his reputation as an author who can take this increasingly popular genre?the modern western?and make it do whatever he wants. Here Joe starts out in his usual just-folks Gary Cooper way, the country boy explaining things to the bonehead cop. He's about to look into a fatal bear mauling that maybe isn't what it seems when the twenty-first century asserts itself with a sophisticated attack using high-tech weaponry on a hard-line judge. Joe seeks advice from his old friend Nate, whose shadowy past includes government wet work. Nate is having his own problems as killers from his past emerge. Suddenly we've put the bears on hold and find ourselves deep in secret-agent territory. Box handles it all with a clear, easy style that plays nicely against the pulse-pounding tension. Box remains the gold standard among writers of modern western-mystery blends, but, for some other fine practitioners, see the adjacent read-alike column.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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C. J. Box
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