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review 2019-03-21 11:04
"Trophy Hunt - Joe Pickett #4" by C. J. Box
Trophy Hunt - C.J. Box
The truth is out there but the doggedly pragmatic Joe Pickett is struggling to find it.

I returned for my fourth visit with Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett to find that he's has gone all Mulder and Scully on me. Within the first few pages mutilated animals possibly dropped from the sky.  From there, things got weirder and bloodier, with people being added to the casualties.

 

Still, I was visiting with Joe Pickett so at least I knew I'll have an explanation by the end of the book that doesn't include alien probes in uncomfortable places.

 

C. J. Box's novels are a comfort read for me. I love his ability to take me to the wilds of Wyoming and feel like I'm there and seeing it through the eyes of someone who loves and understands it. I also like meeting up again with the ensemble cast of good guys, not-so-good guys, weird guys and strong women, centred around Joe, his wife and his two young daughters. As the books progress there people and the relationships between them have grown in believable non-soap-opera ways.

 

"Trophy Hunt" has a rich mix of land-grabbing realtors, energy companies competing for mineral rights, cattle mutilations, crop circles and uninvited UFO experts. Joe is reluctantly in the middle of everything by virtue of having found the first mutilation, knowing many of the players, distrusting the sheriff and being nominated by his boss to take part in a Task Force.

 

The Task Force opens part two of this slightly-darker-than-usual mystery with this speech:

“GENTLEMEN,” COUNTY ATTORNEY Robey Hersig said, “let’s convene the first-ever strategy meeting of the newly formed Northern Wyoming Murder and Mutilations Task Force.”

Sheriff Barnum said, “Jesus, I hate that name.”

This manages to get across the pomposity of big-boys playing you're-in-MY-gang-now, the gallows humour needed to survive dealing daily with the atrocious and how people who've been there too many times before react in reality.

 

I liked the tension in this book and the development of Joe's wife as a key actor in the story. The plot was complicated without becoming labyrinthine. The violence was graphic but mostly off-stage and the whole thing was dappled with humour and great scenery.

Joe is the rock around which this river of chaos flows. Sometimes I felt like I wanted him to be a little less static but then I recognised he'd stop being Joe. I love his dogged pragmatism. Watching him examine and discredit an alleged crop circle was a delight.

 

My only dissatisfaction was that the resolution was a little too dependent on crazy people doing crazy things and with even Joe Pickett being not so much open-minded as having had his mind wedged ajar by the unexplained.
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text 2019-03-03 14:43
Reading progress update: I've read 60%. - I'm impressed
A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn

I'm 60% through and I'm deeply impressed by Raybourn's ability to sustain a playfully humorous tone while still developing her main characters into real(ish) people and unrolling the plot of the mystery at an effective pace. It's really quite masterful.

 

The result is a refreshing and entertaining read, which I am much in need of.

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text 2019-03-02 10:38
Reading progress update: I've read 40%. what a splendid idea - and a question about our heroine's name.
A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn

I've just learned of Veronica Speedwell's addiction to the adventures of Arcadia Brown, Lady Detective.

 

What a wonderful idea, it fills out Veronica's character, provides an in-joke for readers and makes Stoker seem boorish (if still eye-catching) by his I-don't-read-low-fiction snobbish response.

 

I look forward to hearing Veronica's first shout of "Excelsior!"

 

I am a little puzzled as to why Stoke found the name Veronica so unusual.

 

I was raised as a Catholic and Veronica was a well-known name, if not often chosen. She's completely absent from the Gospels but appears in the Stations of the Cross where she wipes the face of Christ as he carried the cross to Calvary and was left with a perfect impression of his face on the cloth. The cloth became a great Relic of the Church.

 

Would Stoke not have known of this because he wasn't Catholic?

 

Did Raybourne pick the name because it comes from a Saint who is probably a fiction and a major source of revenue?

 

 

 

 

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text 2019-02-28 09:11
Reading progress update: I've read 28%.- gallows humour -sort of
Trophy Hunt - C.J. Box

This is a splendid way to open Part II of a slightly dark mystery

 

“GENTLEMEN,” COUNTY ATTORNEY Robey Hersig said, “let’s convene the first-ever strategy meeting of the newly formed Northern Wyoming Murder and Mutilations Task Force.”

 

Sheriff Barnum said, “Jesus, I hate that name.”

 

It manages to get across the pomposity of big-boys playing you're-in-MY-gang-now, the gallows humour needed to survive dealing daily with the atrocious and how people who've been there too many times before are likely to react.

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text 2019-02-27 20:48
Reading progress update: I've read 19%.
A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn

Sam Goldwyn is alleged to have said, "What we need now is some fresh clichés".

 

That's what this book is achieving.

 

It's a boys-own-adventure where the adventurer is a young woman with a self-confidence and knowledge of the world that would make Holmes look shy and make Watson blush. This simple inversion, combined with a cute-meet involving taxidermy, a hero who provides eye-candy as well as competence and a few set pieces where our heroine bedazzles the soon-to-be-but-not-quite-yet hero with her knowledge, wit and sheet impertinence make this very entertaining.

 

I think Sam Goldwyn would have bought the film rights on the spot although I'd rather see it done by RKO with Howard Hughes directing.

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