COLD WIND by C.J. Box

Book Quote:

“When someone hurts a member of your family, no matter what the reason, he’s hurt you by proxy. You go after him and get revenge. People need to know there are consequences for their actions, especially when it comes to our loved ones. That’s the only way to keep some kind of order in the world….”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky  (MAY 08, 2011)

C. J. Box’s Cold Wind is set in a part of Wyoming that is beautifully scenic and, in some ways, untamed. When an enemy threatens one of Box’s characters, the prospective victim does not automatically dial 911. He is more likely to take matters into his own hands. The hero, Joe Pickett, is a game warden and devoted family man who values harmony over conflict. Much to Joe’s displeasure, he is caught up in a web of deceit and violence when his wife’s latest stepfather, “multi-millionaire developer and media mogul, Earl Alden,” is shot dead and found hanging from one of his own windmill turbines. Joe’s mother-in-law, Missy Alden is charged with the crime, and although he has no jurisdiction, Joe undertakes his own unofficial investigation out of obligation to his wife and daughters.

“Joe, I don’t want her found innocent because Marcus Hand ran rings around Lisa in court. I want her found innocent because she didn’t do it. Don’t you understand?  I don’t want this hanging over our girls.  I don’t want it hanging over my head.”

In a parallel plot, Nate Romanowski, a former member of a “rogue branch” of Special Forces, is lying low, since he has bitter enemies who would like his head on a platter. One of them has picked up his trail and is bent on vengeance.

This is an earthy, dryly humorous, and action-packed novel that captures the spirit of the mountainous west. Jumping into the 11th book in the series, the characters sometimes seem like thinly drawn stereotypes.   Missy Alden has been married five times and is a selfish, manipulative, and overbearing harridan; Nate’s lover, Alisha, and Joe’s wife, Marybeth, are sweet and altruistic; two shiftless low-lives, Johnny and Drennen, are overly fond of liquor, meth, and loose women; and Sheriff Kyle McLanahan is less interested in fair play than in getting reelected. Although Joe occasionally bends the rules to achieve his goals, at least he feels guilty about it.

Yet the backstory of the main characters is revealed enough for us to follow their lives and I’m sure for those you have stuck with this series from the beginning, they will welcome learning more about Joe Pickett and his current situation with his mother-in-law. They will also be hoping that Joe and Nate, who have had a falling out from something that happened in the previous novel, can get over it and help each other out with each other’s troubles.

An intriguing theme (hence the title), is the huge amount of money to be made in renewable energy by private entrepreneurs — and how that money is funded by the government.  As the author says in an interview, the face of the west is changing with hundreds of gleaming 250-foot wind turbines is part of the landscape.  He says, “There are those who look at miles of wind towers and see the energy source of the future. Others look at the same sight and see an abomination. Me, I wondered if it was possible to hang a body off one of the blades and what that body would look like after rotating at a hundred miles per hour.” Which is where Joe Pickett finds Earl Alden in the opening chapter of this book. Before his death, Earl Alden invested a small fortune in turbines (“each tower was a hundred feet higher than the Statue of Liberty”) to generate wind power. When Joe and Marybeth look into Alden’s business dealings, they make some surprising discoveries. Like Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, in which the debate on global warming is given an ugly marketing twist; Box’s characters also find a negative side to the wind energy business, and although it may or may not be a motive for murder, it is an interesting look at the whole business.

Cold Wind will appeal to readers who like clearly delineated good guys and bad guys. In Box territory, folks do not pussyfoot around. They settle their differences the old-fashioned way–using knives, guns, or whatever weapon is needed to get the job done. In a politically correct world, there is something bracing about individuals who take a direct approach. If you prefer works of fiction filled with ambiguity, sentiment, and indecisiveness, Box may not be your cup of tea. On the other hand, those who enjoy morality tales with tough-talking hombres will likely find Cold Wind as refreshing as an ice-cold beer on a hot summer’s day.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 78 readers
PUBLISHER: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (March 22, 2011)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK? YES! Start Reading Now!
AUTHOR WEBSITE: C.J. Box
EXTRAS: Excerpt
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May 8, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Sleuths Series, Theme driven, US Northwest, Wild West, y Award Winning Author

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