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Dark Sky (Joe Pickett, 21) Audio CD – CD, March 2, 2021
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The governor of Wyoming gives Joe the thankless assignment of taking a tech baron on an elk hunting trip. Unbeknownst to them, as they trek further into the wilderness, a manhunter is hot on their heels. Finding himself without a weapon, a horse, or a way to communicate, Joe must rely on his wits and his knowledge of the outdoors to protect himself and his charge. Meanwhile, when Joe’s closest friend Nate Romanowski and his own daughter Sheridan learn of the threat to his life, they follow him into the woods to try and rescue him before it’s too late.
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About the Author
- Publisher : Recorded Books, Inc.; Unabridged edition (March 2, 2021)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1705006728
- ISBN-13 : 978-1705006726
- Item Weight : 7.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 6 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #500,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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After reading it I was sure that there would be a review by someone saying that they wouldn’t read it because the the Republican Governor was portrayed as a schemer and not so nice guy. And yes there was already one such review. The reviewer has missed a really good book by being offended by the description of one character.
There are many issues that are relevant in our society that are woven deftly in to this story. The good and bad of social media, hunting, gun rights, bullying, suicide, revenge, and people who commit evil acts as well as those who do the right thing regardless. It actually made me think about the amount of time I spend on social media. It is far too easy for people to bully and harass others safely behind a computer screen. And social media has contributed to the polarization of our society in many ways.
Don’t let a few pages stop you from reading a really good book. To me, a really good book not only entertains it makes one think. This book does that from all “sides.”
DARK SKY is a novel that feels ... tired. And not just because Box seems to have gone once too often one of his favorite plot tropes: pairing Joe Pickett with a doofus or a dilettante in the Wyoming mountain wilderness, isolated, under-equipped and on the run from killers. This time, Joe is the unwitting, unwilling companion of Steve "Steve-2" Price, a Silicon Valley social-media mogul who comes across as something of a cross between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Joe is assigned to be Price's wilderness guide when hunting and cutting his own meat because Steve-2's latest obsession with authenticity. Little do they know that Price is being targeted by a trio of men bent on revenge because a family member of theirs was shamed into suicide by Price's Facebook-like social-media app, ConFab.
Price isn't uninteresting, and neither are the killers, or some other characters who turn out to hidden agendas where Steve-2 is concerned. But if you've read all the Pickett books — this is his twenty-first outing — you've read this story a few times before. And beyond that, Joe doesn't really have any interesting thoughts or observations about the world Steve-2 represents, and because Steve-2 is quite a loquacious fellow, Joe all but disappears under the weight of his guest star. There's some hammy sermonizing, pro and con, about the goods and the evils of social media, but nothing that passes for piercing insight beyond the drunk-at-the-end-of-the-bar level. Even Joe's signature line — "Things are about to get real Western here"— feels like it's being delivered as an obligation, like a band that has to play its biggest hit before its fans will allow it to leave the stage.
It makes me wonder if Joe is all done growing as a character, because he doesn't grow an inch in DARK SKY.
Really, none of Box's stock company registers to much effect here. Nate Romanowski does his Nate thing, tearing off ears and being tortured by his dark past, yadda yadda. Marybeth Pickett provides alarm and assistance in equal measure. We briefly meet Twelve Sleep County's new prosecuting attorney and sheriff. Daughters Lucy and April are AWOL. Same with Joe's evil mother-in-law, usually the most interesting character in a Pickett novel.
Far from AWOL is Sheridan Pickett. Joe's eldest daughter seems to be a full-fledged adult here, living on her own, finding her own code, happily apprenticed to Nate as a falconer in training. In fact, she's grown so much that she seems to be straining at the boundaries Box has put on her, still treated to some degree like the little girl who still needs protecting by men from men, and one gets the feeling that she's outgrown that role and then some. Her father seems to be grappling with that a bit himself during a moment of mortal, climactic danger: "The rider was Sheridan, her hat flying off her head and her hair streaming behind her as she rode. To Joe, she looked like a younger, faster, female version of John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn in TRUE GRIT."
The ending of DARK SKY has me wondering if maybe, just maybe, Joe Pickett's ready to hang up his game warden's badge. And if Box is ready to hang up Joe Pickett as a lead character, and maybe, just maybe, hand over the reins to Sheridan Pickett. If so, I hope so. Her voice, her youth, her gender — in manly-man, Republican country, no less — feels ready to step in and take over, and for many reasons, the time feels right. If nothing else, Joe Pickett has earned his emeritus-hero status.
Adventure is forthcoming — but not the right kind. The weather is bitter cold. And while Price hunts elk, a family of murderous locals hunts him. As Joe attempts to get himself and Price off the mountain without food or weapons — betrayals abound, bullets fly, knives flash, and bodies pile up. I was riveted. I devoured Dark Sky in one day and night.
Joe’s falconer friend, Nate Romanowski, also plays a role in the plot, so the reader can expect some satisfying violence on the side of good. (Can I say that?) Anyway, Joe Pickett’s latest impossible mission is a thrilling tale of wilderness survival. Conversations between Joe and his arrogant and rather naive charge are always interesting and often amusing.
C. J. Box has delivered another superlative Joe Pickett novel. The laconic, trouble-prone, oddly resourceful game warden is aging — but never grows old.