Review: Open Season, by C.J. Box


Esta entrada es bilingüe para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition, May 2002 (G.P. Putman’s Son hardcover edition, July 2001). 278 pages. ISBN: 978-0-425-18546-9.

Open Season is the first in a series featuring Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett. The story is set in the fictional Twelve Sleep County in Wyoming. Game wardens, as we can read on C.J. Box webpage, “are trained and armed law enforcement officers, and nearly every human they encounter in the field is armed, which is unique. Often, they’re too far from town to call backup in an emergency so they’re forced to deal with situations with their experience, weapons, and wits. Their districts can encompass 5,000 square miles of rough country filled with wildlife, history, schemes, and secrets.

Ote Keeley is a local hunting guide. One day, while Pickett is writing him a citation for hunting off-season, he takes away Pickett’s pistol. The incident ends with their mutual agreement to keep it quiet. But word spreads and Pickett receives a reprimand that will stay forever in his file. The investigation remains open. Meanwhile Keeley’s trial date for poaching is set within two weeks but the trial will not be held. Keeley is found dead next to a woodpile in Pickett’s backyard. He has been  murdered. Nearby, a plastic cooler is found empty with remains of fur and droppings inside. Pickett suspects that Keeley was carrying some kind of animal in the cooler. The investigation into the death of the poacher and the identity of the missing animal will jeopardise Pickett’s life and the lives of his loved ones.

I very much enjoyed reading this book that has made me feel like a child again. The story seemed to me a kind of western. Joe Pickett is certainly a character that could have been played by Henry Fonda, or Jimmy Stewart. A nice guy who wants to do the right thing in spite of his blunders. The plot is well developed and the setting is fantastic, especially if you love living outdoors. I have to thank Maxine for her excellent reviews that have encouraged me to read this series. To be continued.

My rating: 4 out of 5.

Charles James Box, Jr. is a native of Wyoming and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he co-owns an international tourism marketing firm with his wife, Laurie. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Box lives outside of Cheyenne with his wife Laurie, and daughters, Molly, Becky and Roxanne. His Joe Pickett Series has twelve novels. The first in this series, Open Season, was included in the New York Times list of “Notable Books” of 2001. For Open Season, he won the Anthony Award, the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, and the Barry Award, all in the Best First Novel category. He also has written several stand-alone novels. 

Open Season has been reviewed by Maxine at Petrona, Bernadette at Reactions to Readings, Rob at The View from the Blue House, and Gerard Brennan at Crime Scene NI among others.


Open Season de C.J. Box

Open Season (Temporada de caza) es el primer libro de una serie protagonizada por el guarda de caza de Wyoming Joe Pickett. La historia se desarrolla en un condado ficticio de Wyoming llamado Twelve Sleep. Los guardas de caza, como podemos leer en la página web de C.J. Box “son agentes de la ley especialmente entrenados y armados. Casi todos los seres humanos que se van a encontrar estarán armados, lo que representa un caso único. A menudo, estarán muy lejos de la ciudad para poder solicitar ayuda en caso de emergencia por lo que estarán obligados a hacer frente a cualquier situación sólo con su experiencia, con sus armas, y con su ingenio. El área que cubren puede abarcar 5.000 millas cuadradas de terreno accidentado lleno de vida salvaje, historias, maquinaciones y secretos.

Ote Keeley es un guía de caza local. Un día, mientras Pickett le está poniendo una denuncia por cazar fuera de temporada, le quita la pistola a Pickett. El incidente termina con el mutuo acuerdo de mantenerlo en secreto. Pero se corre la voz y Pickett recibe una amonestación que quedará para siempre en su expediente. La investigación sigue abierta. Mientras tanto, la fecha del juicio de Keeley por furtivo se fija para dentro de dos semanas, pero el juicio no se celebrará. Keeley es encontrado muerto junto a un montón de leña en el patio trasero de la casa de Pickett. Ha sido asesinado. Cerca de allí, se encuentra vacía una nevera de plástico con restos de piel y de excrementos en su interior. Pickett sospecha que Keeley llevaba algún tipo de animal en la nevera. La investigación sobre la muerte del cazador furtivo y la identificación del animal desparecido pondrá en peligro la vida de Pickett y las vidas de sus seres queridos.

Disfruté mucho la lectura de este libro que me ha hecho sentirme como un niño otra vez. La historia me ha parecido una película del oeste. Joe Pickett es sin duda un personaje que podría haber sido interpretado por Henry Fonda, o por Jimmy Stewart. Un buen tipo que quiere hacer lo correcto a pesar de sus meteduras de pata. La trama está bien desarrollada y el entorno es fantástico, especialmente si te gusta vivir al aire libre. Tengo que agradecer a Maxine por sus excelentes críticas que me han animado a leer esta serie. Continuará.

Mi valoración: 4 sobre 5.

Charles James Box, Jr. es un nativo de Wyoming y ha sido mano de obra en un rancho, capataz, guía de pesca, periodista en el periódico de un pueblo pequeño y editor. Junto con su mujer Laurie es co-propietario de una empresa de marketing turístico internacional. Un entusiasta de la vida al aire libre ha cazado, pescado, explorado a pie, montado a caballo y esquiado por todo Wyoming y por las Mountain West. Es miembro de la Junta Directiva del Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. Box vive a las afueras de Cheyenne con su mujer Laurie y sus hijas, Molly, Becky y Roxanne. Su serie protagonizada por Joe Pickett cuenta con doce novelas hasta la fecha. La primera de esta serie, Open Season, fue incluida en la lista del New York Times de los libros más destacados del año 2001. Por Open Season recibió los premios Anthony, Macavity, Gumshoe, y Barry, todos en la categoría a la mejor novela novel. También ha escrito varias novelas independientes.

9 thoughts on “Review: Open Season, by C.J. Box

  1. José Ignacio. – Thanks for an excellent review of a fine first novel. I really like the Joe Pickett series very much, most especially for the characters of PIckett and his family members. They are ordinary, everyday people whom we care about, and they are, in my opinion, quite well-drawn. And yes, Box has a real feel for setting. The Wyoming setting is breathtaking and it adds to the stories in its ruggedness and (sometimes) dangers I think. So glad you liked this novel.

  2. Jose Ignacio: I enjoyed the book. I thought it was a good example of a book making excellent use of the setting. The third in the series is on my TBR pile.

  3. So glad you liked this book, Jose Ignacio. There is something really appealing and attractive about this series, which is quite hard to put one’s finger on. They are rather like the old westerns, as you write, I agree. I think the domestic/family details (which are developed as the series continues) give them a bit more depth, also.

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