Hello from [checks map] Illinois! Let’s take a step back to the western portion of the country (and my trip) with this review of Open Season by C.J. Box.

As I wrote in my review of his book Endangered, I am new to his work, and liked that book enough to go back to the beginning. Here we find Joe Pickett as a newly minted game warden in Wyoming. He’s had a run in with a poacher who stole his service weapon, which was embarrassing, but didn’t seem like a career ending event. Then the guy shows ups bleeding (and eventually dead) in Pickett’s backyard.

He was holding an empty cooler, with what appear to be claw marks inside. What could have made those? The mystery of this murder, and those claw marks, intertwine pretty quickly.

And the book was….once again, here we go: aggressively fine! I’m not going to spoil what the creature was, and why it lead to someone being killed, but I learned a lot about the reason why. This book is also close to the plot of the first season of the Joe Pickett TV show, so if you have that on your to-watch list, you may not want to spoil it by reading the book.

Box pokes fun a bit of fun at environmentalists, some of which was deserved, some of which maybe not. But it wasn’t so aggressive that I minded (and I might have, considering I’ve experienced some hostility on this trip for both wearing a mask indoors and also driving a car with a New Jersey license plate. Two women in Sidney, Montana glared at me as I filled my tank. Which is an odd stance considering they live in a former oil boom town that seems to be trying to attract tourists. Anyway!)

I took this picture at Great Basin National Park, after which I drove across Wyoming. Box writes about how difficult it is for game warrens to cover the entire state because of how big it is, and reading this book on breaks from making that long trek really drove that home. I don’t always match my reading to where I am, but I’m glad I did this time.

Nail polish: Hi Barbie! by OPI.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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