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'Winterkill' by C.J. Box

Mystery goes from dark to darker

Sunday, June 08, 2003

By Pohla Smith, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The third in the series starring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is compelling but will be tough on the tender-hearted.


By C.J. Box

Putnam ($23.95)


It starts with the illegal slaughter of a half-dozen elk, gets meaner immediately and never eases up the rest of the way.

Pickett finds that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management employee who shot the elk has been murdered, pinioned to a tree by arrows.

The discovery brings in federal officials who are supposed to solve the murder, but they only make more trouble, especially when a group of antigovernment types, calling themselves the Sovereigns, roll into town and set up camp.

Ghosts of Ruby Ridge and Waco haunt Pickett and his new friend, former Special Forces man Nate Romanowski.

One of the Sovereigns is the birth mother of Pickett's foster daughter, April. The woman kidnaps April and starts court action to regain custody, but meanwhile she puts the child in the midst of all the trouble brewing amid crippling snowstorms.

There is no happy ending to this mystery, but there is justice.

Pohla Smith can be reached at psmith@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1228.

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