"Vicious Circle" (G.P. Putnam's Sons), by C.J. Box
Decisions that Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett has made to protect his family come back to haunt him in "Vicious Circle," a stellar installment in C.J. Box's ongoing series.
As the count of stories featuring Pickett and his family grow, so do their lives. All of the children are out of the house, so when trouble comes back to town, Pickett can't be in several places at once to insure their safety. His daughter April had run away with a rodeo champion, and she ended up being savagely beaten and left for dead. The boyfriend, Dallas Cates, was imprisoned, but he's now out and seeking revenge. When one of Pickett's good friends overhears Cates and others talking about hurting Pickett, he tries to warn him, but is killed before he can say anything. Then someone wearing April's jacket is attacked with a knife and almost dies.
Pickett knows Cates is responsible, but since Cates has an alibi for every incident, he can continue to plot the ultimate destruction of the warden and his family. Pickett has to use the law and allies to keep his family alive.
Box utilizes the wild and open spaces of Wyoming to create a brooding atmosphere that's as intense as the story line. Readers both new and old will enjoy figuring out with Pickett how to stop an unstoppable villain while keeping intact everything that he holds dear.
There's a reason why Box is consistently at the top of the bestseller lists: He writes a compelling tale that also rings with emotional resonance.
Jeff Ayers, The Associated Press