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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Savage Run. C.J.Box. Berkley Prime Time Crime Books. (2003)

This is a very gripping and enjoyable thriller set in the ranches and parks and mountains of Wyoming. An environmental activist, who specialises in direct action like putting nails in trees to damage chain saws, is carrying out some action with his very recently married wife when they are blown up by a cow. Game Warden Joe Pickett finds himself involved as the explosion took place on his patch. The story proceeds to twist and turn in a very satisfactory fashion from there with a great plot, very engaging and some very unpleasant characters. the reveals are effectively paced and the sequence where Joe Pickett is trailed by a hired killer through the mountains is superb. The climax is as grimly satisfying and surprising as the opening.
C.J.Box has created a very engaging protagonist in Joe Pickett and his family are equally effectively drawn in. Life in Saddlestring, Wyoming set among fabulous natural grandeur, beautifully and feelingly described by C.J.Box, is harsh, the town is more or less dying, caught between the huge forces of ranch owners and the National Parks, with no industry or prospect of one. The author clearly has a great love for the region and take a wide and compassionate view of the needs and requirements of both the ranchers and the activists who oppose them. He is clearly of the opinion that greed and a blind belief in "Nature" are severe problems that span violence and counter violence that damages what both are supposed to be holding dear. This is a hugely enjoyable book, a very thoughtful thriller that does not stint on the thrills or the thinking.

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