Bookworm: Fans of western thrillers will want to read ‘Storm Watch’

Terri Schlichenmeyer
“Storm Watch” author C.J. Box.

“Storm Watch”

  • By C.J. Box
  • c. 2023, Putnam
  • $29, 353 pages

You just can’t see it. There’s something in the way, bad weather, a roadblock, a geographical shape that blocks your view, something physical. You can’t see it. Or you can’t see because you’re unfamiliar, dubious, uninformed, or you just plain don’t want to see it. But as in the new novel “Storm Watch” by C.J. Box, you really need to watch out.

For the first time since he’d moved to Saddlestring, Wyoming, Game Warden Joe Pickett hated the winter weather.

Snow hadn’t bothered him much before but when he got a call about a wounded elk cow that needed to be put down up on the Double Diamond Ranch, he eyed his easy-chair and wished he were anywhere else. A snowstorm was coming over the Big Horn Mountains, but it was Joe’s responsibility to see to that elk.

“Storm Watch” by C.J. Box.

He tracked the animal a fair ways before he found her, and the source of a whooshing sound that echoed loudly through the valley.

Someone had erected a small shed there, crammed with large fans that screamed like airplanes on tarmac. Hanging from a window was the bottom half of a man who’d been shoved head-first into those fans. But when deputies went to retrieve what was left of the guy, there was no blood, no body. And Joe was told to keep the whole thing under wraps.

Just north of Joe Pickett’s new house, Nate Romanowski plowed his driveway with a modified 1948 Dodge so that fellow falconer and friend, Geronimo Jones, could get to Nate’s compound safely. Jones was on his way with a business proposal but the first person up the driveway was a stranger with a different kind of offer.

Jason Demo invited Nate to a meeting to talk about how “coastal elites” see folks in the West, and how his group, The Keystoners, weren’t going to “stand down.” Yep, things were going to change in this country, starting in Saddlestring, Wyoming...

So, have you followed the news much lately? Maybe brushed up on your current events? You’ll need ‘em before you tackle “Storm Watch.”

Take that as a bit of a warning: author C.J. Box ripped newspaper headlines pages one through six to craft this very fine thriller, and you’ll be happier and have a better understanding of this tale if you’re at least a little bit in the know. Like Box’s last couple novels, this one brushes against the edges of the newest technology and the bad guys get savvier. It should be noted that they’re also more violent, angrier, but more purposeful than you might find in a usual thriller; the outlaws inside “Storm Watch,” aren’t madmen, which is a bit unsettling and can remain so for a while, long after the semi-cliff-hanging ending of this book.

Still, fans of western thrillers won’t want to be without this novel on the table next to their easy-chairs. Just brush up on your current events first, is all, know what’s going on in the world, and yeah, “Storm Watch.” You could see it.

MOREBookworm: ‘Animal Secrets’ – Exalt the elephant inside you

ANDBookworm: Books to mark Women’s History Month

ALSOBookworm: Women’s History Month books for kids – Inspirational, illustrated and historically true

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books. Read past columns at