Writing a book that is good enough for a Hollywood company to produce a series out of is a remarkable feat.
C.J. Box is one of the talented ones that have achieved more than this feat. The rights to his books have been in high demand, with two TV series having been produced from C.J. Box’s novels.
Big Sky, produced by A+E Studios and 20th Television; and Joe Pickett, produced by Paramount+, were all produced from C.J. Box’s books.
Forget the TV stuff, we’re here for the books, and I promise you, they’re good! So, here are all of C.J. Box’s books in order, his background, and his best five novels.
Let’s get started!
Who is C.J. Box?
C.J. Box was born Charles James Box Jr. in 1958. Box, a Wyoming native, grew up on the east side of Casper and went to Kelly Walsh High School. While in high school, he edited his school’s newspaper, and it won national awards. Box got a journalism scholarship to the University of Denver, and he later landed his first job at the Saratoga Sun newspaper.
The award-winning American is well-known for the Joe Pickett series, which has over 23 novels.
Ten million copies of C.J. Box’s books have been sold worldwide, and his works have been translated into 27 different languages.
He has won many awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Anthony Award, the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, two Barry Awards, the Independent Booksellers Association Award for fiction, the Prix Calibre 38, the 2016 Western Heritage Award for Literature by the National Cowboy Museum, the 2017 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Novel by the Western Writers of America, and the 2010 Mountains & Plains.
Top 3 C.J. Box Books
All C.J. Box Books in Order
Joe Pickett Books
- Open Season (2001)
- Savage Run (2002)
- Winterkill (2003)
- Trophy Hunt (2004)
- Out of Range (2005)
- In Plain Sight (2006)
- Free Fire (2007)
- Blood Trail (2008)
- Below Zero (2009)
- Nowhere to Run (2010)
- Cold Wind (2011)
- Force of Nature (2012)
- Breaking Point (2013)
- Stone Cold (2014)
- Endangered (2015)
- Off the Grid (2016)
- Vicious Circle (2017)
- The Disappeared (2018)
- Wolf Pack (2019)
- Long Range (2020)
- Dark Sky (2021)
- Shadows Reel (2022)
- Storm Watch (2023)
- Back of Beyond (2011)
- The Highway (2013)
- Badlands (2015)
- Paradise Valley (2017)
- The Bitterroots (2019)
- Treasure State (2022)
Joe Pickett Short Stories/Novellas & Collections
- Hook, Line & Sinister (2010)
- Inherit the Dead (2013)
- The Highway Kind (2016)
- The Best American Mystery Stories (2017)
- Gather at the River (2019)
- The Best American Mystery Stories (2020)
- Birds of Prey: The Harlan Coben Challenge (2022)
Lee Coburn and Joe Pickett with Sandra Brown
Best 5 C.J. Box Books
This is where it all began, the story in which we were introduced to Joe Pickett, game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming.
In Twelve Sleep, everyone owns a gun, and everyone hunts. But, instead of hunting wildlife, it seems like someone has hunted and killed an outfitter.
Joe, a relentless and honest man who doesn’t take bribes, will not just ignore the mysterious death, and he decides to investigate it.
There has been a spate of outfitter killings, and two other bodies have been discovered—and the local Wyoming press calls them “outfitter murders.” However, Joe wants to continue investigating the murders even after the local police claim to have solved them.
The more Joe follows the trailer, the more he discovers the reason why the outfitter chose to die in his backyard. He uncovers a hidden reason for the murder, a reason that complicates the case by implicating a major development player in the area. It seems the outfitter brought with him an endangered species, one that was considered to be extinct. This discovery means that the construction of a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline would have to be halted.
Is he about to uncover a murder by InterWest, the natural gas company responsible for the pipeline? Is he or his family safe?
The Cates family is coming for Joe Pickett. They have always looked at Joe with disdain because he once lashed out at them when they endangered the life of his daughter.
But… that is not the reason they are after him this time. Joe Pickett witnessed a crime, and as you might have guessed, the perps belonged to the Cates family.
Joe has his friend Nate by his side as they wait for the trouble to approach.
C.J. Box didn’t disappoint in the seventeenth installment of the Joe Pickett series; he gave us nothing but pure, engrossing suspense and intensity up to the very end.
This is by far the creepiest story that C.J. has ever written. The story is about two sisters, Gracie and Danielle Sullivan, who hit the road on a journey to visit a friend.
When the girls go missing, Cody Hoyt, an ex-police investigator, sets out to look for them. He decides to start his search at their last known location.
Cassie Dewell, Cody’s former partner, makes a chilling discovery: the sisters might not be the first to have vanished in that area.
There is a killer who is both smart and vicious, but Cassie and Cody Hoyt have to overcome the odds stacked against them to find the killer before another victim is claimed.
I recommend this book for people who are into investigative stuff, but I should also throw in a word of caution: it has a lot of triggers. The book has some vivid descriptions of things like sexual assault and murder, so it’s not for the “faint-hearted.”
This is the third book in the Cassie Dewell book series, and it continues to follow Cassie Dewell, a Montana police investigator, who was introduced in The Highway.
Grimstad, North Dakota, has been hit by the resource curse. The discovery of oil has brought many things with it, including money, drugs, and all sorts of crime.
When a 12-year-old boy, Kyle, witnesses a car accident and finds a bag from the scene, he thinks he’s found his way out of Grimstad and poverty.
But, unbeknownst to him, his luck might have changed… for the worse.
Cassie is notified of her appointment as the new chief investigator of the Grimstad police department.
When she arrives in North Dakota, she realizes she, and her colleagues in the police department, have to deal with an expanding South American drug gang. She also has to solve the link between the drug gang and Kyle, who keeps showing up where he doesn’t belong.
Joe Pickett has his job back. He is Wyoming’s game warden again. But he has learned that drones are killing wildlife.
He also learns that the drone is owned by a wealthy man who is in witness protection, and his grandson is Lucy’s boyfriend.
Lucy, by the way, is Joe Pickett’s daughter, and although that would seem to complicate things, the FBI and DOJ’s protection of the wealthy man is more puzzling.
Then the Sinaloa cartel’s vicious hound dogs show up, and their target is the mysterious wealthy man and everyone attached to him.
This means Joe and Nate are also in the line of fire, and they find an ally in a female game warden to confront the Wolfpack.
Final Words on C.J. Box
Even though he is the bestselling author of 30 novels, C. J. Box calls his writing career “not a job.”
That tells you about the work ethic of a genius who can easily write a bestseller just as easily as Thanos’ finger snaps.
His Joe Pickett series has been going on forever and still leaves readers thirsting for more. And luckily for his fans, Joe Pickett #23, Storm Watch, is scheduled for publication on February 28, 2023.
In the meantime, you can enjoy Open Season and other Joe Pickett and Cassie Dewell books.