C.J. Box - Books Reading Order (2024)

C.J. Box is the American author of the bestselling Joe Pickett series featuring the Wyoming game warden with a penchant for getting himself into trouble and solving cases in the process. The series started with Open Season in 2001, and with over 20 books so far, it is still going strong. The author’s Cody Hoyt and Cassie Dewell series are popular with the readers as we ll.

Below you will find the order of the C.J. Box books for his several series, standalone novels, and collection of short stories.

New C.J. Box Books

Long Range (Joe Pickett #20), 2020

Joe Pickett Series

  1. Open Season (Joe Pickett #1), 2001
  2. Savage Run (Joe Pickett #2), 2002
  3. Winterkill (Joe Pickett #3), 2003
  4. Trophy Hunt (Joe Pickett #4), 2004
  5. Dull Knife (Joe Pickett #4.5), 2005
  6. Out of Range (Joe Pickett #5), 2005
  7. In Plain Sight (Joe Pickett #6), 2006
  8. Free Fire (Joe Pickett #7), 2007
  9. Blood Trail (Joe Pickett #8), 2008
  10. Below Zero (Joe Pickett #9), 2009
  11. Nowhere to Run (Joe Pickett #10), 2010
  12. Cold Wind (Joe Pickett #11), 2011
  13. The Master Falconer (Joe Pickett #11.5), 2011
  14. Force of Nature (Joe Pickett #12), 2012
  15. Breaking Point (Joe Pickett #13), 2013
  16. Stone Cold (Joe Pickett #14), 2014
  17. Shots Fired (Joe Pickett #14.5), 2014
  18. Endangered (Joe Pickett #15), 2015
  19. Off the Grid (Joe Pickett #16), 2016
  20. Vicious Circle (Joe Pickett #17), 2017
  21. The Disappeared (Joe Pickett #18), 2018
  22. Wolf Pack (Joe Pickett #19), 2019
  23. Long Range (Joe Pickett #20), 2020

Cody Hoyt Series

  1. Back of Beyond (Cody Hoyt #1), 2011
  2. The Highway (Cody Hoyt #2), 2013

Cassie Dewell Series

  1. The Highway (Cassie Dewell #1), 2013
  2. Badlands (Cassie Dewell #2), 2015
  3. Paradise Valley (Cassie Dewell #3), 2017
  4. The Bitterroots (Cassie Dewell #4), 2019

Standalone Novels in Publication Order

  • Blue Heaven, 2008
  • Three Weeks to Say Goodbye, 2008
  • Inherit the Dead, 2013, with Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, John Connolly, Charlaine Harris, Jonathan Santlofer, Lisa Unger
  • Pronghorns of the Third Reich, 2011
  • , 2018, with Sandra Brown, novella
  • The Best American Mystery Stories 2020, 2020
  • Birds of Prey: The Harlan Coben Challenge, 2022 with Harlan Coben

Who is Joe Pickett?

Joe Pickett is a game warden in Saddlestring, Wyoming, a fictional town in the Bighorn Mountains. He is an all-around nice guy, an everyday man. Incorruptible, hardworking, and happily married, Joe is nothing like the usual crime or thriller hero. He is not tormented by any demons or skeletons in the closet. He has a nice life, one that he is happy with, and he has no special skills that he can boast about.

He’s just your regular game warden thrown into the deep end when bad guys want to do bad things where he happens to work. All Joe Pickett wants to do is the right thing.

Joe Pickett ages in real-time from book to book, so all characters mature and change just like real people do. This is one reason why it is recommended to read the Joe Pickett series in order because you can experience Joe’s family growing together and changing from book to book as they all age, including Joe, his wife Marybeth, and Sheridan, Joe’s beloved daughter.

C.J. Box Biography

C.J. Box - Books Reading Order (3)A Wyoming native, C.J. Box (Charles James Box) was born in 1958, in Casper, Wyoming, U.S. His dad was in the Navy, and later on when he retired, he became a teacher. When C.J. Box was two years old, his family moved to Greece in Europe, from where they returned when he was 12, after 10 years. He attended Kelly Walsh High School, where was the newspaper editor and journalist. He got a scholarship to the University of Denver, where he studied journalism, since back those times, he wanted to become an investigative reporter. After graduating from college in 1981 with a degree in journalism, after a few months of searching, he found a job as a journalist at a small Saratoga newspaper in Wyoming.

He remained there for around 4 years, learning everything he could, all aspects of the business. During his stay there he learned about the community, about ranching, about the issues people in a small community face day in day out.

Before becoming a bestselling fiction author, C.J. Box worked several odd jobs. He is what you’d call a jack of all trades, having had his hands in working at a ranch, being a fishing guide, editor, exploration surveyor, and a small-town newspaper journalist. These jobs helped him pay for his college tuition fees. With his wife he also owns an international tourism marketing company working for state government, representing the states’ efforts in Europe and Australia, where they promoted vacations in the Rocky Mountain West to Europeans for the state’s tourism board.

He always wanted to write books, although his first choice wouldn’t have been crime and mystery. When he wrote his first novel, he wanted to tackle the issue, conflicts around the Endangered Species Act. His main character happened to be a game warden, Joe Pickett. He thought of the book as a modern-day Western; however, as Joe got himself into all sorts of troubles, the book, and the whole series became a crime mystery.

He started writing his first book, Open Season, while he was still working at the newspaper. Initially, he wanted to wanted to make Joe Pickett a sheriff, then a journalist, but somehow it never felt right to the author. During his time at the newspaper, he used to accompany a game warden on his rounds, so he finally gave Joe Pickett the job of warden. It took C.J. Box around five years to finally sell the book to a publisher, but in 2001, Open Season was finally published by Putnam.

Initially, he intended for the book to remain a standalone, however, the publisher requested another 2-3 books, so Joe Pickett became a long-standing series. That’s why reading the Joe Pickett books in order is recommended, as many story elements move from book to book like a jigsaw puzzle involving our favorite hero, Joe.

In his books, C.J. Box often tackles serious issues he wants to address, including the environmental impacts of fracking, the constant friction between the environmentalists and the opposing developers, eco-terrorism, the use of drones in hunting and fishing, conspiracies, and even family feuds and wars.

Over the years, C.J. Box sold over 20 million copies of his books in the U.S. alone. He currently lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with his wife and daughters.

C.J. Box Book Awards

C.J. Box received several awards for his writing over the years. His debut novel alone, Open Season, received no less than 4 awards in the Best First Novel category. Here is the list.

  • Open Season: the Anthony Award, theMacavity Award, theGumshoe Award, and theBarry Award, all in the Best First Novel category.
  • Prix Calibre 38 Award in France
  • Blue Heaven: the Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel of 2008
  • 2008 “BIG WYO” Award from Wyoming Tourism
  • 2010 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award
  • 2016 Western Heritage Award for Literature by theNational Cowboy Museum

Praise for the C.J. Box Books

Box introduced us to his unlikely hero … a decent man who lives paycheck to paycheck and who is deeply fond of his wife and his three daughters. Pickett isn’t especially remarkable except for his honesty and for a quality that Howard Bloom attributes to Shakespeare – the ability to think everything through for himself. (The New York Times)

Unflinching. The answers are never easy to predict; the book keeps the reader guessing until the end. [Box’s] style is down-to-earth and commercially appealing, with a Western locale that sets it apart. (The Philadelphia Enquirer on Trophy Hunt)

One of today’s solid-gold, A-list, must-read writers. (Lee Child)

Open Season is a lean, fast-moving thriller that proves you don’t need an urban landscape to make the pages turn. With the exception of James Dickey, I can’t think of another writer who has managed to wring so much white-knuckled terror out of rural America. This is a truly outstanding read. (Loren D. Estleman)

Open Season is a western deco, vividly painted and fun as hell. I know nothing of the West, but C. J. Box is a superb guide—and also a very good novelist. (Randy Wayne White)

C. J. Box has written a fast-paced, intelligent mystery that draws us into the wide open spaces of Wyoming and introduces a memorable hero: Game Warden Joe Pickett, unwilling detective and a man with a conscience. A page-turner and a remarkable debut. (Margaret Coel)

Box is a skillful writer and plot-spinner with plenty of wily surprises up his…sleeve (Chicago Tribune)


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