"When a high-powered bullet hits living flesh, it makes a distinctive -- pow-WHOP -- sound that is unmistakable even at tremendous distance." And so it begins for Joe Pickett, a Wyoming game warden who, with the shot of a rifle, is thrust into a race to not only save an endangered species, but to unravel a mystery that threatens the life and the family he loves.
Joe Pickett is the new game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming, a town where nearly everyone hunts and the game warden … especially one like Joe, who won't take bribes or look the other way … is far from popular. When he finds a local hunting outfitter dead, splayed out on the woodpile behind his state-owned home, Joe takes it personally. There had to be a reason that the outfitter, with whom he'd had run-ins before, chose Joe's back yard woodpile to die on. Even when the “outfitter murders,” as they have been dubbed by the local press after the discovery of two more bodies, are quickly solved, Joe continues to investigate, uncomfortable with the easy explanation offered by the local police.
As Joe digs deeper, he discovers that the outfitter brought more than death to his back door: he's brought Joe an endangered species, thought to be extinct, which is now living in his woodpile. If word of this gets out, it will destroy any chance for InterWest, a multinational company, to build a natural gas pipeline across the state. The closer Joe comes to the truth behind the outfitter murders, the endangered species, and InterWest, the closer he comes to losing everything and everyone he holds dear.
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