Joe Pickett, a game warden living in Wyoming, finds himself chasing a escapee in a snowstorn that won't letup. A group of anti-government survivalists come into town bringing the mother of his foster daughter who snatches the child from school and takes her to the survivalist camp. Some misinformed Feds go after the survivalists believing they are harboring a murderer. Joe partners with a local untamed loner type, Nate, and they attempt to put a halt to the confrontation of Feds and survivalists.
This report prepared by Coletta Ollerer
There are only fifty-five Game Wardens to cover the state of Wyoming. Joe Picket's district consists of 1,500 square miles, but he spots a hunter illegally kill a bunch of elks. When he apprehends the suspect he is shocked to discover it is Lamar Gardiner, the District Supervisor for the Twelve-Sleep National Forest. Lamar escapes, but when the game warden finds him again, he is dead, stuck to a tree by the arrows that killed him.
His death brings to town Melinda Strickland, a high-ranking Forest Service official heading a task force to keep anti-government groups off federal land. The Sovereigns, dissenters from Waco, Ruby Ridge and the Montana Freemen, stake out a piece of land on Battle Mountain, which they rename the Sovereign Citizen Compound. Among them is the mother of Joe's foster daughter who has a court order to take custody of April. She legally takes April to the compound. The situation is volatile because Srickland and the FBI plan to oust the Sovereigns from the compound, using force if necessary, and Joe fears that his beloved foster child will become caught in the crossfire.
In WINTERKILL there is a paradigm switch because the supposed good guys act like criminals while the radicals act like peace loving citizens in need of refuge. The protagonist is constantly torn between law and justice making him willing to try anything to prevent the crisis from reaching a boiling point. Though one sided, C.J. Box takes aim at rogue agents in the Federal government by showing the damage they can do if they are not fired at the first hint of wrong doing. This is an exciting take of modern western justice.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner