Joe Pickett books in order

One of the quintessential writing tidbits of advice quoted by many comes from, allegedly, Mark Twain: “Write what you know.”

While this is not a universal truth that everyone should follow, some writers live by these words—and as a seasoned outdoor enthusiast and certified Wyoming-born and raised, C.J. Box might be one of the most notorious examples of this with his fascinating book series about Joe Pickett.

The Joe Pickett book series follows its eponymous hero, a Wyoming game warden with a big reputation for doing what’s right no matter what and an even bigger penchant for finding himself on the path of criminals and mysteries.

The series is ongoing and encompasses over 24 books, making it hard for newcomers to figure out how to read the Joe Pickett books in order and what might be the best starting point.

At least until now.

The Joe Pickett Books in Order, For Newcomers

Luckily, listing the Joe Pickett books in order is straightforward. Rather than dealing with prequels or sequels, in this case, the publication and chronological order align perfectly.

Book #1: Open Season

Open Season introduces the reader to Joe Pickett, the new game warden in Twelve Sleep, Wyoming.

His position and determination are soon put to the test after the mysterious death of three outfitters—one of which leaves Joe with an animal thought to be extinct, a discovery that could put in jeopardy a multi-billion project to construct an oil pipeline across Wyoming.

Open Season

Book #2: Savage Run

After a massive blast across the Twelve Sleep County, the discovery of the corpse of an environmental activist leads Joe Pickett to investigate what may lie beneath, even against authority’s wishes.

He discovers a deadly secret and a conspiracy that can cost him everything.

Savage Run

Book #3: Winterkill

After chasing a man to arrest him, Joe Pickett finds him with his throat slit, impaled to a tree. The culprits are, supposedly, a group of anti-government radicals, and the victim worked for the federal government.

It seems a clear-cut case, but Joe is not convinced. And when his foster daughter gets kidnapped, things turn personal.


Book #4: Trophy Hunt

While fishing with his daughters, Joe Pickett comes across a horrifying sight—a moose’s carcass, its face sliced away and its body flayed. Many more follow soon enough.

People think it’s a bear, but Joe knows better. After all, a bear does not know how to use a knife.

Trophy Hunt

Book #5: Out Of Range

Joe Pickett receives terrible news—his friend and fellow game warden Will Jensen has committed suicide, and now Joe must run his district. But when he arrives, he notices many things are out of order, and something is afoul in Will’s suicide.

Out of Range

Book #6: In Plain Sight

With Opal Scarlett’s disappearance, two of her sons begin fighting for her wealthy and profitable ranch in an all-out war. As Joe Pickett is involuntarily dragged into the conflict, he soon experiences events that make him realize this may involve him more than he thinks.

In Plain Sight

Book #7: Free Fire

The next Joe Pickett book in order begins right after the previous one. No longer in Wyoming or a game warden, Joe Pickett gets an offer he can’t refuse: solve a case in Yellowstone National Park and receive his position and badge back if he succeeds.

The problem: the case is a multiple murder committed purposefully by a lawyer in a free-fire zone.

Free Fire

Book #8: Blood Trail

The dead body of a man has been found in the mountains. He has been strung, gutted, and flayed—the same method regularly used for the elks he was hunting. Joe Pickett is on the case, but who could be behind it? An activist? Or is it a psychopath?

Blood Trail

Book #9: Below Zero

Below Zero is the ninth Joe Pickett book in order, which brings back a traumatic event from Joe Pickett’s past: someone is leaving phone messages claiming to be April—Joe’s foster daughter, murdered six years ago. Is it her? Or is it someone with a grudge?

Below Zero

Book #10: Nowhere To Run

As the temporary game warden in Baggs, Joe Pickett encountered strange events. Something weird is happening in the mountains—butchered elks, looting, and a missing runner.

Joe should have gone home when he could. His conscience made him stay, and now he must face the deadly results.

Nowhere to Run

Book #11: Cold Wind

Joe Pickett does not like his mother-in-law. However, when she is accused of murdering her husband Earl, Joe must admit he does not consider her capable of it—even when all signs point to her being the culprit.

But what if she’s being set up?

Cold Wind

Book #12: Force Of Nature

Force of Nature is the twelfth Joe Pickett book in order, giving the spotlight to Joe’s friend, Nate Romanowski. When someone from Nate’s past seeks to eliminate those who know about his deep-dark secret, he attempts to lure Nate by targeting Joe and his entire family.

Force of Nature

Book #13: Breaking Point

Butch Roberson is, by all means, a hard-working and honest man. This is why Joe Pickett is puzzled when the man is accused of murdering two people, running away to the mountains to hide. But the more Joe looks into the case, the more he starts to wonder: when does a man reach his breaking point?

Breaking Point

Book #14: Stone Cold

When the governor sends Joe Pickett to investigate the mysteries surrounding a giant ranch in Wyoming, he gets more than he had bargained for. Disappearances, secret inhabitants, a murder-for-hire organization, and someone Joe knows too well.

Stone Cold

Book #15: Endangered

When Joe Pickett finds his foster daughter in a ditch, barely alive, he swears to bring the responsible to justice. His instinct tells him Dallas Cates is responsible, but he has no proof or plan—and the Cates clan might kill him for it.


Book #16: Off the Grid

In Off the Grid, protagonism is shared equally between Nate Romanowski and Joe Pickett. Without them knowing, their paths will cross again in the Red Desert as they carry out their respective missions: Nate is tasked with helping destroy a terrorist plot, and Joe is asked to watch Nate’s steps.

Off the Grid

Book #17: Vicious Circle

Although this is the 17th entry in any list featuring the Joe Pickett books in order, the plot is directly connected to the events of Endangered, as the Cates clan plot their revenge against Joe Pickett and his family.

Vicious Circle

Book #18: The Disappeared

Joe Pickett’s investigations reach new heights when it becomes an international incident.

Three women have gone missing after visiting an exclusive ranch. To make things worse, they are British executives, and the Embassy is demanding explanations and results. At the same time, Joe Pickett must investigate the serial killings of bald and golden eagles—but is it all connected?

The Disappeared

Book #19: Wolf Pack

Problems keep piling up for Joe Pickett when he discovers that the culprit behind the drone attacks that kill local wildlife is none other than the father of his daughter’s boyfriend. Even worse—a group of killers working for the Sinaloa cartel are after this mysterious man and everyone connected to him.

Wolf Pack

Book #20: Long Range

Someone shot at the local judge from a seemingly impossible distance and severely wounded his wife—and all suspicion falls on Nate. It’s up to Joe Pickett to clear his friend’s name while dealing with mysterious and bizarre grizzly attacks.

Long Range

Book #21: Dark Sky

Dark Sky is the next Joe Pickett book in order; this time, the warden may be the game. When the governor gives Joe Pickett the task of escorting a tech magnate on an elk hunt trip, Joe finds himself stalked by a man seeking revenge. Luckily, Nate is on his way to help—but will they succeed?

Dark Sky

Book #22: Shadows Reel

In this entry, Joe Pickett teams up with his wife Marybeth as they seek to discover the mysteries behind a WWII photo album left at her workplace’s doorstep—one that features several Nazi secrets that many people are willing to kill for.

Shadows Reel

Book #23: Storm Watch

A storm is brewing for Joe Pickett and Nate Romanowski in Storm Watch. On one side, Joe discovers the frozen and mutilated body of a missing professor in the countryside and finds himself obstructed by authorities, including the governor. Conversely, militant activists approach Nate, asking him to join their secession movement.

Storm Watch

Book #24: Three-Inch Teeth

The most recent entry, Tree-Inch Teeth, has Joe Pickett and Nate Romanowski face two different types of beasts—a grizzly bear going on a murdering rampage and a revenge-fueled Dallas Cates, just released from prison.

Three-Inch Teeth

Is It Mandatory to Read the Joe Pickett Books in Order?

Thankfully, the Joe Pickett book series is very beginner-friendly, and you can understand the plotline of any entry as a stand-alone book.

Nonetheless, keep in mind the books have continuity, so you may not understand the references to previous events or key character-developing moments if you do not follow the given order.

If you’re ready to get started on the Joe Pickett books in order, head over to BookScouter to get them all at an affordable price for some premium-quality binge reading.

Don’t forget to explore our other captivating book series reviews, such as The Shatter Me Book Series, The Twisted Book SeriesMaze Runner Book Series and Silo Book Series which may pique your interest for further reading.