Whether you’ve picked up a Joe Pickett book or a Cody Hoyt novel, you’ve found your way here looking for a list of C.J. Box books in order.
C.J. Box is the author of the bestselling Joe Pickett series, which follows a Wyoming game warden who has a knack for getting himself into trouble and solving crimes in the process. The series began with Open Season in 2001 and has since grown to include 21 volumes, with another one on the way.
He is also the author of the Hoyt/Dewell series, also known as The Highway series, and some other standalone novels. In this article, we’ll go through all of his work, and list out all the C.J. Box books in order.
C.J. Box Books in Order by Series
Joe Pickett Books in Order
Our first list of C.J. Box books in order focuses on his primary work, the Joe Pickett series.
Pickett, a Wyoming game warden, has faced environmental terrorists, renegade federal land managers, animal mutilators, deranged cowboy hitmen, crooked bureaucrats, murderous animal rights campaigners, and violent dysfunctional families during the course of the series. Joe has grown up and done things that he regrets.
However, he keeps faithful to himself and his family throughout it all. Even though seeking justice will bring the community, state, and his superiors down on his head, he simply can’t help it.
You don’t necessarily need to read these C.J. Box books in order as they are all standalones, though we recommend reading them all in order anyway. But in case you’d like to read just one to give the series a try, we have summarized each one further down in this article.
- Open Season (2001)
- Savage Run (2002)
- Winterkill (2003)
- Dull Knife (2005, Short Story in Shots Fired)
- Trophy Hunt (2004)
- Out of Range (2005)
- In Plain Sight (2006)
- Free Fire (2007)
- Blood Trail (2008)
- Below Zero (2009)
- Nowhere to Run (2010)
- The Master Falconer (2011, Short Story in Shots Fired)
- Cold Wind (2011)
- Force of Nature (2012)
- Breaking Point (2013)
- Stone Cold (2013)
- Shots Fired (2014, Short story collection)
- Endangered (2015)
- Off The Grid (2016)
- Vicious Circle (2017)
- The Disappeared (2018)
- Honor & … (2017) – It features Sandra Brown’s character Lee Coburn from her novel Lethal.
- Wolf Pack (2019)
- Long Range (2020)
- Dark Sky (2021)
- Shadows Reel (2022)
Hoyt/Dewell Series (a.k.a. The Highway series)
This list of C.J. Box books in order is actually two lists in one. We’ll explain why below.
This saga starts with Cody Hoyt, who despite being a talented officer, is an alcoholic who has only been sober for two months when a close friend of his is found burnt. Everything points to suicide, but he knows otherwise. Cody is in no position to be investigating a homicide after years of poor behavior with his department, but he will stop at nothing to discover Hank’s killer.
Cassie Dewell is introduced in the second book, The Highway, and they both work together in a case of the disappearance of two sisters and their car in Montana. From this point on, agent Dewell takes the leading character until the end of the series. We highly suggest following the publication order as listed below:
- Back of Beyond (2011)
- The Highway (2013)
- Badlands (2015)
- Paradise Valley (2017)
- The Bitterroots (2019)
- Treasure State (Expected: September 27, 2022)
C.J. Box Books in Order – Standalone novels
This list of C.J. Box books in order is only his standalone books, whicharen’t connected to any series.
The Bibliomysteries is a collection of short stories about murderous books written by bestselling mystery authors, managed and published by The Mysterious Bookshop every year. As they are 35 unrelated books, we are not going to list them all, just note that Box collaborated with one book:
C.J. Box Books in Order – Joe Pickett Series Summary
Now that we’ve looked a list a of all the C.J. Box books in order, let’s take a deeper look at each book in the Joe Pickett series.
1. Open Season
Joe Pickett discovers a local hunter dead, stretched out on the woodpile outside his state-owned home. There had to be a reason why the outfitter, with whom he’d had previous run-ins, decided to die in his garden. Later more bodies turn up, and Joe isn’t happy with the simple explanation local police provide.
As Joe investigates the killings, he learns that the outfitter brought him more than death. He also brought a rare species that is allegedly extinct, yet now is living in his woodpile. However, if the information of the presence of this endangered species comes out, it would kill any hope of InterWest, a multi-national natural gas firm, building an oil pipeline across Wyoming, that would earn the business billions of dollars.
Joe is getting closer to discovering the truth about the outfitter killings, the endangered species, and InterWest, but he’s also getting closer to losing everything he cares about.
2. Savage Run
When a big explosion happens deep inside the forests of Twelve Sleep County, and an environmental activist appears to have died in the blast, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is brought in to assist with the investigation.
The case is quickly closed and described as a botched environmental publicity effort, but Joe isn’t so easily convinced. He quickly uncovers evidence of a deadly plot, which will put his guts, survival abilities, and drive to do the right thing at all costs to the test.
When Joe’s beloved foster daughter is kidnapped, his search for the perpetrator takes a terrifying turn into the rocky mountains that surrounds the snow-covered village of Saddlestring.
Now he is in the forest edging Battle Mountain with a flintlock in his right hand, his truck’s helm handcuffed to his left, and Lamar Gardiner’s arrow-riddled cadaver splayed against the tree in front of him. It is only mere hours before darkness and a bitter winter storm rage. Now it’s personal, and Joe will do whatever it takes to take her back.
4. Trophy Hunt
Game warden Joe Pickett is fly-fishing with his two children on a beautiful late-summer day in his hometown when he comes upon the mangled body of a moose. Half of the animal’s face has been cut away, the skin pulled back from the flesh by whatever attacked it. Joe, disturbed by the sight, begins an investigation into what he believes is a one-time occurrence.
Local police explain the attacks away as the act of a grizzly bear, but Joe knows that’s not the case. The cuts on the moose were far too clean and exact for jagged teeth.
Pickett’s suspicions are confirmed when two dead men are found with wounds very similar to the ones in the moose. And the killings are just starting.
5. Out of Range
Will Jensen, a fellow Wyoming game warden and a dear friend to Joe Pickett, has committed suicide. Now Joe must go and temporarily manage Jensen’s district.
Joe immediately finds himself in over his head in Jackson, Wyoming, which is an epicenter for many environmental radicals and an elitist playground for the wealthy and powerful. But despite the demands of his new position, he can’t get his mind off his friend’s death. Will had changed in the previous few months, according to all reports, becoming more belligerent and unpredictable.
Joe’s life spins out of control as he gets closer to the truth about Will’s death — and he understands that if he’s not cautious, he may wind up as Jackson’s next victim.
6. In Plain Sight
Spring has finally come to Saddlestring, Wyoming, and game warden Joe Pickett is happy the long, harsh winter is over. However, a dark cloud threatens to spoil the milder weather. Local ranch owner and matriarch Opal Scarlett has vanished under suspicious circumstances.
Two of her sons, Hank and Arlen, are battling for control of their mother’s multi-million-dollar empire, and their bitter fight threatens to tear the whole town apart. But everyone is so caught up in the brothers’ battle that they seem to have forgotten that Opal is still missing. Joe is sure, however, that one of the brothers murdered their mother.
Determined to uncover the truth, he is attacked and nearly beaten to death by Hank Scarlett’s new right-hand man on the ranch — a recently arrived stranger who looks eerily familiar… A series of threatening messages and attempts to sabotage Joe’s career follow. At first, he thinks the attacks are due to his investigation into Opal’s disappearance, but he soon learns that someone else is after him. Someone with a very personal grudge who wants to make Joe pay…and pay dearly.
7. Free Fire
Joe Pickett has been recruited to look into one of Wyoming’s most cold-blooded mass murders. Attorney Clay McCann admits to having killed four campers in a remote area of Yellowstone National Park that was a free-fire zone with no residents and overlapping jurisdiction. McCann took advantage of a loophole in the law, but the Governor is aware of the public outrage when he walks free.
Now Pickett must uncover McCann’s reason for the murders. The secret is somewhere within Yellowstone’s landscape which is as rough and hazardous as the guy who wants to keep it secret.
8. Blood Trail
Game wardens discover a man hanged up, gutted, and flayed as if he were the elk he’d been shooting at a mountain camp. Is the assassination the product of a crazed anti-hunting activist or a lone psychopath with a personal grudge? Joe Pickett is the one in charge of tracking down the murderer and stopping him as more bodies turn up.
9. Below Zero
April Pickett, Joe Pickett’s foster daughter, was murdered six years ago. Someone is now sending voicemails pretending to be her. As the family struggles with the upsetting situation, Pickett manages to find out that the calls were from places where significant environmental crimes had happened. The risk grows as the phone calls get closer.
10. Nowhere to Run
Joe Pickett is in his final week as a temporary game warden in Baggs, Wyoming, but his conscience won’t allow him to go without investigating bizarre claims from the wilderness: Camps raided, tents ripped, and elk killed.
And then there’s the runner who simply vanished one day. Joe doesn’t mind admitting that the farther he rides, the more he wishes he could just turn around and go home. And he is right to be concerned.
Because what awaits him is like nothing he’s ever dealt with, like something out of an old story, except this is all too real and too deadly. When he’d first saddled up, he’d thought of this as his last patrol. What he hadn’t known was just how accurate that thought might turn out to be.
11. Cold Wind
Earl Alden’s wife, Missy, is arrested when he is found dead swinging from a wind turbine. Unfortunately for Joe Pickett, Missy is his mother-in-law, a lady he despises fiercely, and he’s at a loss for what to do, especially when all indicators point to her being guilty. But then something happens that makes Joe wonder: Is Earl’s death really as it seems?
He has the county DA and sheriff on one side, his wife on the other, his estranged friend Nate on a lethal mission of his own, and some powerful interests breathing down his neck. Whichever way this goes…it’s not going to be good.
12. Force of Nature
Nate Romanowski was serving in a covert Special Forces unit abroad years ago when his commander committed a heinous crime. The man, now a high-ranking government official, is hell-bent on eliminating everyone who knows about it. To draw Nate out, he will target those he holds dear, which includes Joe Pickett.
The Pickett family as a whole will be a target, and the only way to defend themselves will be outside the law. Nate feels he can do it, but he isn’t sure about his straight-arrow friend. And all their lives may depend on it.
13. Breaking Point
Butch Roberson is a dedicated local business owner whose daughter was friends with Joe Pickett’s, and has long been a favorite acquaintance of Joe. However, when Butch claims he’s going into the mountains to look for elk, he’s actually going on the run.
Two EPA employees were just murdered, and all clues point to Butch as the perpetrator. Soon after, Joe finds out the land Butch and his wife were going to retire on has been recently labeled as wetland by the EPA. The organization has been charging them with exorbitantly expensive fines.
However, Butch Roberson doesn’t seem the kind of man who would kill for this reason. Something else is happening and Joe is going once again to the end of the rabbit hole.
14. Stone Cold
Everything about the man is a mystery. The vast ranch in the isolated Black Hills, the woman who list with him, the secret philanthropies, the private airstrip, and the sudden disappearances. Rumor has it that the man’s riches come from hitman services.
Joe Pickett must discover the truth, but he learns a lot more than he expected. Two men are living on that property.
One is a cold-blooded murderer who dislikes Joe right away. The other is new — but Joe knows him all too well.
The first man doesn’t frighten Joe. The second is another story entirely
Even though he was a rodeo champion, Joe Pickett has good reasons to despise Dallas Cates, and now he has even more. Joe’s eighteen-year-old ward, April, has gone off with him. And Joe has a bad feeling.
Then a girl’s body turns up in a ditch alongside the roadway, barely alive, the victim of blunt force trauma. And it’s April. The doctors aren’t even sure if she’ll make it through the month.
Cates denies any involvement, he claims she ran away from him and there is also evidence pointing to another man. Joe, on the other hand, has a gut feeling about who is responsible. What he doesn’t realize is the magnitude of the danger he’s going to face. Cates is nasty enough on his own, but Cates’s family is unlike any Joe has ever encountered.
16. Off the Grid
Nate Romanowski is off the grid, recovering from wounds and attempting to resolve past transgressions when an elite special unit unexpectedly challenges him. But they’ve come to negotiate, not to threaten him.
In exchange for helping them defeat a small network of terrorists in the Red Desert, they’ll erase Nate’s criminal record. But Joe Pickett finds they are not what they appear to be.
17. Vicious Circle
The Cates clan had always been a shady people. When his daughter April’s life was threatened, game warden Joe Pickett was able to hit back hard, but he’d always wondered if one day they would hit him back.
He is no longer wondering, but well aware that they are now pursuing him and his family. Joe has his friend Nate, but his side this time, but will that be enough? He has no choice but to prepare…and wait for them to make the first move.
18. The Disappeared
Wyoming’s new governor isn’t sure what to make of Joe Pickett, but he has a job for him that is extremely delicate. Three British executives, all women, never came home from the high-end guest ranch they were visiting, and the British Embassy is pressing hard.
Pickett knows that happens sometimes. These ranches are full of handsome young cowboys, and ranch romances aren’t uncommon. But three disappearances? That’s too many.
At the same time, with the help of his friend Nate Romanowski, he’s been called to investigate the killings of several bald and golden eagles — a serious federal crime. The more he investigates both cases, the more someone wants him to go away.
Is it because of the missing woman or the dead eagles? Or are they somehow connected? The answers, when they come, will be even worse than he’d imagined.
19. Wolf Pack
A remotely-controlled drone is killing wild animals. After preliminary investigations, Joe finds out the drone belongs to a strange and affluent businessman whose son is dating his daughter Lucy.
Joe is requested to stand down by the FBI when he tries to set down the drone operator, which further adds to his suspicions. Meanwhile, bodies are piling up in alarming numbers around Joe’s neighborhood. He begins to fear the arrival of the Wolf Pack, a group of four ruthless murderers working for the Sinaloa cartel.
20. Long Range
Joe Pickett is called to assist in the rescue attempts for a grizzly assault victim, against his will he departs his district. One survivor of the grizzly’s rampage tells a strange story, but just as Joe starts to fear the assault isn’t what it appears, an emergency on his own territory brings him home.
Someone has been firing at a renowned local judge from an apparently inconceivable distance. While the judge was unharmed, his wife was gravely injured. And Joe’s best friend Nate Romanowski is blamed for the crime.
Now it is up to Joe to figure out what happened, who the gunman was, and why are they trying to incriminate Romanowski.
21. Dark Sky
When Joe Pickett is given the unpleasant duty of accompanying a Silicon Valley CEO on an elk shooting excursion, he accepts unwillingly. However, as they enter the woods, a vengeful hunter is hard on their tail. Joe must rely on his wits and his understanding of the environment to protect himself and his charge as they confront the worst man — and nature — can thro at them.
22. Shadows Reel
A day before the three Pickett girls come home for Thanksgiving, Joe is called out for a moose poaching incident that turns out to be something much more sinister. A local fishing guide has been brutally tortured and murdered.
Meanwhile, Marybeth opens an unmarked package at the library where she works and finds a photo album that belonged to an infamous Nazi official. Who left it there? And why?
She learns that during World War II, several Wyoming soldiers were in the group that fought to Hitler’s Eagles Nest retreat in the Alps — and one of them took the Fuhrer’s personal photo album. Did another take this one and keep it all these years?
When a close neighbor is murdered, Joe and Marybeth face new questions: Who is after the book? And how will they solve its mystery before someone hurts them…or their girls?
Meanwhile, Nate Romanowski is on the hunt for the man who stole his falcons and attacked his wife. Using a network of fellow falconers, Nate tracks the man from one city to another. Even as he grasps the true threat his quarry presents, Nate swoops in for the kill — and a stunning final showdown.
Now that we’ve finished looking at all the C.J. Box books in order, which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comment below.
Looking for more books in order?
Check out the Sandra Brown books in order.