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Three-Inch Teeth: A Joe Pickett Novel


Three-Inch Teeth: A Joe Pickett Novel

If I am ever in a jam and could only call on one fictional character to help, Joe Pickett would be on my short list.

The beloved game warden is back in his home territory of Wyoming and facing what may be the most dangerous situation of his already remarkably busy career. The title of C. J. Box’s latest book, THREE-INCH TEETH, refers to the typical size of a grizzly bear’s teeth. The opening chapter depicts a brutal grizzly attack involving Clay Hutmacher Jr., who is torn apart while fly fishing in the Twelve Sleep River, and Joe is one of the first to respond.

"THREE-INCH TEETH is literally a one-sit read that starts out big and never lets up on the intensity meter."

Joe is reluctant to share with the other members of the law enforcement community on site that he is deathly afraid of bears. What makes this case that much more personal is that Clay was about to be engaged to Joe’s daughter, Sheridan. Both the Hutmachers and Picketts are devastated, and Clay Sr. wants this killer grizzly tracked down and eliminated as soon as possible.

Adding to the commotion is the almost immediate presence of the animal advocacy group known as the Mama Bears, who personally tag and track all types of bears around the country. They learn that the grizzly’s name is Tisiphone, and she’s been suffering after watching all three of her cubs killed in a hit-and-run highway accident.

Joe and a group of expert grizzly trackers set out in search of Tisiphone, who regrettably finds them first, attacking and gravely injuring one of the team members before heading back into the forest.

At this point, Box brings in a separate but soon-to-be related story line about an ex-rodeo star who has been released from prison. Dallas Cates wants revenge on the people who sent him away, and Joe is one of them. When he learns of the grizzly attacks and Joe’s involvement, he decides to fashion an extremely devious plan with the help of his latest squeeze and a couple of ex-cons he met while on the inside.

To begin with, Cates hits up a small-town museum he remembers as having a stuffed giant grizzly bear on display. He breaks in, steals the dangerous parts of the animal --- head, paws, etc. --- and kills a responding police officer before burning the entire place to the ground. He then creates a working grizzly suit and plans to use it around the Wyoming territory where everyone on his hit list lives. The hope is that Tisiphone will be blamed for all of these attacks after already having killed in the same area. Joe knows something is up based purely on the distance between these incidents, but he has no idea who is involved and why.

The Picketts are on high alert when they learn, well after the fact, that Cates has been released from prison. Joe’s wife is especially disturbed as she remembers the threats he made against them while behind bars. This sets the tone for a barn burner of a finale with vengeful criminals and a killer grizzly at large, while Joe attempts to protect both his family and his home.

THREE-INCH TEETH is literally a one-sit read that starts out big and never lets up on the intensity meter.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on March 2, 2024

Three-Inch Teeth: A Joe Pickett Novel
by C. J. Box

  • Publication Date: February 27, 2024
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0593331346
  • ISBN-13: 9780593331347