It's an idyllic late-summer day in Saddlestring, Wyoming, and game warden Joe Pickett is fly-fishing with his two daughters when he stumbles upon the mutilated body of a moose. Whatever - or whoever - attacked the animal was ruthless: half the animal's face has been sliced away, the skin peeled back from the flesh. Shaken by the sight, Joe starts to investigate what he hopes in an isolated incident." "Days later, after the discovery of a small herd of mutilated cattle, Joe realizes this something much more terrifying than he could have imagined. Local authorities are quick to label the attacks the work of a grizzly bear, but Joe knows otherwise. The cuts on the moose and the cattle were too clean, too precise, to have been made by jagged teeth. Are the animals only practice for a killer about to move on to another, more challenging prey?" Soon afterward, Joe's worst fears are confirmed. The bodies of two men are found within hours of each other, in separate locations, their wounds eerily similar to those found on the moose and cattle. There's a vicious killer, a modern-day Jack the Ripper, on the loose in Saddlestring - and it appears his rampage is just beginning.
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April 05, 2005
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Excerpt from Trophy Hunt by C. J. Box
IN TWELVE-YEAR-OLD SHERIDAN Pickett's dream, she was in the Bighorn Mountains in the timber at the edge of a clearing. She was alone. Behind her, the forest was achingly silent. Before her, a quiet wind rippled through the long meadow grass in the clearing.
Then the clouds came, dark and imposing, roiling over the top of the mountains in a wall. Soon the sky was completely covered, a lid placed on a pot. In the center of the clouds was a lighter cloud that seemed to be lit from within. It grew bigger and closer, as if lowering itself to the earth. Black spoors of smoke snaked down in tendrils from the cloud, dropping into the trees. In moments, the smoke became ground-hugging mist that coursed through the tree trunks like soundless, rushing water. Then it seeped into the ground to rest, or to hide.
As quickly as the clouds had come, the sky cleared.
In her dream, she knew the mist stayed for a reason. The purpose, though, was beyond her understanding. When would it emerge, and why? Those were questions she couldn't answer.
Sheridan awoke with a start, and it took a few terrifying moments to realize that the darkness surrounding her was actually her bedroom, and that the breathy windlike stirring she heard was her little sister Lucy, asleep on the bunk beneath her bed.