Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Format: paperback galley - 324 pgs
Characters: Mike Bowditch, Jack Bowditch, Charley Stevens
Subject: father-son relations; Maine Warden service
Setting: Maine wilderness
Source: Barnes and Noble First Look Club
Challenge: ARCs completed
My first participation in Barnes and Nobles' First Look Club. This is a very impressive debut novel/mystery. The author, who is editor of DownEast magazine, lives right here in my neck of the woods. He presents us with a well-defined cast of characters with a wide range of motivations. The setting is lush and well painted, and the plot is a true page-turner. Mike Bowditch, 24 yrs old, is a Maine Game Warden whose father is a suspect in a double murder. The book starts quickly with Mike tracking a bear on the loose who has stolen a pig; when he returns to his cabin hot, tired, thirsty, and lonely, he gets a call from his father who says he needs help. Mike hasn't seen him in over two years, and learns the next morning that Jack Bowditch is suspected of killing two people in the North Woods of Maine, and has escaped into those woods.
The following chapters are full of flashbacks to a less than happy childhood, a lousy relation with his father, his current on again/off again contact with his mother and step-father, descriptions of his previous and current relationship with his girlfriend Sarah, and Mike's struggle to decide where his loyalties lie. Will he be able to keep his job and remain objective when the very people tracking his father are his fellow game wardens and the state police? The action is concise and believable. There is a vast array of possible suspects. Mike is truly conflicted, trying to balance his feelings for his father with his desire to do his job and his need to feel validated in many of his life choices. NO spoilers. It is definitely recommended if you like good characters and lots of action. It is especially recommended if you like the great outdoors, Maine, and wildlife. Let's hope that Warden Mike Bowditch appears in future works.
The author Paul Doiron is scheduled to do a book signing at one of our local libraries in May when it is published (pub date is showing as May 11th). You can bet I'm going to be there!
Many thanks to Barnes and Noble for the copy of the book and the great online discussion at the First Look Club.