Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Trespasser by Paul Doiron

Author: Paul Doiron
Publisher-Format: MacMillan Audio, 9:39, 320 page equivalent
Narrator: Henry Leyva
Year of publication: 2011
Subject:Maine Game wardens 
Setting: coastal Maine
Series: Mike Bowditch (2)
Genre: mystery- law enforcement professionals
Source: public library download
Recommended? - Yes if you like mysteries or Maine

 In this second installment of the (mis)adventures of Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch, Paul Doiron has given us a protagonist who is still recovering from the events in the first book of the series, The Poacher's Son.  While this one could stand alone, I think readers will not grasp the full extent of Mike's inner turmoil, and the demons he is still wrestling with unless they've read the first one. 

The book opens when Mike is called by a demanding and irate citizen who cannot understand why the warden must follow certain procedures before just barging off to "arrest those dirt-bags."  At the same time, he is called to the scene of a car-deer encounter on a dark, foggy road (an not uncommon occurence in Maine), only to discover that the deer (presumably dead) is gone, and the driver of the vehicle is missing. When an obnoxious state trooper finally appears on the scene (he should have been the one to handle the case to begin with) and dismisses the missing driver with a remark that she was probably trying to avoid an OUI, Mike is outraged but too tired and muddy to stick around and challenge the other officer.  Once at home, the niggling clues that don't fit the trooper's assessment begin to bother him, and his rebellious and hard-headed nature once again kicks in.  What happened to the girl?  Is she OK?  When he tries to find out, he meets roadblocks at every corner, while his inner radar continues to pick up vibes that something is definitely wrong.  When the girl is found dead, the town and local cops are spooked by the resemblance to another murder seven years ago.  From there on, we watch as Mike becomes a self-destructive one man posse bent on proving everyone else wrong.

Girlfriend Sarah has returned, but doesn't appear inclined to make their relationship more permanent until Mike agrees to counseling.  Mike's boss Kathy has only a cameo appearance in this one, as do his old friends the retired game warden Charley and his wife Ora.  Once again, the book is replete with lush descriptions of Maine's natural settings, its wildlife, and its citizens; it shows us again the very intense and necessary role the Game Wardens play in law enforcement in Maine. There are bodies, bad guys, suspects, and bosses galore.  Doiron shows us the close relation between the local sheriffs, police departments, the state police and the game wardens.  His portrait of Maine continues to enlighten and delight, and his mystery plotting is spot-on.

I do hope that Mike and Sarah can get their relationship back onto a positive track and begin moving forward.  Mike is young (he's only been a warden for two years) and he has a lot to learn in the life department, but readers have become invested in getting this young man to adulthood, and look forward to the next novel in the series.


  1. personally, I hope he drops Sarah.
    but that is just me. :-)

    ..and I like mysteries and I like Maine.

  2. Caite--I'm really ambivalent about Sarah's character. I can't decide if she really is devoted to Mike, or hopes she can remake him. In either case, she appears remarkably immature.

  3. Thank you for the thoughtful review. Without giving away too much away I will say that Mike's romantic life takes an unexpected turn in the next book, BAD LITTLE FALLS, which comes out in August.

  4. I really liked both of these as well! And so excited Paul Doiron stopped by and now I know when the next one will be coming out!


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