Sunday, March 21, 2010
The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron
Pub. Date: May 2010
Set in the wilds of Maine, this is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive—-his own father.
Game warden Mike Bowditch returns home one evening to find an alarming voice from the past on his answering machine: his father, Jack, a hard-drinking womanizer who makes his living poaching illegal game. An even more frightening call comes the next morning from the police: They are searching for the man who killed a beloved local cop the night before—-and his father is their prime suspect. Jack has escaped from police custody, and only Mike believes that his tormented father might not be guilty.
Now, alienated from the woman he loves, shunned by colleagues who have no sympathy for the suspected cop killer, Mike must come to terms with his haunted past. He knows firsthand Jack’s brutality, but is the man capable of murder? Desperate and alone, Mike strikes up an uneasy alliance with a retired warden pilot, and together the two men journey deep into the Maine wilderness in search of a runaway fugitive. There they meet a beautiful woman who claims to be Jack’s mistress but who seems to be guarding a more dangerous secret. The only way for Mike to save his father now is to find the real killer—-which could mean putting everyone he loves in the line of fire.
The Poacher’s Son is a sterling debut of literary suspense. Taut and engrossing, it represents the first in a series featuring Mike Bowditch.
I received this book as part of Barnes and Nobles First Look Book Club. This was the sixth First Look I have participated in and I highly recommend the experience to anyone who loves to read and discuss books. It is really hard for me to make actual face to face book clubs for a variety of reasons, but since I can do these online and discuss the book with lots of different readers through posts it really adds to the story for me. Other readers will point out things I missed or connections are made through reading the thoughts of others.
This is the first book in a series about Mike Bowditch, a game warden for the state of Maine. I felt like the woods and lakes were described so well they were almost characters in the story. Oddly I've read quite a few books set in Maine lately but I have never been there myself. I guess I am vacationing from my couch at home!
Mike has an estranged relationship with his father, his parents divorced when he was nine and he spent most of his time with his mother and his step-father. While he did seek out opportunities to spend more time with his father, rarely did his father seek him out. Through a series of reminisces we see what his life was like at the times he was with his father and a picture of Jack Bowditch starts to emerge. It is ironic that Mike became a game warden since his father was a life long poacher.
The story unfolds in a very engrossing manner, at the end of each chapter I wanted to go on to the next to see what would happen next. Mike is so convinced that his father is innocent of the crime he is accused of and does everything he can think of to prove his father's innocence. He alienates all the people in his life who care about him, from his girlfriend to his boss to his fellow warden and mentor. I can't wait to see what Mike encounters in his next adventure!