Author: Paul Doiron
Series or Standalone: Book 4 in the Mike Bowditch Series
Massacre Pond is Edgar finalist Paul Doiron’s superb new novel featuring Game Warden Mike Bowditch and a beautiful, enigmatic woman whose mission to save the Maine wilderness may have incited a murder
On an unseasonably hot October morning, Bowditch is called to the scene of a bizarre crime: the corpses of seven moose have been found senselessly butchered on the estate of Elizabeth Morse, a wealthy animal rights activist who is buying up huge parcels of timberland to create a new national park.
What at first seems like mindless slaughter—retribution by locals for the job losses Morse’s plan is already causing in the region—becomes far more sinister when a shocking murder is discovered and Mike’s investigation becomes a hunt to find a ruthless killer. In order to solve the controversial case, Bowditch risks losing everything he holds dear: his best friends, his career as a law enforcement officer, and the love of his life.
The beauty and magnificence of the Maine woods is the setting for a story of suspense and violence when one powerful woman’s missionary zeal comes face to face with ruthless cruelty.
I had never heard of Paul Doiron prior to reading this book. The title grabbed me, and the plot and pacing of the book made it hard to put down.
Unlike traditional cop yarns, the protagonist in this book, Mike Bowditch, is a game warden, used to dealing with wildlife crimes such as poaching. Now, he’s involved with the slaughter of innocent wildlife and a murder.
The character of Mike Bowditch was well-developed, especially with regard to some of his inner-struggles about his career, his love life, and his family. I got a sense that Bowditch had been on the cusp of losing his job, which affected the way he interacted with his superiors and others around him. I’m interested to know what happened, and how he got to this point in his career. I’m going to have to go back to the start of the Bowditch series and get to know him from the beginning. Throw in his reaction to some heartbreaking family news, what you have is a fairly complex protagonist – not as deep as James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux, but Burke has had many more books to develop Robicheaux’s character. With Doiron’s Mike Bowditch, we’re only four books in.
Having never been to Maine, I was forced to rely on Doiron’s descriptions. He was very successful in using words and phrases to paint a beautiful mental picture of the sights, smells, and sounds of what seems like a beautiful, majestic wilderness area. His descriptions of the area’s flora and fauna really made me feel like I was there, walking through the woods with Bowditch.
Bottom line: I really enjoyed reading this book, and will read more by this author. The book is filled with riche descriptions, the plot is believable and flows nicely, and the character development is solid.