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After a mysterious woman gives Mike Bowditch disturbing news, the game warden goes looking for a family secret in a Maine ski town and discovers a vigilante who seems to be targeting sex offenders.
The result is a violent, suspenseful, fast-paced tale written in Doiron’s customary tight, vivid prose, with his keen eye for both idiosyncratic Maine characters and the beauty of the natural landscape.
In addition to his ability to create an extraordinary sense of place, Doiron delivers a host of complex characters who are just full of surprises. Adding a wolf dog to the cast brings a dash of Jack London's lyricism to the narrative. The suspense is strong and the action is well rendered.
The seventh Mike Bowditch novel (after The Precipice) continues to deliver vivid descriptions of rural Maine, a satisfying mystery (this one with tantalizing loose ends), and a conflicted main character. Those who relish outdoor mysteries, especially ones set in New England, will appreciate this latest entry.
Doiron is skilled at balancing action – the hallmark of mystery series – with rich character development. From the beginning, Bowditch is someone readers come to care about. He has his foibles, but they serve chiefly to make him more intriguing and appealing. In this regard, “Widowmaker” marks a clear turn in Mike Bowditch’s increasingly nuanced character.
Fans of the series are already well-acquainted with Bowditch’s strengths as a game warden (a fiendish dedication to the job, boundless energy) and his weaknesses (refusal to play by the game warden’s rules, readiness to shoot off his mouth when silence would be a better strategy). It’s unfailingly entertaining material and even if events often grow chaotic, it’s good to spend time in the ever valiant Bowditch’s company.
Paul Doiron is emerging as one of the new generation of American crime authors with six good books and an Edgar nomination to his credit. This is the seventh novel featuring Maine game warden Mike Bowditch and it’s the best of a fine series. Doiron’s love for the Maine landscape and his knowledge of the duties and expectations of game wardens makes this series even more fascinating to outsider readers.