The Precipice: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Series) by Paul Doiron (Minotaur Books, $26.99, 336 pages; Minotaur, $9.99, 416 pages)
The Paul Doiron/Mike Bowditch thriller series continues with The Precipice, Doiron’s sixth novel, and it is as fresh as ever. In this installment, Bowditch, a game warden in Maine, is called to search for two missing female college students on the Appalachian Trail. The story moves quickly, but Doiron’s pacing is excellent.
Initially, it appears as if Bowditch has made a mistake in judgment and let the killer go. Then, a local ne’er do well distracts lawmen from their quest for the truth. Next, Bowditch’s girlfriend, Stacey, who works for the Department of Natural Resources, joins him in the search. Then she goes missing.
In a frenzy of fear, locals blame the fate of these young women on a rash of recent coyote sightings. As the two come closer to the truth, the story moves beyond the thriller manhunt and takes a deeper look into the human psyche. The Precipice delves into the psychology of fear, the propensity for people to make assumptions and rush to judgment, human sexuality, and religion.
There are few stories that don’t tackle good versus evil in some manner, if not unintentionally. When a whodonit takes on broader themes and pulls it off, it is worth the read. Writer Doiron has found his voice. And for his fans, there’s more good news. The next installment, Widowmaker, is already in the works.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
Dave Moyer is a public school superintendent in Illinois, and is the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel.