Tag Archives: The Poacher’s Son

Not to Touch the Earth

Massacre Pond (nook book)

Massacre Pond: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Series #4) by Paul Doiron (St. Martin’s Press, $15.99, 336 pages)

Paul Doiron’s fourth novel Massacre Pond continues the Mike Bowditch saga. Bowditch is a game warden in Maine who struggles with his internal demons mostly attributed to his rebel father, a poacher and key figure in the introduction to the series in Doiron’s debut novel, The Poacher’s Son.

This reviewer had not read any of the author’s previous books. Upon researching his preceding works, it became clear that readers’ thoughts on them are decidedly mixed. This book is of fine quality, meaning that either earlier commentaries are off base or Doiron has matured into being a solid storyteller.

In Massacre Pond, Bowditch is called to investigate the slaughter of seven moose on private property, which is intended to become a wildlife sanctuary in the midst of a logging community. The idea of a sanctuary angers many natives, as outsider and conservationist Elizabeth Moore is perceived as an arrogant do-gooder throwing her money around at the expense of jobs for the locals. Owners of the local mill are less than thrilled with Moore’s presence.

A dull but good-hearted caretaker of the Morse property, Billy Cronk, is central to the initial events and eventual climax of the story – entangled in a web of power and money, although his motives are as pure as any of the book’s myriad of characters.

Bowditch is somewhat self-absorbed but is genuine enough to be likable. And this is part of the attraction of the story. The characters are all just complicated enough to provide a touch of reality to the tale; part of a genre in which plot is typically everything and depth and complexity of characters is provided short shrift.

Bowditch appears to be more of a cop than a game warden. If there are lines of division in real life, they are not evident in the telling of this story. The ending is an obvious – bordering on cheesy, lead-in to the next book in the series. However, overall, this novel, in and of itself, is a solid one. Doiron’s writing and storytelling surpass many similar attempts at crime/suspense/mystery/intrigue. So, without respect to what may have led up to this novel or what may come next, Massacre Pond is worth the read.

Well recommended.

Dave Moyer

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Mr. Moyer is an educator and the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel.

You can read a review of Trespasser: A Novel by Paul Doiron here:



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She’s Gone

Trespasser: A Novel by Paul Doiron (Minotaur Books, $14.99, 320 pages)

I could never pass the Montpelier mansion without reflecting that this conflict between Maine’s well-to-do newcomers and people like the Barters had deeper roots than most people understood. Life really is like a tree that way. No one considers how much history is hidden underground.

The setting is the wilds of Maine, the time is current day and the subject is a missing young woman. The narrator of Trespasser is a twenty-five-year-old game warden named Mike who takes his job very seriously. When he’s assigned to investigate a collision between a car and a deer, Mike is left wondering what happened to the driver of the car. He’s a bit more than dedicated; rather, he’s obsessed with hunting down the driver to the exclusion of his girlfriend, Sarah. Sarah has just about run out of patience after spending too much time alone in their ramshackle cottage.

It’s a whole different world out there in the Maine woods. Poachers monitor the police band of their radios in order to swoop in and score fresh deer meat. Bored bullies race around private property on all-terrain vehicles destroying trees and land. The locals and the summer people are very different in both their view of life and their finances. The contrast is portrayed in well-written prose by author Paul Doiron. He’s an expert on his subject because he’s not only a writer; he’s also a Registered Maine Guide who enjoys the outdoors.

The general feel of this book is gritty and highly detailed. Mike is considerably more mature than most twenty-five-year-olds and his vocabulary is quite extensive. Perhaps Doiron wants it that way, or maybe he is just not able to turn down his intellect and his Yale education. Regardless, the book is very engaging and caused this reader to stretch a bit when the charm of the tourist side of Maine was peeled away to reveal the hard-scrabble existence lived by the natives.

Well recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Trespasser (nook book)

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