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The Bone Orchard: A Novel (Mike Bowditch…

The Bone Orchard: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) (edition 2014)

by Paul Doiron

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898135,585 (3.91)3
Title:The Bone Orchard: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries)
Authors:Paul Doiron
Info:Minotaur Books (2014), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:New, Adults, Mysteries
Tags:Maine, warden service

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The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron



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Mike Bowditch may have left the Warden Service, but it hasn't left him. From his reaction to a couple of sports who think they're above the rules (Mike comes across them in his new life as a fishing guide) to his inability to keep his nose out of an imbroglio involving his former partner, Bowditch shows how easily he can revert to the talented yet unruly persona that kept him in so much hot water in his former law-enforcement life. He does try to control these impulses, but then his former partner is shot and all that goes out the window, it's game on. Things get exciting, as usual.

I've been a big fan since the first of Paul Doiron's Mike Bowditch mysteries. They're consistently well made and engaging, and his depiction of Maine people and places rings wonderfully true. I never feel like he's wrestling the characters into some predetermined path, either. The Bone Orchard holds to this high standard, and has the added value of character refinement, as Doiron takes Bowditch in a new direction which might ultimately turn back on itself, but which provides plenty of opportunity for exploration before it does.
( )
  jimnicol | Feb 21, 2017 |
John Bedford Lloyd
  jmail | Mar 21, 2016 |
I had a déjà vu feeling when I started this book. The character reminded me of one that I will never forget. When I was about half way through The Bone Orchard by Paul Doiron, I realized that I had previously read another book in the same series. Of course I did not remember the name of the book or the author but the character stood out! I looked the book up and found out that the other book was Bad Little Falls. I was impressed back then with the author's attention to detail and nature and of course character of Mike Bowditch.

That love of nature and appreciation for the state of Maine that Mike Bowditch had as a Maine Game Warden in the other book was still there. Before, Mike was a reckless man but now he figured a lot of things out in life. He still doesn’t understand women but that is a part of his charm and now he has a new conviction. He can see the consequences before they happen. He has come a long way from the boy whose father had taken people’s lives. Now I wish that I had all the books in this series so I could get the whole picture of Mike Bowditch.

Paul Doiron has written a very exciting mystery with many moments where you will probably be holding your breath to see how things resolve. I really enjoyed the mystery and the author tucks important situations like PTSD and spousal abuse in the story. Everything flows seamlessly and it is like you are on a boat that is carried along with the story along with dangers places in the river where the boat could easily overturn.

Paul Doiron is a master with characters. Mike Bowditch has matured since the other book. I was fascinated and interested in the Mike in the earlier book and love Mike in this book. He is finding himself.

The mystery is great, and does have some twists to it but it is the characters that drive me to read the story. I can hardly wait for the next book in this series. ( )
  Carolee888 | Apr 19, 2015 |
My wife picked this up at the library because she thought I would like it - She Was Right ! I was tottaly unfamiliar with this author and actually kind of sad that my first book of his is #5 with his primary character, Mike Bowditch a game warden in Maine. I am definitely reading all his other books - in order, starting with "The Poacher's Son" - his first.

The Bone Orchard is a murder mystery - well written easy to read, and fast paced. The author weaves in aspects of life in regards to our returning veterans including PTSD, traumatic injuries, and their impact on the "wounded warriors". Unfortunately, with our all-volunteer military (often serving multiple combat tours) these long lasting aspects of their service will probably have impacts on society for years to come.

I especially enjoy the author weaving details and descriptions of the natural world into his narrative. This use of the beauty of nature is very effective and never reeks of being done just as a device. I imagine the authors love of nature and the outdoors is simply a powerful part of his "person". ( )
  labdaddy4 | Mar 28, 2015 |
I was very happy to see Paul Doiron had written another book in the Mike Bowditch series about a Maine game warden. (In Maine, game wardens are full law-enforcement officers, with all the powers of state troopers: “They are the ‘off-road police.’”)

Mike, 27, was a game warden for three years, but he recently resigned to become a fishing guide in the rugged outland Down East. (In Maine, “Down East” refers to the coast of the U.S. state of Maine from Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border.) Mike had worked in the Midcoast of Maine (between Portland and Acadia National Park) but had been transferred Down East because of a number of acts of insubordination. He got tired, as he said, of being resented and criticized, so he decided to change careers.

Two months into his new position, he heard that his former supervisor, friend, defender, and mentor, Sergeant Kathy Frost, had been suspended and was the target of an official inquiry and public outrage after having been forced to kill a suicidal Afghan war veteran. Mike goes down to see her and offer support, and finds himself in the middle of a lethal attack on Kathy by a sniper. Mike is injured, but Kathy may be dead; she is in a coma and no one knows if she will recover.

Mike, as usual, can’t keep himself out of the investigation. He knows a lot of the wardens and police consider him an “arrogant asshole,” but he thinks that if that epithet means he trusts his own intelligence over the collective wisdom of the state police, then he will plead guilty to that description. In addition, he feels obliged to help take care of Kathy’s older brother Kurt, a Vietnam vet with a serious drinking problem. In a nice meta touch (meta in terms of the challenge of creating nuanced characterization), Mike tries to figure out just who Kurt is:

"Every time I thought I’d gotten a handle on who Kurt Eklund was, he’d do or say something to slip from my grasp. He was a miserable mess of a person who deserved understanding or, at least, compassion. No, he was a cruel and manipulative asshole with no regard for others.”

Mike saves some lives, threatens a lot more, and of course, solves the crime. It causes him to rethink leaving the profession, and gets the other wardens to rethink their negative assessment of him.

Discussion: Doiron is a good writer, the former editor of Down East Magazine, and a Registered Maine Guide. He clearly loves his state, and will have you ordering travel literature from the Maine Visitors Bureau!

This series is not without romantic elements, but they were not really of much interest to me. (And in any event, Doiron is much better at limning male characters than females.) Mike’s love affair with Maine is much more compelling, in my opinion.

The title is not really all that descriptive, except in a metaphorical sense.

Evaluation: This is a good detective series with excellent background information on Maine and on what it means to work as a warden there. It is not necessary to have read the previous books, but as with any series, the story is more meaningful if you start it from the beginning. ( )
  nbmars | Oct 9, 2014 |
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In the aftermath of a family tragedy, Mike Bowditch has left the Maine Warden Service and is working as a fishing guide in the North Woods. But when his mentor Sgt. Kathy Frost is forced to kill a troubled war veteran in an apparent case of "suicide by cop," he begins having second thoughts about his decision. Now Kathy finds herself the target of a government inquiry and outrage from the dead soldier's platoon mates. Soon she finds herself in the sights of a sniper, as well...… (more)

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