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Widowmaker: A Novel (Mike Bowditch…

Widowmaker: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) (edition 2016)

by Paul Doiron (Author)

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626191,731 (3.89)1
Title:Widowmaker: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries)
Authors:Paul Doiron (Author)
Info:Minotaur Books (2016), 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Widowmaker by Paul Doiron



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Paul Doiron is one of my very favorite mystery writers, and his latest Mike Bowditch tale is a stellar seventh addition to a great series. (I'm glad to report that Mike—though he's supposedly growing and maturing as time passes—retains enough of his natural irascibility to keep things interesting). Widowmaker kicks off with a strange woman barging into Mike's life to tell him he has a half-brother he didn't know about; a half-brother who's missing and possibly in big trouble. From there we're off to the races, and as always the action is well done and the story told with great authority. There are quirky citizens and worthy villains and Doiron renders the Maine landscape and people unerringly…something that's a big part of my enjoyment of the series. (And not just people; his portrait of a mysterious wolf-dog hybrid is superb, and I want to plead right here that he comes back in a subsequent book). Anyway, if you're already a fan, you'll be happy to have this new chapter in your hands. And if you're not, what are you waiting for? ( )
  jimnicol | Feb 21, 2017 |
A decent read. ( )
  mtnmaxjax21 | Nov 22, 2016 |
This is the seventh book in Doiron’s crime series featuring Maine game warden Mike Bowditch. (In Maine, game wardens are full law-enforcement officers, with all the powers of state troopers: “They are the ‘off-road police.’”)

Mike, 28, has been a game warden for five years, and has been dating Stacy Stevens. Stacy is a wildlife biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Currently she is up north in Ashland, Maine, studying a dying-off of moose in the state, so Mike is on his own.

A beautiful but crass and manipulative woman, Amber Langstrom, shows up at Mike’s door, asking for his help in finding her son Adam. She claims Adam is the illegitimate son of Mike’s father, and therefore Mike’s half-brother. Mike’s father is dead, but when he was alive, he had been “the most notorious criminal in Maine: a legendary poacher turned cop killer and fugitive.” Mike has been struggling to get out from under the shadow of his dad’s reputation, but can’t resist finding out more about this missing 21-year-old who might in fact be related to him; in addition to everything else, his father was known as a “ladies’ man.”

Mike explains letting himself being talked into looking for Adam by admitting: ‘I have always had a foolhardy streak,” and allowing that he has “a chronic addiction to adrenaline.” But then there is also: just being stupid.

Without any proof from Amber except a photo in which Adam displays eyes remarkably like Mike’s dad’s (but also remarkably like Amber’s), Mike heads up to the area near the [fictional] Widowmaker Ski Resort, where Amber works. Adam has been living nearby there in a halfway house for convicted sex offenders released from jail. Adam served two years for the crime of statutory rape, which Adam’s mother insists was actually consensual sex.

Mike contacts Gary Pulsifer, the district warden for the area, for more information on the case. Mike decides that “everything [Gary] told me about Adam’s character - his cockiness, his fighting temper, his marksmanship with a deer rifle - made me think the missing man really might be my father’s second son.” [Because those characteristics are hereditary? And uniquely so? Really? The author is a really smart guy, and has consistently painted Mike as one too. It seems he wanted to give Mike an “excuse” to think this guy really was his brother, but this stretches credulity….]

In any event, there is much obfuscating by local residents who hate sex offenders; a variety of murders; and Mike’s own life is endangered.

There is also a side plot about a wolf dog that doesn’t have much to do with the rest of it, but actually was more interesting to me than the main plot, and much less irritating for a number of reasons.

Evaluation: This is probably my least favorite of all the Mike Bowditch books, but I like the series, and I love the focus on a Maine game warden that enables readers to learn a great deal of background about Maine wildlife. I’ll be hoping for better things with the next book! ( )
  nbmars | Oct 7, 2016 |
Bowditch still wrestles with the demons of his past, so when a woman shows up at his door to say he has a half-brother who needs to be rescued, he can't resist trying to help. Meanwhile, he has rescued a wolf from some druggies and is compelled to find a home for it. Traveling from Sebago to Rangeley in the winter, Mike finds himself in the middle of a community's antipathy toward convicted sex abusers who have been farmed out to work at a logging camp, where his alleged brother was last seen. The frigid temperatures permeate the setting and the community attitudes of this particular rural Maine. The ending does not provide an altogether satisfactory resolution. ( )
  sleahey | Jul 25, 2016 |
The ghost of his father continues to haunt him in the latest in the Game Warden Mike Bowditch series, Widowmaker. So too does a training film he saw on his first day as a cadet of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. That message five years ago stuck in his mind and regularly appears in his nightmares.

He had just been thinking about the film and the message delivered by the instructor when a strange vehicle appeared at the road down by the end of his drive minutes after he had gotten home on this January evening. That vehicle is a concern and he puts his gun belt back on to deal with the situation. What had been planned as a quiet evening at home by himself as his wildlife biologist girlfriend, Stacy, is out of town, is now on the backburner due to the red Grand Cherokee parked with somebody inside smoking. The driver turns out to be a 48 year old woman named Amber Langstrom.

First, she says she pulled over on the narrow road to make a call. Then she says she needs to use a restroom. Finally, she says she was sitting at the drive trying to work up the courage to come talk to Mike about his father, Jack Bowditch. The man is dead and buried, but his criminal actions in Maine are legendary and that legacy has been a heavy burned on Mike Bowditch. After coming up to the house, Amber Langstrom drops a bombshell on Mike.

She claims that she had a relationship with Jack Bowditch many years ago. It was a sexual relationship. If she is to be believed, this happened right before Mike’s world turned upside down, as his parents divorced and he moved away with his Mom. Amber Langstrom goes on to allege that her son, Adam, is Jack’s son making him Mike’s half-brother. Adam is missing and she believes Mike should look for him. Adam was recently released from prison after serving two years time for a conviction for having a sexual relationship with a minor. He was 17, she was 14, and they were in love until her parents found out. Adam’s life was forever changed and Mom is very angry as to what happened. Classified and registered as a sex offender, Adam has been out for three months and been following all the rules according to his mom. He has been working and living at a logging camp that serves as a halfway house for registered sex offenders with nowhere else to go. She is desperate for Mike’s help to find her missing son.

After some preliminary checking by phone and a lot of thought, Bowditch eventually makes the journey to the Widowmaker Ski Resort to start looking for Adam. The woods surrounding the resort may be lovely, dark, and deep, but they also hide many secrets. Secrets of a variety with lots of players determined to settle scores and keep things hidden in the snows of Maine.

Widowmmaker is the latest in the series that began with the Edgar award nominated The Poacher’s Son. Six books later, the central character Mike Bowditch continues to evolve and change as he gains wisdom and maturity. The mysteries and complexities of daily life, person al relationships, and other issues continue to be a background staple in this long running and very good mystery series.

Paul Doiron
Minotaur Books
June 2016
ISBN# 978-1-250-06370-0
Hardback (available in eBook and audio formats)
310 Pages

Material supplied for me to read and review by the good folks of the Plano Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2016 ( )
  kevinrtipple | Jul 16, 2016 |
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