Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: The Precipice: A Novel (Mike Bowditch #6) by Paul Doiron

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1483 KB
  • Print Length: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (June 16 2015)
  • Sold by: Macmillan CA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00Q20YD7S

Book Description

 In this riveting new novel from Edgar finalist Paul Doiron, Bowditch joins a desperate search for two missing hikers as Maine wildlife officials deal with a frightening rash of coyote attacks.

When two young female hikers disappear in the Hundred Mile Wilderness—the most remote stretch along the entire two-thousand mile Appalachian Trail—Maine game warden Mike Bowditch joins the search to find them. The police interview everyone they can find who came in contact with the college students and learn that the women were lovers who had been keeping their relationship secret from their Evangelical parents in Georgia.

When two corpses are discovered—the bones picked clean by coyotes—rumors spread that the women were stalked and killed by the increasingly aggressive canines. Faced with a statewide panic, Maine’s governor places an emergency bounty on every dead coyote, and wildlife officials are tasked with collecting the carcasses.

Despite some misgivings, Bowditch does his grisly job. But he finds his complacency challenged by his new girlfriend, the brilliant but volatile biologist Stacey Stevens, who insists coyotes merely scavenged the bodies after the women were murdered. When Stacey herself disappears on the outskirts of the Hundred Mile Wilderness, Bowditch realizes that locating her means he must also discover the truth behind what happened to the two hikers. Were the young women really killed by coyotes or, as Stacey insisted, were they murdered by the most dangerous animal in the North Woods?

About the Author

 Paul Doiron is the author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels, including The Poacher's Son, which won the the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, a Macavity Award, and a Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and the Maine Literary Award for "Best Fiction of 2010." PopMatters named it to its Best Fiction of 2010 list.

His second book in the Mike Bowditch series, Trespasser, won the Maine Literary Award for crime fiction, was an American Booksellers Association Indie Bestseller and has been called a "masterpiece of high-octane narrative" by Booklist.

The third novel, Bad Little Falls, was a Bookscan Bestseller and is a nominee for the RT Reviewers Choice Award.

Massacre Pond, the fourth in the series, was an Indie Next pick and an Indie Favorite, as well as Bookscan Bestseller.

The Mike Bowditch novels have been translated into ten languages: German, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Romanian, Slovenian, Hungarian, and Czech. The UK editions of all three books will be published in 2013 by Constable & Robinson.

He is Editor Emeritus of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, having served as Editor in Chief from 2005 to 2013, before stepping down to write full time. A native of Maine, he attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English, and he holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He is a former member of the Maine Arts Commission and a current member of the Maine Humanities Council. Paul is a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing and outdoor recreation and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine.

The Bangor Daily News named Paul one of its 12 Mainers to Watch in 2012.

My Review

The Precipice by Paul Doiron is the sixth book in the Mike Bowditch mystery series. Mike is a game warden in Maine. He is young and impetuous but trying hard now in this sixth book to conform and follow the rules. I just adore this series. As with the earlier books, I could not put The Precipice down.  I was riveted by author Doiron's words and the unfolding story.

I love Maine and the setting was what first attracted me to this series. Doiron, a resident of Maine, brilliantly captures the essence and beauty of the isolated state. My husband's Quebecois father has 17 brothers and sisters, about half of whom emigrated to Maine. They were lumberjacks in the woods of Maine. My husband briefly lived there as a child. We rode through the area - Greenville, Monson, Guilford and Dover-Foxcroft - when we were visiting his family in the Skowhegen area. As we rode through the forests I imagined my husband's uncles working as lumberjacks there. I wasn't really familiar with the Appalachian Trail at the time but learned about it in North Georgia at Neel's Gap which is a rest stop for the trail a few years back. Now I am completely fascinated by it and was so eager to read this book! Fascinated enough to hike it someday...never say never. It did not disappoint. I am sorry I've finished reading it.

As with the earlier Bowditch novels, we follow Mike as he traverses his personal and professional lives. His friend Charley's daughter Stacey figures prominently in the novel. He's figured out that she is the one but she hasn't yet! Having seen the thru-hikers at Neel's Gap (and thinking they all looked and smelled like they were homeless until I found out what was going on) I could easily picture the hikers in this novel. The Precipice is filled with fascinating characters. Doiron has captured the people of Maine and the hikers perfectly.

As a reader, we are engaged right from the start. The story follows the hunt for two young women who have disappeared while hiking the trail in one of the toughest parts, the Hundred-Mile Wilderness. Were they being hunted by coyotes? Or by a man? Stacey, a biologist believes that the coyotes would have scavenged the bodies but never killed them. Why is everyone so eager to accept that coyotes are killers? And who are these Dow's? Everyone is terrified of this horrific family. Did they play a role in the fate of the missing young women? I was kept guessing until the end...everyone was a suspect in my eyes at one time or another.

I highly recommend this entire series. The Precipice can be read as a stand-alone if you have not read the earlier books. It is a great read. The Precipice is one of the best mystery-thrillers I've read this year.


Here I am in Maine in 2008 (yes we rode there from Vancouver). This is Low's Bridge which is located in the area of Maine where The Precipice is set:

One more:

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