There is just something about the woods that draws me. I’m compelled to walk in timber whenever I have a chance. There’s something about the wildness of even the smallest bits of brush and bramble and tall tree canopy that evokes mystery, and if the woods is dark and deep enough, danger.
And in Paul Doiron’s series of books set in the Maine woods I get to walk in the wilderness of the Maine woods, someplace I’ve never been, but familiar nonetheless. Not only do I get to walk in it, and learn from it, I’m walking beside Game Warden Mike Bowditch as he tries to solve a new mystery in each volume. Mike is an “everyman” protagonist, fighting a boss who resents him, his father’s fabled but despicable past as a poacher, government bureaucracy, greedy developers who would pave a wilderness for a nickel’s profit. Toss in a fist fight and a romantic interest–or two, and Mike’s an interesting lawman to walk beside through the woods as he tries to right a wrong or two. You will also participate in the culture of the fascinating people of the area as they struggle to adapt to the modern world. Or not.
The Poachers Son, Trespasser, Bad Little Falls, and Massacre Pond are all great reads. Start anywhere, but read them all. Mike Bowditch is a great American character. He belongs in a select group of fictional characters who are law enforcement officers–Tony Hillerman’s Jim Chee, Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander, Deon Meyer’s Benny Greisl, and Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire come to mind.
And anytime is a great time for a walk in the woods. Or a good read.
Reviewed by Robert Leonard