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Thursday 18 December 2014

‘Massacre Pond’ by Paul Doiron

Published by Constable,
16 October 2014.
ISBN: 9781472114662

Game warden Mike Bowditch is called out by his enigmatic friend Billy Cronk, now working for local landowner Elizabeth Moore. Someone has slaughtered a number of moose on her private and fenced estate, and only Billy had the key ...

So many American crime novels are urban that it was a treat to read one set so firmly in the country. I enjoyed Mike Bowditch’s backwoodsman narrative voice (what sort of insect is a ‘no-see-um’?), and the Maine forest countryside was beautifully described. Mike felt like a real person, with both strengths and flaws, and his relationships with others in the unit were convincingly handled, particularly his duel with the difficult Lieutenant. The action moved swiftly, and there was a satisfying finish which was realistic rather than cosy. Doiron brought out both sides of the argument in relation to Moore’s estate, which she wants to turn into a national park (local jobs now vs conservation and possible future jobs) and Moore herself was an enjoyable autocrat who helped drive the plot.

An unusual detective in an vividly realised setting. This is good as a stand-alone, but as Mike’s past surfaces from time to time, you might like to start with the first novel, The Poacher’s Son.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

 Paul Doiron is 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 the author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels, including The Poacher's Son, which won the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel and Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and the Maine Literary Award for "Best Fiction of 2010. 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. His third novel in the series, Bad Little Falls, will be published on August 7.  He is the editor in chief of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, Down East Books, and 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.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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