Rated of 5
Great mix of Plot, Character Development, and Atmosphere
Most mysteries seem to either have a great story with stereotypical characters or good characters but a weak plot. This book reads like a novel, not like most mysteries. I haven't read Paul Doiron's first book, "The Poacher's Son", but I ordered it as soon as I finished this book.
Mike Bowditch is a young game warden in Maine, who is called to an accident site in which a woman collided with a deer--- only to find no woman and no deer, only an empty car. The state trooper who shows up a short time later is convinced that the woman got a ride from someone she called, that someone else came and took the deer for food, and that everything is fine. Somehow Mike has the (correct) feeling that this wasn't the case.
Doiron does an excellent job of populating the book with a variety of real people (or at least they feel real) living in rural Maine. With just a few sentences he seems to give each character an identity and just enough back story to make everyone come alive without bogging down the mystery. The story moves, and related story lines such as the other cases that Bowditch is handling, his family history, and his relationship with his girlfriend all are covered without ever feeling like the book is going off into tangents or dragging on. This is a very well written, tightly constructed book that I very much enjoyed.
I often get bored of mysteries about two thirds of the way through, but this book held my attention to the very end. I'd definitely recommend it.