Summary and book reviews of The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron

The Poacher's Son

By Paul Doiron

The Poacher's Son
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: May 2010,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2011,
    336 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Megan Shaffer

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About this Book

Book Summary

Set in the wilds of Maine, this is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive---his own father.

Game warden Mike Bowditch returns home one evening to find an alarming voice from the past on his answering machine: his father, Jack, a hard-drinking womanizer who makes his living poaching illegal game. An even more frightening call comes the next morning from the police: They are searching for the man who killed a beloved local cop the night before---and his father is their prime suspect. Jack has escaped from police custody, and only Mike believes that his tormented father might not be guilty.

Now, alienated from the woman he loves, shunned by colleagues who have no sympathy for the suspected cop killer, Mike must come to terms with his haunted past. He knows firsthand Jack’s brutality, but is the man capable of murder? Desperate and alone, Mike strikes up an uneasy alliance with a retired warden pilot, and together the two men journey deep into the Maine wilderness in search of a runaway fugitive. There they meet a beautiful woman who claims to be Jack’s mistress but who seems to be guarding a more dangerous secret. The only way for Mike to save his father now is to find the real killer---which could mean putting everyone he loves in the line of fire.

Prologue

When I was nine years old, my father took me deep into the Maine woods to see an old prisoner of war camp. My mom had just announced she was leaving him, this time for good. In a few weeks, she said, the two of us were chucking this sorry, redneck life and moving in with her sister down in Portland. The road trip to the wild country around Spencer Lake was my dad’s idea. I guess he saw it as his last chance to win me over to his way of thinking. God knows he didn’t really want custody of me. I’d just get in the way of his whiskey and his women. But it mattered to him that I saw his side of things.

And so, one rainy morning, we drove off into the mountains in search of the past.

It was a grueling drive. The logging road was muddy and deeply rutted from the heavy trucks carrying timber out of the clear cuts, and it was all my dad’s tired old Ford could do to climb Bear Hill. Pausing at the top, we looked out across the Moose River valley to the ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

The Poacher's Son is stocked with excitement and trepidation. Peering over the shoulder of Mike Bowditch as he combs through the eerie silence of the North Woods is pure nail-biting fun. Paul Doiron expertly takes hundreds of miles of largely uninhabited terrain and pares them down to a veritable base camp providing readers with easy access to both the thrill of the story and the breathtaking beauty of Maine's northern exposure. Loaded with unexpected twists, The Poacher's Son takes you to the edge and leaves you begging for more.   (Reviewed by Megan Shaffer).

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Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Doiron will have his hands full trying to top his accomplished debut.

Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week

Starred Review. Equally a story of relationships and an outdoor adventure, this evocative thriller is sure to put Doiron on several 2010 must-read lists.

Booklist

Starred Review. One hopes this fine novel is the first in a series starring Warden Bowditch, who could quickly become the East Coast version of C. J. Box's game-warden hero Joe Pickett, who patrols the range in Wyoming.

Library Journal

Starred Review. A richly imagined portrait of the vanishing wilderness in New England’s farthest reaches, Doiron’s well-written debut is also a taut thriller and thoughtful examination of the complicated relationship between father and son.

Author Blurb Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog
With precise and evocative prose, Paul Doiron weaves a riveting tale set deep in the wilderness that can be the tenuous bond between father and son. This is a compelling, moving, and utterly impressive debut!

Author Blurb John Lescroart
A gripping, original, and literate tale of love and loyalty, betrayal and redemption. You won’t want to put it down.

Author Blurb Nelson DeMille
The Poacher's Son is one of the best-written debut novels I’ve read in years. This story has it all---a great plot, a wonderful Maine woods setting, and a truly remarkable and believable cast of characters.

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The Maine Warden Service

"The woods. The state. Everything. More and more people keep coming up here, up to Maine, and they don't understand what's special about this place... They have these distorted ideas about nature... and I didn't want to live that way. I thought that if I joined the Warden Service maybe I wouldn't have to, and maybe I could help a few people see things differently."

Mike Bowditch's profession as a Maine game warden figures prominently in The Poacher's Son. Other than conjuring up images of khakis, boots, and badges, the job of game warden is a relatively obscure and likely misunderstood one. Essentially, game wardens are wilderness police officers, and enforcing the law in an outdoor environment requires great physical ...

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