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Massacre Pond: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) Hardcover – July 16, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Mike Bowditch is somehow still employed as a Maine game warden after his last escapade featuring an ill-advised affair with a suspect’s sister and an investigative coup that humiliated his superiors (Bad Little Falls, 2012). Now matured a bit and trying to play by warden service rules, Bowditch is coasting through an uneventful hunting season until his friend Billy Cronk reports something’s “wicked bad” at controversial Moosehorn Lodge. Elizabeth Morse is campaigning to preserve Maine’s wilderness and has forbidden logging and hunting on the thousands of acres she’s recently acquired. Morse, who has been threatened repeatedly, is reviled by those who believe her mission threatens Maine’s outdoorsman culture and the locals’ ability to feed their families. When Bowditch arrives, he finds five moose calculatingly slaughtered. Before the wardens narrow the immense list of suspects, a human murder is added to the animal casualties. Bowditch’s past insubordination has secured his banishment to the investigation’s fringes, but when Billy becomes the main suspect, he can’t let things lie. This series follows Bowditch from the start of his warden career, and his evolution creates a constantly fresh perspective, nicely paired with solid procedural details and an outdoors education. Massacre Pond, arguably the best yet, boasts fair-minded exploration of Maine’s conflicting environmental and economic interests and marks a turning point for Bowditch, who questions his fit with a career that constantly requires suppressing his instincts. --Christine Tran


Bad Little Falls is a jewel of a book. Doiron has gotten it all magnificently right: a hell of a good mystery, beautifully drawn landscape and characters so evocatively written they follow you off the page. Buy this. The guy can write.” ―Nevada Barr, New York Times bestselling author of Rope

“Doiron's third Bowditch entry is riveting and honest, with full-depth characters and a landscape that isn't cutting any slack. Readers of Nevada Barr and C. J. Box will enjoy this similar tale, with the added surprise of a refreshing hero whose youth and inexperience Doiron skillfully twists into an asset.” ―Booklist

“A high-stakes, high-tension yarn in which you keep wishing everything would turn out fine for the deeply flawed, deeply sympathetic hero.” ―Kirkus

“Excellent . . . a murder case with some truly wicked twists. Dorion matches strong characters with effective prose and subtle characterizations. Fans of Steve Hamilton's Alex McKnight series, likewise set in a remote region close to Canada, will find a lot to like.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)


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Product Details

  • Series: Mike Bowditch Mysteries (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1St Edition edition (July 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250033934
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250033932
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Doiron is an award-winning journalist and 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.

His third novel in the series, Bad Little Falls, was a Bookscan Bestseller and was a finalist for the RT Reviewers Choice Award and the Maine Literary Award.

The fourth Mike Bowditch book, Massacre Pond, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist and was an Indie Next Pick and Indie Favorite, as well as a finalist for The Maine Literary Award.

The Bone Orchard, the fifth book in the series, was a Bookscan Bestseller and received a "Down East" Magazine "Best of Maine" award.

The sixth Mike Bowditch novel, The Precipice, was a Library Reads pick and spent three weeks on the American Booksellers Association Indie Bestseller List.

A native of Maine, Paul attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English, and he holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He is Editor Emeritus of "Down East: The Magazine of Maine," having served as Editor in Chief from 2005 to 2013. He is also a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Emily Lee on July 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I may be a tad bit biased being in Maine's law enforcement arena, but I've found this series riveting and thought provoking. The similarities to real events and people also drew my interest. In this case, the character Elizabeth Morse and her idea for a national park draws on the inspiration from Roxanne Quimby and her same intent. Though Dorion's characters and scenario are fictional, it is also spot on in many ways to what is occurring in Maine.

In this fourth book we finally see Mike begin to mature and try to control his reckless self destructive tendencies. Mike was easier to relate to and root for in this book than the previous three. I guess in the end Mike felt more believable as a character and warden.

I would recommend this series to those readers out there who like to think...many mystery writers fail to write a truly thought provoking novel. Doiron's plot line isn't easily predictable and genuinely kept me reading needing to know what was going to happen next trying to solve this mystery with Mike.

The only point I would make about Doiron's portrayal of the warden service is they are not destitute. The average warden doesn't live in a ramshackle trailer or broken down camp. They make a respectable living as is deserved for the job they perform.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Davies on December 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I live in Maine, and appreciated Doiron's descriptions of the setting. I found the plot competent but weak and the characters--particularly the young women--unconvincing. The best-drawn characters are the minor ones (all men), who are reasonably believable oddballs.

Mike Bowditch, a game warden in northern Maine, gets sidelined from investigating the deaths of multiple moose almost as soon as he's drawn into it, and must do his best from the sidelines. He has a strong sense of duty and is a kind man. There are some sort-of love interests--young and attractive women with superficially described personalities who do essentially nothing. Well, one does wind up endangered, with Mike hoping to rescue her. Another is strong (that's about it for her). A third is alluring but distant, and becomes tacitly available for future romance by the end. The middle-aged female character is the most complex and interesting, but the issues that ought to have driven the book (the way major issues drive and inform Sara Paretsky novels, for instance) are mostly evaded.

Out of the blue perhaps 2/3 through the book, a major problem arises concerning his mother, which gives him reason to think about their relationship. OK. Perhaps I would care more if I'd read the previous novels, but all I really know about Mike is that he used to be rowdy and is now trying to come across as stable, and that he wishes he had not grown distant from his mother. Her new need for him is a plot device, plain and simple, yet it accomplishes nothing.

The title of the book comes from the name of a pond that's mentioned in one of the tacked-on scenes with his mother. It has nothing to do with the book's plot, except that moose were massacred up north.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Simmons on August 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i have read all of paul doiron's book to date and he keeps getting better and better . . . massacre pond is no exception . . . well-developed [interesting] characters who you can identify with and care about . . . the action never lets up with a very good story line . . . plan on staying up into the wee hours reading this one . . .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is the fourth book in Paul Doiron's series about Mike Bowditch, a game warden based in a remote corner of Maine. The series began with The Poacher's Son, but it's not necessary to have read the other books to enjoy this one.

The plot centres on Elizabeth Morse, a local woman who made a fortune selling herbal remedies. Now a multi-millionaire, she has bought up a huge tract of land in Maine and hopes to turn it into a national park. She has met considerable resistance from the locals, who use the land for hunting and poaching as well as a source of timber for the local sawmill which is a major employer in the region. Morse has been receiving death threats, but the situation elevates when someone gets onto her land and shoots a large number of moose. This is where Bowditch comes into the story. He is the first to be called out, but his boss, who dislikes him, sidelines him from the investigation. Nevertheless, Bowditch keeps getting drawn into the action as the attacks on the Morse family escalate.

I enjoyed this book. It has a relentless readability about it. I love the way that Doiron transports you to Maine. The wilderness is vividly depicted as are the interesting and rounded characters. In previous instalments I've found Bowditch's hotheaded personality somewhat irritating, but this time round he has started to develop some maturity and self-awareness which makes him a much more likeable character. As usual his personal life creates issues for him - this time it's his mother as well as his attraction to a woman who is out of reach.

Having said that, the book lacked for me what I think is an essential element in this genre, which is tension.
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