V. Paul Reynolds, writing in the Lewiston Sun Journal today, offers a glowing review of The Poacher's Son. In addition to editing and publishing the Northwoods Sporting Journal, hosting "Maine Outdoors" on WVOM radio, and authoring A Maine Deer Hunter's Logbook: Tips, Tales, and Tactics, Reynolds is a former spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. So his words carry real authority in these parts:
Doiron has done a masterful job developing his main character, Mike Bowditch. The young warden has his flaws like the rest of us. He is too headstrong at times, and his choices aren't always the most mature. But you'll come to like him early on in the book, and the tougher things get for him with his job, his girl, and his mission to prove his father's innocence, the more you will want him to get a break.
This book has a lot more going for it than merely the tension that all good mystery novels generate. And, indeed, it has a lot of tension. Doiron is a "clean writer" who weaves his tale with pace and precision. He also creates a sense of place that is truly Maine, the good, the bad and the ugly — the odd mixture of natural beauty, the rural poverty, and the family dysfunction.
Himself a Registered Maine Guide, Doiron has done his homework when it comes to his fictional portrayal of game warden work. Having worked closely with the Maine Warden Service for three years, I recognized Warden Bowditch's supervisor from real life and some of the other law enforcement characters in his story, despite their fictional names. Doiron uses his knowledge of Game Warden work and Maine outdoor places to give his story a compelling added dimension. These work effectively with the basic plot line to create lots of plausibility.
It's been a surprise to see reviews of The Poacher's Son still appearing six months after the book's publication date—and when a review is as positive as Reynolds's, the surprise is a pleasant one.