I have the big microphone today at Jungle Red Writers and am using it to talk about Massacre Pond and the real-life controversy around the proposed Maine Woods National Park. If I may quote from myself:
Who hates national parks? No one, right? According to the National Park Service, 278,939,216 people visited the United States’s crown jewels in 2011. My own state of Maine is home to one of the most popular in the East—Acadia National Park—which generally receives more than 2 million recreational visits a year. So it might surprise you to learn that one of the most controversial issues in Maine right now is whether to create a new national park in the state’s celebrated North Woods as a potential sanctuary for caribou, wolves, and lynx.
That’s why I decided to focus my new novel, Massacre Pond— the fourth in my Mike Bowditch series — around the creation of a fictional Moosehorn National Park. My protagonist is no Anna Pigeon; he’s a young Maine game warden who starts the book unsold on either the virtues of the park concept (he likes to hunt and fish, after all) or the virtues of the wealthy woman promoting the radical idea. But when a seemingly senseless moose massacre occurs on her property he finds himself dragged into the debate—which escalates very quickly to human murder, as well.These days we’ve become used to books and television shows being “ripped from the headlines,” but from the days of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, fiction has also been a useful tool to start a public debate. And that’s what I aim to do. “Sensational” and “serious” aren’t always antonyms.