Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Poacher's Son

Paul Doiron
The Poacher’s Son

Minotaur Books, 2010/Constable & Robinson, 2013

Narrator of The Poacher's Son Mike Bowditch is a game warden in the state of Maine and he is a rookie. His job is thankless, difficult and, most importantly, poorly paid. Mike sets cleared traps for the bear, writes tickets to tourists, coming out from Boston on a fishing trip, and all alone lives in a small cabin in the woods.

Mike almost at once forgets about bears and sharp-tongued fishermen, when near the tavern a deputy sheriff and a timber company executive are killed. At night, after the killings, Mike’s father Jack Bowditch, a drunkard, a brawler, a womanizer and a poacher, whom Mike had not seen for two years, calls and leaves a strange message on the answering machine. The next day, all state police are already looking for Jack Bowditch: after the arrest Jack beat a deputy sheriff up and ran. Detectives believe that Jack Bowditch killed a cop and a manager after the meeting at which the announcement was made that all the land in the county was bought by a large company, which means all the inhabitants of the land would be forced to leave the land.

Mike is the only one who believes in the innocence of his father. Going against the orders of his boss, Mike gets into the thick of the action, hoping to find the real killer and clear his father's name.

Being a first-rate whodunit, The Poacher's Son is also a powerful statement on the theme of fathers and sons. Choosing the profession of a game warden, Mike wants to be the opposite of his poacher father. Mike does not feel (or felt) no love for his father, but still believes in his innocence.

Doiron, by placing the action of the novel in the wild woods of Maine, filled his book with disparate wildlife, but making it obvious that the most dangerous animal in the forest is not a bear or a wolf but a man. Even the even-tempered Mike closer to the finale almost loses his balance and almost turned into a psychopath because of extreme nervous strain.

Flashbacks in the book are truly memorable, the details of warden’s life is phenomenal, and in addition to that, The Poacher's Son puts some traps for the reader when touches upon the topic of honor and conscience of the officer of the law. Is it possible to bend the law for yourself, when it comes to the life of the beloved one? What matters more, the freedom of the father or badge? If you can not clear the name of the father, can you let him get away?

With The Poacher's Son you can go on a bear: it one hundred percent will knock you down.

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