Thursday, July 08, 2010

Reviewing: "The Poacher's Son" by Paul Doiron

First, a little personal news before we get to the review.

As some of you know, things have been pretty rough here since late March with my wife’s stroke (she is doing much better now), the recent death of her mother, as well as my own health crisis. What initially presented with my left leg ballooning up, color changes in it with horrible pain, and all the rest of it making the doctors think blood clot has turned out to be caused by a number of discs in my back massively swollen and pushing on nerves and things. This has meant that I have not worked the day job since late March and haven’t been writing much at all. I have watched way too much daytime TV (you are not the father!, Rachel Ray is hot, Tyra is not….) and worrying about everything.
The news at the physical therapist a few days ago wasn't good at all and I am very discouraged. Sitting for any length of time, not to mention walking, is still very problematic and nearly impossible. I still can’t drive which means to go anywhere I have to wait until my wife Sandi can drive me. Basically, my world remains shrunk down to one floor of my apartment as it has since late March. Everyday, I move between the bathroom, the living room couch and the back porch overlooking the small creek that flows through the complex. I am still on unpaid leave which means I have no paycheck and no income with the clock relentlessly ticking on how much longer this can go on before I am terminated. With no income, I can't pay for my monthly insurance premium, the medical treatments I need, the utilities, food and all the rest of it.

I am trying very hard to not dwell on what all this means and focus on what I can do and not what I can't. But, the increasing list of what I can't do, and all the ripple effects and consequences of that, are taking a toll on all of us. I am the first to admit I am a very cranky patient under the best of circumstances and these certainly aren’t the best. I still can't do what I normally do when stressed which is go fishing, take a walk, etc. Heck, just getting out of the shower by myself seems to present a challenge as I made a very spectacular and loud fall the other evening getting out. Luckily, my oldest was still here, heard me fall and came running to the rescue. Luckily, while battered and bruised, I didn't break anything or concuss myself. However, the fall again pointed out how dependent I am on others and that physically doing anything is nearly impossible. If I can't go for a change of scenery and to get it together by being somewhere else by myself, my only other option is escape by reading.
Fiction has always provided a means of escape from the real world for me. Beyond that, I have always had a strong preference for mysteries, crime books, etc. that featured protagonists in outdoorsy jobs dealing with crime or some other issue. If anything, that bias is a bit stronger these days. Something to always take into account when you read a review is the reviewer’s biases. My preferences might explain why I like the book.
Or, "The Poacher's Son" IS a very good book.

After working a bear sighting case and calming down the irate homeowner, Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch comes home late one night to find a cryptic message on his answering machine left by his father, Jack Bowditch. They haven’t spoken in two years and the message isn’t much beyond the fact that his dad is clearly in some sort of trouble. His Father lives off the land in the north woods of Maine and doesn’t recognize that the government can tell him when he can kill what. He is a man that never should have married, or fathered a child, and yet he did both. Mike never measured up to his dad’s standards and for Mike, the feeling is mutual.
Instead of hearing it from his dad, Mike has to learn from his supervisors that his dad is a suspect in the ambush murder of Deputy Bill Brodeur and Wendigo Timberlands spokesman Jonathan Shipman. Wendigo is buying up the land in the area and generating lots of anger and threats from the locals who are losing their homes and their way of life. Deputy Brodeur was driving Shipman to a motel after a contentious public meeting and both were gunned down in the police cruiser. They never had a chance.
In trying to clear his dad, Mike Bowditch not only risks his professional career and his life, he is forced to deal with his painful past.
While this debut novel has all the usual clich├ęd stereotypes such as the violent drunkard father committing illegal acts, the son who wound up trying to be different than good old dad by joining law enforcement, the girlfriend who loves him but can’t stand his lack of money or inability to open completely up to her as well as others, author Paul Doiron uses his expertise on the area and his writing skills to make the book work. Reminiscent of the work of C. J. Boxx, Paul Doiron brings the land and the characters alive in a way few authors can do. Shifting in points of view with Mike Bowditch always primary for readers, the read moves along at a fast clip despite the frequent use of flashbacks to back fill the history of characters.
Sure to appeal to readers familiar with the local color and flavor, this novel also works for those of us who have never set foot in Maine. This novel is a very strong start to what could be a very good and highly entertaining series.
The Poacher’s Son
Paul Doiron
Minotaur Books
April 2010
ISBN# 978-0-312-55846-8
336 Pages
While the novel is carried in my local library in Plano, TX, I received this ARC by the way of the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for my objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2010


Lelia said...

Kevin, I'm so sorry to hear all this and hope things will start to improve for you very soon. I miss seeing your pithy comments on DorothyL!

Neil Plakcy said...

Sorry to hear about your troubles, Kevin. I've enjoyed your posts on DorothyL and hope things improve for you soon.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

My comments, pithy or otherwise, seem to get me in trouble on DorothyL so I made a decision awhile back not to post very often on DL. Since several DLers had learned what was going on, I went ahead and posted my about it on there.

Thank you for reading and commenting. Much appreciated.


Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thanks, Neil. I appreciate it.

lil Gluckstern said...

My sincerest wish for your circumstances to improve. Life is really hard, and reading really helps. I loved "The Poacher's Son" precisely because it transported me to an entirely different locale, and has something to say about growing up. By the way, I came to this by way of DorothyL, and I have bookmarked the site. Hope you get better.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you, Lil. Don't get me wrong--I do, overall, like DL. Just some of the stuff I don't want to deal with right now.

Pat R. said...

You certainly have all that you can handle right now and I hope that better days are just around the corner.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thanks, Pat. I am screaming "Uncle" but nobody seems to be listening.


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Wow, Kevin, had no idea how complicated your life has become. Have you applied for disability? That might help a little.


Kevin R. Tipple said...

I'm told I don't qualify for SSI disability. I, somehow, neglected to fill out the paperwork for disability through my employer when I was hired, so nothing is available there either, Marilyn.

Anything would help right now...