When Charley Stevens gets the call, he is a 28 year old Maine Game Warden. Dr. Phillip Stoddard, one of four men staying at a hunting cabin has been missing for a few hours. A major snow storm is on the way. Soon Charley Steven is with the remaining hunters at their cabin and working to get the details such as Dr. Stoddard’s mental state, what supplies he has with him, and determining who saw him last and where. All of that is important as those details will help him find the missing hunter.
That search and the results are the main thrust of the short story, Backtrack by Paul Doiron. While it is being marked by Minotaur books on Amazon as A Mike Bowditch Short Mystery, the only truth is it is a short story and is not much of a mystery. I knew why he was missing in all likelihood before it became very clear that I was right. With my personal history, the reason why he is missing in the short story was not really something I wanted to read either. I can’t say more without flat blowing the read, but if you know what I have very publicly been through the last few years, you will understand why I am so sick and tired of seeing that used as a story element in books and television shows. God knows, I lived it and I get it. I read to escape my reality each day and I don’t need the fiction vehicles I use to escape to slap me in the face with that stuff.
More annoying is the fact that despite the fact that it is being marketed on Amazon that it is from the series, Mike Bowditch never once makes an appearance nor is he even mentioned. The fact that is was marked as a “Mike Bowditch” tale, was the sole reason I purchased to read and review. It was only later after I had finished it, I realized that the cover art made no mention or claim that this read was, in fact, from his series.
The marketing folks at Minotaur should be ashamed. They are blatantly lying to the reading public. In this day of “alternative facts” I guess that I should not be surprised that a publishing house does this sort of nonsense, but I am not pleased.
Ignoring the false marketing as well as my personal reaction to a story telling element in it, Backtrack by Paul Doiron is a solidly good story as written. Charley’s hunt for the missing Dr. Stoddard is very atmospheric and intense. If you know going in to the read that it is being falsely marketed by Minotaur/Amazon and know that it has nothing about Mike Bowditch as it is set decades earlier, it is a good read and well worth your time.
Back in September when the publisher made this a free read, I picked it up to read and review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2019