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by Paul Doiron
Minotaur, July 2019
320 pages
ISBN: 1250102413

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Mike Bowditch, once a game warden in Maine, was promoted in a previous book to investigator. He has matured through the books, and is somewhat less impetuous as he enters his thirties than he was in his twenties. Nonetheless, in ALMOST MIDNIGHT he gets involved in a couple of investigations while on vacation and ends up in a deadly gunfight by the end of the book. The characters that we've come to know and love over the series, of which this is the 10th, are all present, although they circle around the periphery while Mike maintains center stage.

Two things happen almost simultaneously while Mike is fly-fishing on vacation. First, he is summoned by his old friend, Cronk, from his prison cell. Not for the first time, Cronk asks Mike to investigate a conspiracy and Mike slowly gets himself into the middle of a deadly drug-running scheme. A second call, this one from a veterinarian, brings Shadow, a wolf/dog mix from Mike's past, back into his life. Shadow has been mortally wounded by someone using an old-fashioned crossbow, and Mike needs to find the killer as much to ensure that Shadow's mate is unscathed as to exact retribution.

His two investigations take him upstate to a backwoods cabin and an Amish community that has adopted a young hippie survivalist couple. His time in the cabin causes him to reflect upon his life and what is most important to him, giving him some refuge from his current life. It ends up being anything but a refuge from danger, however, as the plot lines merge and coalesce around acts of vicious violence. There is a satisfying ending during which pretty much everyone gets what they deserve.

As always, Doiron writes masterfully of the land and people of rural Maine, taking readers on a trip to locales they might otherwise not get to visit. The roughness of the land helps support the rough characters in the book, providing a depth to their development. For those who have been reading the series, ALMOST MIDNIGHT brings new insights into Mike Bowditch's maturation. It would be possible to enjoy this book as novel of suspense as an entry point to the series, but much of the character development might be lost in that case. Mike took some new directions during the events in this book, and I look forward to seeing how they play out in future books.

Sharon Mensing, retired educational leader, lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors in rural Wyoming.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, June 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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