In Paul Doiron's riveting novel Widowmaker, Game Warden Mike Bowditch is on the trail of a ruthless vigilante amid the snow-covered mountains of Maine
When a mysterious woman in distress appears outside his home, Mike Bowditch has no clue she is about to blow his world apart. Amber Langstrom is beautiful, damaged, and hiding a secret with a link to his past. She claims her son Adam is a wrongfully convicted sex offender who has vanished from a brutal work camp in the high timber around the Widowmaker Ski Resort. She also claims that Adam is the illegitimate son of Jack Bowditch, Mike’s dead and diabolical father—and the half-brother Mike never knew he had.
After trying so hard to put his troubled past behind him, Mike is reluctant to revisit the wild country of his childhood and again confront his father’s history of violence. But Amber’s desperation and his own need to know the truth leads Mike on a desperate search for answers—one that takes him through a mountainous wilderness where the military guards a top-secret interrogation base, sexual predators live together in a backwoods colony, and self-styled vigilantes are willing to murder anyone they consider their enemies. Can Mike finally exorcise the demons of the past—or will the real-life demons of the present kill him first?
At the outset of Edgar-finalist Doiron's uneven seventh contemporary mystery featuring Maine game warden Mike Bowditch (after 2015's The Precipice), Mike spies a Jeep parked across the road from his Sebago Lake home. Inside the vehicle is Amber Langstrom, a woman who claims that her son, Adam, is Mike's half-brother. Adam, who served 18 months for statutory rape in a minimum security prison, recently missed a meeting with his parole officer, and Amber wants Mike to track him down. Mike initially refuses, but then an on-the-job near-death experience triggers a leave of absence, and he heads north to the Rangeley region, where Adam was last seen. Mike's investigation takes him from the third-rate ski resort where his outlaw father, Jack, used to work to an off-the-books logging camp staffed with convicted sex offenders. A thrilling denouement and an affecting subplot about a condemned wolfdog don't sufficiently compensate for a slow start and a mystery that fails to engage. Author tour.