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The Poacher's Son (Mike Bowditch #1)

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,931 Ratings  ·  503 Reviews
Game warden Mike Bowditch returns home one evening to find a cryptic message on his answering machine from his father, Jack, who he hasn't heard from in two years. The next morning Mike gets a call from the police: a beloved local cop has been killed and his father is their prime suspect.

Coming to terms with his haunted past and desperate for answers, Mike and a retired wa
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 2010)
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The Poacher's Son by Paul DoironClammed Up by Barbara  RossBoiled Over by Barbara  RossThe Dead Cat Bounce by Sarah GravesShadows of a Down East Summer by Lea Wait
Maine Mysteries
1st out of 82 books — 18 voters
Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsSpirit Bound by Richelle MeadClockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareLast Sacrifice by Richelle MeadRoom by Emma Donoghue
Best Books of 2010
286th out of 1,322 books — 2,418 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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K.D. Absolutely
Feb 09, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok
At this time and age, to be a father is not a joke.

I have been a father since 17 years ago. My only child, a daughter, made me one. True, fathers used to be the sole breadwinner in their family. Somehow, a working spouse means that the father must relegate or share some of his decision-making powers. That, for me, changed the patriarchal setup that our own fathers used to have. But for most families around the world, a wife’s share to the family coffers is now a necessity. Times, indeed, have ch
Aug 30, 2011 Jake rated it it was ok
Here's the thing I don't get. Your father was such a scumsucker to you throughout your childhood that you chose a career IN DIRECT OPPOSITION TO WHAT HE DOES. You father was a known criminal, drunk and barfighter, a guy who, upon hearing that you wanted to go home from his shitty trailer in the woods because he forced you to be part of a poaching scheme, refused to give you a ride and let a 16-year-old boy hitchhike home through the deep, dark forest.

Your father has never been anything but terri
Apr 23, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Even though this is the first book in the Mike Bowditch series by Paul Doiron, it is the 4th one that I've read. And I think it is my favorite one so far. It gave the much needed back story that I felt was missing from the others. I like the MC, Mike. His character is strong and he is able to carry the whole story. I also like how he was able to change a little before the ending but yet there was still a little mystery left.

I had a problem with two specific elements of the plot, that I can't di
Dec 26, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: nature, fiction, mystery, maine
This first of a new series featuring Maine game warden Mike Bowditch holds much promise for me. I was impressed with the plotting and his capturing of certain types of backwoods Maine characters. However, he doesn’t quite make his hero’s personality come alive.

A graduate from Colby College, Mike’s choice of becoming a game warden is a mystery to me, and I didn’t quite get a sense of his rewards in a thankless job. We do get that he is stubborn in pursuing justice, even to the extent of perpetua
Larry Hoffer
Nov 05, 2012 Larry Hoffer rated it liked it
Ah, family dynamics. You sometimes don't realize what an effect your childhood or your relationship with your parents, siblings, or other relatives will have on you until later in life. And other times these relationships define your entire existence.

Mike Bowditch is a game warden in Maine. His father, Jack, is a hard-drinking, often unemployed womanizer who poaches illegal game from the wilderness. Mike never seemed to get his father's approval—or even his interest—throughout his childhood, and
May 19, 2013 Ronna rated it it was amazing
Acres and acres of wilderness land around a beautiful lake have just been purchased by a billionaire so that he can build a huge summer resort in wilderness Maine. This means that many long time settlers who have been living on these lands will be forced to leave their homes. Feelings run high and anger builds between the new owners and the settlers. After a community meeting, the owner, and the well love policeman escorting him home, have become murder victims

Mike Bowditch is a young Game Warde
Sep 08, 2011 Carol rated it liked it
Recommended to Carol by: review resources
Shelves: fiction, debut
I've had this one on my TBR pile for quite awhile.

The Poacher's Son is the first in a series featuring Game Warden Mike Bowditch. At the beginning of the story Mike gets a surprise call from his estranged father Jack. The two can barely speak to each other without getting into an argument so this immediately puts Mike on edge. The next day Mike gets a call from the police. His father is the prime suspect in two murders, that of a paper company rep and the good ol' boy cop who was escorting him
May 06, 2011 Robert rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I would rate this above the three star rating and somewhere just below the fourth. So lets call it three and a half stars. The story is really well written and very descriptive. I enjoyed the outdoors of Maine as if I was out in those very woods myself. The pace was not bad. It was a bit slow, but as it reached the conclusion it seemed as if the author had a lot to pack in there. As I understand it this is going to be a series and I believe that it will be very succesful. This is an author that ...more
Jun 18, 2016 Danm rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this story much more than most readers. What I loved about it most was the sense of place. There was a review on the cover with the reviewer mentioning "a strong sense of place." I don't think I have ever agreed with these folks before, but this was right on the money.

By reading this story, you gain a great deal of knowledge about a place you have likely never been, will never go to, and will almost certainly never live. It's a completely different way of life. This refers to the deep
Mar 05, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it
We first meet Mike Bowditch, a fairly new Game Warden in Maine as he pursues his daily rounds. Later that day he receives a message from his estranged father a drinker and poacher who has a long history with the authorities asking for help. Later Mike learns that his father is wanted in connection with a double homicide and there is a large manhunt underway. Mike does not believe that his father was involved and tries to find evidence to clear him, but runs into distrust form the local sheriff's ...more
Under ten hours of listening, narrated by Henry Leyva.

There are several reviews of the audiobook that are critical of accents. Guess I’m just not that picky, because it didn’t bother me. The main character has a bland midwestern ‘accent’. The other Maine characters sound fine to me, a pretty good effort on the part of the narrator to make the characters unique. Besides, everybody in the northeast US talks funny, don’t they? So I guess unless you are actually from that area, you’re not going to h
Oct 26, 2015 Don rated it really liked it
As many of you have no doubt figured out by now, I absolutely love mysteries. In fact, I've often said that the mystery is the most underrated genre in literature. Sometimes, though, an author's maiden voyage in a series turns out to be a tad week. It's good enough to come back for more, but not good enough to be truly memorable.

This is definitely not the case with "The Poacher's Son," the first entry in Paul Doiron's series featuring game warden Mike Boditch.

As the book begins, Mike receives
Mar 26, 2010 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, mystery
Debut author Paul Doiron has penned a top-notch whodunit with his first novel The Poacher’s Son. A myriad of twists and turns will keep the reader guessing as suspicion moves from one character to another until the startling conclusion.

Set in the wilderness of Maine the story centers around Mike Bowditch, the local game warden. Mike returns home one night to find a cryptic message on his answering machine from his father, Jack. The next day he finds out that the police are searching for a murder
Jan 12, 2013 Raven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another crime thriller that paves the way for the arrival of a potentially great series featuring the character of Mike Bowditch, a young Maine game warden, thrust into an investigation where the chief suspect is his estranged father. With, at times, lyrical prose and a sense of location that eloquently portrays the natural beauty of backwoods Maine, this novel held my attention throughout and here’s why…

What this book most movingly conveys is a young man’s struggle, at the beginning of what co
Mar 27, 2010 Mike rated it it was amazing
The Poacher's Son is an epic tail of mystery and intrigue. Doiron is a wonderful author who knows how to capture the attention of the reader while weaving a storyline with lots of twists and turns, not to forget to mention the mystery following the murder of a Deputy Sheriff and that of a land grabbing official, bent on taking the forest for development. The story begins with Mike Bowditch a Maine Warden dealing with the theft of a pig by a bear in the Maine Forest. Mike Bowditch is relatively n ...more
Nov 04, 2010 Maddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
PROTAGONIST: Mike Bowditch, game warden
SETTING: Western Maine
RATING: 3.75

Mike Bowditch has a deep and abiding love for the wild life and environment of western Maine, and the fact that he chose to be a game warden for his career is a perfect match for his values and lifestyle. It’s ironic that he came to view this world with such a passion as a result of the time he spent in his youth with his father, who was an extraordinary woodsman and poacher. When Mike went on a hunting expedi
Jun 18, 2013 Keith rated it really liked it
I really got into this novel from the beginning but I suspected that it might be because I was attracted to the Maine wilderness setting and the protagonist's life-style as well as his line of work as a game warden. As someone that enjoys the outdoors and being somewhat familiar with the general area in Maine where much of the story takes place I decided to just settle back and enjoy it without being too concerned about style or form but I found myself in for a surprise as the story moved forwar ...more
Mar 15, 2010 Ziaria rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! I love a good mystery and this didn't disappoint.

What I enjoyed most were the characters. The main character, Mike, is not perfect, in fact he's pretty flawed. I love a character who isn't perfect and shiny. All of the characters were very well written. The Setting was amazing. Makes me want to travel to Maine and go camping.

This is a who did it style of mystery and without giving any spoilers, I was very surprised by the outcome.

All and all a very good start to a ser
Julia Spencer-Fleming
Apr 30, 2011 Julia Spencer-Fleming rated it it was amazing
Maine may produce more fine writers than any other state. Why? Maybe it's the long winters. Doiron joins a long list with one of 2010's best suspense debuts. Doiron himself is a licensed Maine Guide, one of Maine's legendary corps of backwoodsmen, and this informs his writing. This is the Maine of Carolyn Chute, not L.L. Bean, and Doiron brings it vividly, chillingly to life. Although slightly darker, and deeper, he just may be The Great North Woods answer to the incredible C.J. Box and his Joe ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-and-next
Ah, the sins of the fathers. One cannot escape. Doiron introduces Mike Bowditch who seems to be trying to outrun his father by running straight at him. The father, meanwhile, is on the run from the law. That is the core of the story: a deputy and a timber company executive are ambushed. The senior Bowditch is accused. The poacher's son, now a Maine game warden, is torn between loyalty to his fickle, brutal father and loyalty to his job and his safety.
Aug 21, 2014 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mike-bowditch
This is an impressive well written debut, Paul Doiron is a real storyteller. A haunting tale with murder and betrayal.....and a terrific sense of place. I will definitely continue with this series.
Michael Thompson
Picked up this book at Books, Lines and Thinkers while in Rangeley, ME earlier this fall. I did enjoy reading this book, and I was hopeful that I would become a fan of the author. The Maine landscape beautifully written and the story held my attention, but I found the characters flat. Especially Mike, the protagonist. With a title like The Poacher's Son, I expected a more compelling journey of discovery and wanted more about why Mike was who he was because of his father. An alternate father figu ...more
Mar 08, 2010 Amy rated it it was ok
I received an advance copy of this book through the Barnes and Noble First Look program.

I have been putting off my review of this book because it was such a disappointment. I have had the privilege of participating in the Barnes and Noble First Look program many times and I have really enjoyed every single selection. When they announced that the next selection would be a mystery/suspense title, I couldn't be more excited. THE POACHER'S SON is set in Maine and follows Mike Bowditch, a game warden
Paul Pessolano
Feb 21, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mike Bowditch is a newly appointed Maine Game Warden. His father, Jack, has been a hard drinking, womanizing outdoorsman. Jack has a failed marriage and has failed as a father.

The logging industy controls most of Upper Maine and the land has been sold from one logging company to another. People that were living on the land, with the company's approval, are now faced with the new company evicting them. After a town meeting the lawyer representing the company and a police officer are shot, and Mik
Melissa Waldron
Apr 10, 2010 Melissa Waldron rated it really liked it
The Poacher's Son I read an Advance Copy of this book through the Barnes & Noble First Look Club. This is the first book that we read that was a mystery.

The Poacher's Son is a debut novel by Paul Doiron. I really enjoyed reading it. The Poacher's Son kept my attention and I found that I couldn't put it down.

The Poacher's Son is set in the Maine wilderness. Mike Bowditch is the main character and is a Maine Game Warden. Mike loves the wilderness, the only positive thing that he got from his
May 26, 2012 Myfanwy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: thriller lovers, outdoor enthusiasts
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Bowditch, 24-year-old Maine Wildlife Ranger finds himself distracted from his job duties when a state-wide manhunt for the killer of two men takes over the whole north woods of Maine. The distraction comes because the man they are hunting is none other than his father, Jack Bowditch, an alcoholic tracker, woodsman and poacher, who is believed to have shot a deputy and the head of a land-development company in cold blood. Mike has never been close to his father, since he and his mother left ...more
Feb 16, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
Engaging, smart, and even funny -- this is the kind of novel you are thrilled to find, not least because there are two more in the series. The Maine settings are realistic (of course; the author is editor in chief of Downeast magazine) and the action is gripping. The characters are flawed but likeable, complex but surprising. Women in particular are varied creatures here, with one of the finest sargeant/supervisors I can think of along with a range of interesting and complicated other characters ...more
Ken Schloman
Jan 29, 2015 Ken Schloman rated it really liked it
Read the book and you will find out why it is an award winner as a debut novel. Good story and excellent plotting.I love novels with a regional setting and the author's description of Maine is on target. Murder, and betrayal set the stage for what is also a great character study of the protagonist. If you like the Joe Pickett series by C.J.Box you will like this one.
This was an okay book for the most part but had several flaws. The characterization was a bit weak. I felt I got to know Mike a little bit but most of what I knew didn't make sense. He made bad decisions for absolutely no reason. He gave up his marriage for a career as a game warden, then made the decision to throw his career away without any effort at all. Like I said, didnt' make sense to me. Initially I thought this was going to be a pretty good book about the often complicated relationship t ...more
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Paul Doiron is the author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels, including The Poacher's Son, which won the the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, a Macavity Award, and a Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and the Maine Literary Award for "Best Fiction of 2010." PopMatters named it to its Best Fiction of 201 ...more
More about Paul Doiron...

Other Books in the Series

Mike Bowditch (7 books)
  • Trespasser (Mike Bowditch, #2)
  • Bad Little Falls (Mike Bowditch, #3)
  • Massacre Pond (Mike Bowditch, #4)
  • The Bone Orchard (Mike Bowditch, #5)
  • The Precipice (Mike Bowditch, #6)
  • Widowmaker (Mike Bowditch, #7)

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“People disappoint you so often. I hardly knew how to react when they surpassed all your hopes.” 6 likes
“Nature will forgive humankind just about anything, and what it won’t forgive I hope never to witness.” 4 likes
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