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The Poacher's Son (Mike Bowditch #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  2,235 ratings  ·  417 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  RossShadows of a Down East Summer by Lea WaitThe Bone Orchard by Paul DoironBoiled Over by Barbara  Ross
Maine Mysteries
1st out of 81 books — 13 voters
Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsSpirit Bound by Richelle MeadClockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareLast Sacrifice by Richelle MeadRoom by Emma Donoghue
Best Books of 2010
283rd out of 1,269 books — 2,377 voters

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Community Reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
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
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
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
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
Sep 08, 2011 Carol rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Larry Hoffer
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
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
Zakariah Johnson
An excellent debut about a neophyte Maine warden learning through (hiking) trail and error how to be a good cop and, more importantly, a good man, which means separating himself from his negligent, petty criminal backwoods thug of a dad. The main character here, Mike Bowditch, is, from my perspective anyway, just a kid, a 24-year-old rookie, and he's treated accordingly by those who can smell inexperience or doubt on him. But he's also made of tough material that shows through. His journey sudde ...more
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
May 26, 2012 Myfanwy rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
Eric Wright
Doiron writes a good story set in Maine of a game warden, Mike Bowditch, the son of a drinking womanizing poacher now accused of murder. The story progresses with multiple choices for the one who kills a police officer and the rep of a timber company. The community7 is up in arms over the timber company from Canada buying out their local company which had leased much prime property to various suspects.

The story progresses with a number of strange characters, including Mike who is annoying for h
Loved the book. Enjoyed the suspense and the descriptions of the Maine outdoors- it kept me guessing! For a real life Game Warden story, I recommend "Suddenly, the Cider Didn't Taste So Good: Adventures of a Game Warden in Maine" by John Ford Sr. Glad I read Ford's book first- gave me a greater appreciation for the main character in Doiron's story.
OOOH! Good. I'll have to see if there are more in this series! Maine + game warden + disaffected romantic = LOVE IT. I actually teared up a little at the end. {sniffle}
Scottsdale Public Library
The wilderness of Maine provides the perfect backdrop for this story of a grown son searching for his estranged, fugitive father who's been accused of killing a police officer. Game warden Mike Bowditch remembers his father as a hard living poacher, often cruel and unfeeling, but is he really capable of murder? I couldn't wait to find out! This book is filled with interesting characters, unexpected twists, and a real insight into life in the rugged backwoods of Maine. This is the first book in t ...more
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
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
I really wanted to like this book and the ending was not at all what I expected and I love when that happens so the end disappointed me. However, the author makes such a point of telling us how much the main character Mike, loves his job as Game Warden in northern Maine, that he lost the love of his life because she wanted a more stale life for them and she felt he valued his job more than her. While that was the truth, you don't really feel it in his actions as all we hear about are the bad par ...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: A Novel (Mike Bowditch, #6)
  • Widowmaker (Mike Bowditch, #7)
Trespasser (Mike Bowditch, #2) Bad Little Falls (Mike Bowditch, #3) Massacre Pond (Mike Bowditch, #4) The Bone Orchard (Mike Bowditch, #5) The Precipice: A Novel (Mike Bowditch, #6)

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“People disappoint you so often. I hardly knew how to react when they surpassed all your hopes.” 5 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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