Maddy's Reviews > Trespasser

Trespasser by Paul Doiron
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Oct 03, 12

bookshelves: 2012-reads
Read in March, 2012

PROTAGONIST: Mike Bowditch, game warden
SETTING: Maine
SERIES: #2 of 2
RATING: 3.25
WHY: Mike Bowditch is a game warden in Maine and a very conflicted young man. He’s still dealing with the aftereffects of a case involving his father, a poacher, and at the same time attempting to rebuild his relationship with his girlfriend and repair his professional reputation. Unfortunately, he isn’t doing very well with any of this. He’s very self destructive and self absorbed and seems intent on acting in the worst possible way, both in his career and his personal life.

Mike is called to the scene of an accident involving a deer. When he arrives, the deer has vanished. The car that hit it is nearby, but its owner is nowhere to be found. He discovers that the vehicle is owned by a young woman named Ashley Kim. Supposedly, she called for a tow and then went on to a friend’s. Something about the situation troubles Mike, but he leaves the investigation in the hands of the state trooper who reports to the scene, since it is not within his job scope to take on the case. Despite the fact that he has no authority, Mike continues to look into Ashley’s background and to pursue the answers to the questions that are raised.

Eventually, Mike finds Ashley’s body and things become even more complicated. The way that she was killed brings to mind an older murder by a man who is now in prison. Is it possible that Erland Jefferts was wrongly convicted? Bowditch is like a dog looking for a juicy bone; he can’t stop what he is doing even though the result is that he is neglecting his girlfriend and alienating everyone he meets. Mike isn’t a very likeable character; his bullheadedness and lack of consideration for others makes him quite unsympathetic.

Although Bowditch is a game warden, there is almost nothing about him doing that job in the book other than the initial call about the dead deer and a situation involving off-road vehicles destroying property. Instead, Mike operates in detective mode, which is clearly outside of his job responsibilities. I wondered why Doiron made that choice. Why have a lead character who is a game warden and then totally abandon what that profession involves? Why not make him a detective in the first place?

Doiron is a very talented writer. His prose is elegiac, and he does a masterful job of describing the various Maine settings. I wish that he had made Mike a more sympathetic character and that he had kept him in the game warden framework. I very much enjoyed the first book in this series, THE POACHER’S SON, but TRESPASSER irritated more than entertained me.

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