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The Poacher's Son

(Mike Bowditch #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  5,799 ratings  ·  819 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
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  5,799 ratings  ·  819 reviews

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Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a really good start to a series Paul Doiron delivered in the Mike Bowditch series was fast paced loved the setting in Maine thought i was there with the deer, bears etc took me on a journey into another place & time.

Paul Doiron is an upcoming author with loads of potential an author to watch.

Set in the wilds of Maine this is an explosive tale of an Estranged into the hunt for a brutal killer.
Game warden Mike Bowditch returns home one evening to fi
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 06, 2012 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, ind
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maine game warden Mike Bowditch faces a killer bear in his rookie year with the warden service but that's not his greatest challenge. His father is wanted for a double murder involving a cop. Even though Bowditch and his father are estranged, he still loves him and wants to prove his father's innocence although this may cost him his career.

Backtracking to this debut novel from 2010, I realize I must have started the Bowditch series a couple of years ago smack dab in the middle. I'm g
When a State Game Warden in Maine is called about a man hunt for his father, he is both befuddled and unaware of how far down the rabbit hole he will be dragged. A fast paced story with many twists and turns, as well as, well rounded believable characters. The main character really drove the plot and was easy to like and sympathize with. Not much gore so it is an easy book to recommend as an action thriller to many who like suspense.
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I've read several books in the Mike Bowditch series, but I've missed the first ones. So, I was thrilled to have time to listen to the audiobooks. I quite enjoyed this first book in the series, I knew by reading the later ones about what happens to Mike's father in this book. But, it was nice to finally get the full picture! I really like this series and I recommend reading the books. They are all stand-alone so you can read them in any order you like.
Aug 30, 2011 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 anythi
Cindy Burnett
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Poacher's Son is the first book in a series starring Maine game warden Mike Bowditch. Doiron beautifully captures the wildness of Maine and the subset of its inhabitants who choose to live there isolated and outside the law. Bowditch straddles the line between isolation and performing his job duties, and when a case involving his troubled and alienated father arises, Bowditch struggles to hold onto his job and reconcile himself with his unhappy past. The story moves rapidly and builds up to ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Wherever I went in the woods, I traveled with the heart-heavy knowledge that I was alone and without backup, that the most apparently casual encounter could turn bad on me if I let down my guard, and that if I ran into trouble, I should probably not expect any help any time soon.

This is my second book in a row featuring a Department of Fish and Wildlife Game Warden and I'm really enjoying all the focus on the natural setting. This one is set in rural Maine. The book's title refers
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, nature, maine, fiction
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
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For a bookaholic like me, finding a great series is more satisfying than finding an ice cream shop with 24 flavors and a going-out-of-business sale. They both, however, share the same downside: Finding time to do them justice. For sure that's true in the case of this author's Mike Bowditch books; this is my first, and I'm determined it won't be my last.

The happy dilemma came about by way of an accident of sorts; my husband Jack, who's a bit hard to please when it comes to books, lear
Larry H
Nov 02, 2012 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 ch
Sep 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Carol by: review resources
Shelves: debut, fiction
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
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A so-so mystery featuring a game warden, Mike Bowditch, whose estranged, and always-in-trouble father is accused of murder up in the north woods of Maine. As Mike tries to unravel what really happened he gets in way over his head. He doesn't battle only with his direct superiors, but the state police, who see him as maybe a little too protective (and knowledgeable) about his father's criminal activities.

For me it reads like a standard mystery: good guy questions what's going on; good guy gets d
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it

How often do you read in a novel: "He crossed his legs amid his penis and testicles."? Never, that's how often. You have never seen that sentence before now. Or: "His uniform had a huge stain below his penis and testicles." Aside from perhaps Louisa May Alcott, that is a seldom-used juxtaposition of words. Yet it is a tic with this author to write about breasts in this way.

"Mrs. Hersom crossed her arms across her narrow breasts."
"She folded her arms across her breasts."
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Our hero enters the story as a Maine Game Warden recovering from a bad breakup. We are introduced to his troubled childhood while he tries to prove his father innocent of murdering a cop. Oh, and Dad, a poacher who is good at not getting caught, is hiding out in the Northern Maine woods. Can our hero find his dad before a gun-happy cop finds him first?
May 07, 2013 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 youn
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent genre thriller. Excited to be able to add something like this to my "liked" column, it's always good to have these types of books on standby when I need a palate cleanser. This was enjoyable but easy reading.
Jan 12, 2013 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
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Julia Spencer-Fleming
Apr 30, 2011 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
Nov 03, 2012 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.
Feb 17, 2010 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
May 05, 2011 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
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Probably at least a year ago I was at Goodwill and saw the first five books of the Mike Bowditch series. He is a Game Warden in Maine. Because I like the Joe Picket books by C.J. Box so much, and because I spent many summers in Maine as a child, I picked them up. And didn't read them until last week.

Well, just the first one, The Poacher's Son, but I had a very hard time putting it down. I really liked it and hope the other 4 books are as good. Mike Bowditch gets a phone call from his
Kelly ...
Apr 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
OK, so I can understand why so many reviewers gave this book four and five stars, but I cannot go there. I think for this review I will bullet point the good and the bad.


1. The setting! I loved the exploration of Maine and its culture. Some of my favorite mystery series allow the setting to act as a character itself. (For example, Wyoming in the Joe Picket series and Alaska in the Kate Shaguk series). I believe that Maine will be a perfect setting for this serie
Another game warden book set in Maine! I love the setting in the northeast wilderness. This intro to game warden Mike Bowditch and his troublesome father came to an unexpected ending. Will be listening to next in the series.
This was a good start to a series set deep in the northern woods of Maine, featuring Mike Bowditch, a game warden.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How great to find another “new to me” mystery suspense writer/series. This one is set in current Maine wilderness with the protagonist a game warden named Mike Bowditch. Mike is struggling with his own problems, but is faced with the fact that his father may have killed a policeman. Jack Bowditch is a pretty despicable person as are many of the characters in the story, but Mike feels he should clear his father’s name. There is plenty of action and suspense that kept me tied to this book.
James Aura
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A nicely drawn mystery set firmly in the Maine wilderness. I liked much about this book. My only critique might be the main character who seemed rather unlikable through much of the story.
He does, of course improve toward the end. The mystery itself was excellent and Paul Doiron handled the twist/reveal really well. I'll definitely read his next book to keep up with this young game warden.
Mar 01, 2010 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
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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

Other books in the series

Mike Bowditch (1 - 10 of 11 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)
  • Knife Creek (Mike Bowditch, #8)
  • Stay Hidden (Mike Bowditch, #9)
  • Almost Midnight (Mike Bowditch, #10)
  • One Last Lie (Mike Bowditch, #11)
“People disappoint you so often. I hardly knew how to react when they surpassed all your hopes.” 7 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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