Author Paul Doiron is packing more and more plot into his novels. After publishing four very popular award-winning novels, Paul left his job as managing editor of Down East magazine to focus all of his attention on writing. That decision appears to be paying off.
Paul’s new book, The Bone Orchard, scheduled for publication by Minotaur Books on July 15, is riveting. I was surprised right off the bat to discover that Paul’s central character, Mike Bowditch, had quit his job as a Maine game warden and become a Maine guide. But not to worry, game wardens are front and center is this novel.
Last year Paul was a guest on Wildfire, the TV talk show I cohost with Harry Vanderweide (you can still watch the show on Maine Audubon’s website). We talked a lot about game wardens. Paul has spent a lot of time with wardens, to capture them as accurately as possible in his novels. And he’s really done a good job with that.
In fact, while he insists there is no Mike Bowditch in today’s Warden Service, the character is certainly very familiar to me.
But in the new novel, Paul also has an “intemperate governor,” and a Fish and Wildlife Commissioner who is an “incompetent bureaucrat who didn’t give a shit about protecting the state’s natural resources.”
There is also a Warden Service Colonel who “represented everything wrong with the Warden Service – the resistance to new ideas, the cronyism that rewarded political savvy over experience in the field, the sexism toward female officers.”
Hmmm. Wonder where Paul came up with all of that?
The plot is compelling and moves you quickly through the book. I took it to Monhegan last weekend, where we were enjoying a birding adventure, and raced through it. I won’t give anything away, other than to say that Warden Sargent Kathy Frost, Bowditch’s mentor when he was in the Service, is shot, and Bowditch, despite the fact he was no longer in the Service, pursues his own investigation, leading to more murder and mayhem.
By the end of the book, Bowditch – finally, after five novels – figures out what is most important in his life, both professionally and romantically.
On a side note, I remember last year when Paul posted on Facebook a lament that he was having a tough time writing a sex scene. Well, he overcame that trouble quite nicely!