Retired police officer Bruce Coffin has become an awesome novelist

I figured it out! I figured out who killed the prominent attorney, the drug dealer, and the stripper.  Well, ok, I was only about 20 pages from the end of Bruce Robert Coffin’s wonderful new novel, Beneath the Depths, but I did sense who the real killer was before Coffin revealed that information.

As the intriguing story progressed, more than a dozen possible killers were trotted out, and another prominent attorney was jailed for those murders, but it became obvious, using the clues Coffin revealed, that someone else was the killer. And I figured it out.

I enjoyed Coffin’s first novel, Among the Shadows, and his new novel is even better. I can tell you that this book is flying off the shelves of our Mount Vernon library, and getting rave reviews from our patrons.

How did this retired police officer become such a good writer, I wonder? Coffin served for 27 years in law enforcement, retiring from the Portland police department where he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations, and then he spent four years working counter-terrorism cases with the FBI. OK, I guess all of that gave him some good story ideas!

But still, his dialogue, descriptive text, very real characters, and intriguing plots are impressive, especially for a new writer.

The story is a really good one, with a prominent Portland attorney turning up dead at the bottom of Casco Bay after he lost a multimillion dollar civil trial. That attorney had lots of secrets and many enemies, so there are plenty of possibilities to explain his death.

I really like Coffin’s main character, detective sergeant John Byron, and his partner, detective Diane Joyner. There’s plenty of corruption, betrayal, murder and mayhem in this novel that kept me up reading for two nights well after my bedtime. And I figured it out!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.