Another great novel by retired Portland police detective Bruce Coffin

I was surprised when retired Portland police officer Bruce Coffin wrote a very good first novel, because that is never easy. But I guess his work as a police detective and his four years of working counterterrorism for the FBI gave him lots of great ideas for his novels.

I really enjoyed Bruce’s first three novels, and his new one, Within Plain Sight, is really great. It is fairly long, 415 pages, so I planned to enjoy it over the course of a week. But I got hooked on the very first page and I just couldn’t stop reading, so I read it in just three days.

Bruce’s main character, Portland Police Detective Sergeant John Byron, is relentless in his pursuit of bad people. In the new novel, a woman’s headless body is discovered near downtown Portland in an abandoned lumberyard, and it turns out that there are a lot of suspects. And Byron, with the help of other police officers, pursues every suspect.

Each time they focused on a suspect, I was convinced he or she was the killer. And I don’t want to give away the ending so I won’t say anymore. I will say his plots are very realistic and believable.

If you have spent any time in Portland you will recognize many of the places in this book.

Bruce’s previous novel, Beyond the Truth, was an Agatha Award Nominee for Best Contemporary Novel, a Maine Literary Award nominee for Best Crime Fiction, and won the Silver Falchion Award for Best Procedural.

I expect his new novel will be widely recognized as exceptional. You can learn more at You can also purchase his books there.

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.