Massacre Pond: A Novel (Mike Bowditch Mysteries) by Paul Doiron

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Massacre PondPretty interesting story about a young game warden in Maine who gets involved in some things that seem to be a distance away from the normal game warden’s job. Mike Bowditch, the warden, is called to the scene of a really weird crime. There have been six moose shot dead on the estate of Elizabeth Morse. The moose appeared to have been shot and though, not dead immediately, died fairly close to where each was found. And the remains were not together but within a considerable walking range of each other.

Elizabeth Morse is a very wealthy animal rights activist who has settled into this area of Maine and is buying property with the plan to create a National Pak which she plans to give to the government. The residents are vehemently against the park idea. They feel it will definitely hurt their opportunities to make money in lumber and other areas. They also believe it will hinder their recreational habits which mainly consist of hunting wild game.

One of Mike Bowditch’s friends, Billy Cronk, is working as a caretaker for Mrs. Morse and he begins some investigating on his own into the deaths. As the story unravels the reason for his intent on finding the shooter or shooters is revealed. However the Maine Warden Service (of which Mike is a District Warden) basically has the responsibility of figuring out why and who shot the animals.

Mike is assigned to the case but under the supervision of his normal sergeant and one of the youngest lieutenants in the Warden Service. Lt. Marc Rivard and Bowditch were not at all friendly. Rivard does all in his power to put Bowditch into fairly stupid basic jobs like hunting in nearby gravel pits for shells that might be matched up to those that killed the moose.

Throughout the story Mike is given menial tasks to perform. However Elizabeth Morse took a liking to him early on and requested his presence on her estate as part of the Ranger investigation. None of these happenings, and there continue to be many including several murders and people following Morse’s daughter who appears to have her eye on Mike deter Mike from continuing to investigate and check out his own theories. He envisions several different possibilities and they all involve locals with reasons of their own.

Another glitch comes when he gets some unhappy news about his mother who he has kind of distanced himself from over the years. That news as well as his own continuing thoughts about several different women all work to slow down his investigating but he does stay on it.

The book moves at a good pace and gives the reader a pretty good idea of the Maine countryside and its beauty. Well described and yet not overdone. It all just seems to fit together in the way Doiron tells the story. The ending, though somewhat surprising, makes Mike look like a good investigator.

Not a lot of gore, or sex, or a lot of profanity all help to make Massacre Pond a great read and will induce others like it has me to look for more of Doiron’s tales of the Wardens’ work in Maine. Get it and read it!

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