The plot hinges on the events following the evening when Mike Bowditch, Maine Game Warden, learns that his Vietnam-damaged father, Jack, stands accused of murdering two men, one of them another Warden. Despite a dysfunctional upbringing, in his father's harsh 'care', Mike knows that there is no way his dad could have murdered anyone. Drunk, dissolute and irresponsible Jack may be, but Mike knows he's not a killer. Jack goes on the run in the backwoods and at the risk of losing the job he loves, Mike disobeys his superiors' orders to leave the matter alone, and sets out track down his sorry excuse for a father, in order to prove the man's
innocence and clear his name. The story moves forward in what at first seems to be a fairly conventional manner, but gradually, as more information is disclosed, the tension ratchets up and up. In the rural communities Doiron is so eloquently describing, where moose and bear and deer roam freely, not only does everyone have a gun but they are also prepared to use it. I can promise you that the ending is a surprise.
I loved this book. I loved Doiron's lyrical descriptions of the natural beauty of the wilderness, of forests and lakes, bogs and hills. Above and beyond the plot is the ever-present sense that this idyll is about to be lost forever by the greed of the logging companies who are threatening to destroy it. I loved, too, the subtle delineation of the relationship between Jack and Mike, the exasperated affection with which son views father and his longing for his dad's love, and the very different father-figure presented by Charley Stevens and his wife Ora. I loved the beautifully-rounded figures who move through this book, each character, even the peripheral ones, perfectly realised, so that you would recognise them immediately were you to meet them.
I am now Doiron's Number One fan, and will be getting hold of the second – and third – books in this series as soon as I can.