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Knife Creek (Mike Bowditch) by Paul Doiron
Cover Artist: Landscape by Habrda / Shutterstock;
Wild Bears by AP Photo / Matthias Schrader
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover / eBook  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250102355
Date: 13 June 2017 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Read an Excerpt / Show Official Info /

Maine Warden Mike Bowditch and his girlfriend Stacey Stevens are hunting feral pigs on the Knife Creek Trail in Birnam. Feral pigs are destructive, disease riddled creatures that destroy eco systems. After killing three adult pigs, they discover the partially devoured remains of a human baby inside a shallow mud hole. While conducting a house-to-house search for the villains responsible for abandoning the baby, Mike stumbles upon a house that is being rented by two strange women wearing identical red wigs. One of the women resembles Casey Donaldson, a young college student who disappeared four years ago while partying on the Saco River with some friends; eventually, law enforcement officers gave her up for dead. Mike soon learns that someone is willing to do anything, even murder, in order to keep Casey forever hidden.

I don't know how Paul Doiron does it. Each new Mike Bowditch novel is always more engrossing and more intriguing than its predecessor. His latest one, Knife Creek, is extremely horrifying and tense. Mike experiences a torturous, agonizing nightmare at the hands of some tremendously vile, perverted criminals. What is even scarier is knowing that the events in this novel occur in real life. Pretty girls disappear often and are never seen again. Sometimes, they are found years later locked inside a basement or crawlspace, kept alive in order to fulfill someone's morbid fantasies. An FBI agent once told me that if a missing person isn't found after one year, they are probably dead or they don't want to be found. Knife Creek explores a third scenario: the victim is being held hostage.

Books by Paul Doiron:
Mike Bowditch Mysteries:
* Bad Little Falls
* Massacre Pond
* The Bone Orchard
* The Precipice
* Widowmaker
* Knife Creek

This is one of those novels that taught me not to judge another human being until I have walked in their shoes. Sometimes we are quick to question why someone didn't try to escape their captor. Enough said on that topic. I don't want to give away the plot. What I can say is that Knife Creek, towards the end, contains some shocking scenes--scenes reminiscent of such films as Saw, Hostel, or Rest Stop. These are scenes intended for mature readers, not children.

Thanks to Doiron's gift for great character development, there is a lot of emotional drama taking place in Knife Creek. Conflicts abound. One character is on the verge of losing their job while another one may get a promotion. A love triangle is developing. Two women are attracted to the handsome Mike. Mike's old nemesis, retired State Police Detective Antonio Menario, has returned to butt heads with the warden. Menario insists that Casey was killed by a notorious womanizer, Dakota Rowe. Mike's claims that she is still alive is making Menario look like the fool that he truly is. The novel's title kept making me think of characters sticking knives into each other's backs, and they nearly do this.

Doiron is a writer who conducts a lot of research, and it has proved quite profitable for him. His novels read like nonfiction; they always teach me something. I didn't know Maine had legalized the recreational use of marijuana. I Googled it and, sure enough, they had. I wish they would legalize it in Tennessee where my mom lives. Marijuana would help alleviate her arthritic pain, preventing her from screaming in agony. It wears on my nerves to hear a loved one scream. Also, readers will be given a brief, but gruesome, introduction on how to butcher a feral pig. Maine is rich in wildlife, both animal and plant, and Doiron makes you feel as though you are walking through this natural abundance. Indeed, Maine is a gorgeous state, especially in the summer months when the tourists are partying on the lakes and rivers as they are in Knife Creek.

If you enjoy reading about the great outdoors, then I highly recommend the Mike Bowditch series from Paul Doiron. Maine seems like a foreign country to me. It is very wild, beautiful, and large. There are many places to hide a dead body. It makes a great setting for this mystery series which grows more popular with each installment. Fans will enjoy Knife Creek for its intrigue, suspense, violence, gore, and mayhem. I pray that this unique mystery series never ends and I am eagerly awaiting the publication of its next installment.

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