Years ago, Maine State Warden Mike Bowditch was forced to provide testimony that landed his best friend, Billy Cronk, in prison. Now he receives a message from Billy’s wife, stating that Billy desperately needs to see him. Billy is asking him to investigate the background of a new prison guard, telling Mike that it’s a matter of life and death. Mike is reluctant to do so, and Billy ends the conversation telling his friend not to come back. Feeling a bit guilty, Mike does a cursory search on the prison guard, finding little information on her and heads back to the prison, only to learn that Billy is now in the hospital after being stabbed by another inmate. Upon arrival, he learns that Billy saved the life of the guard he had asked Mike to research and is in surgery. As Mike begins to learn of the events leading up to the stabbing, he feels that something is off with the situation.
Meanwhile, he receives an early AM call from an old Warden friend, Gary Pulsifer, who calls to tell Mike that Shadow, a wolf-dog hybrid that he’d had as a pup, has been mortally injured. Shadow had escaped confinement as a pup and has been running free in the woods of Maine for years. The vet fully anticipates Shadow’s death is imminent and gives Mike the crossbow that she removed from his body, Mike wants answers, and is hopeful that he can track the female wolf Shadow’s been seen with, to ensure her safety.
As Mike attempts to locate Shadow’s shooter, he meets resistance at every turn. He also manages to get on the bad side of the town terror, Gorman Peaslee, who wants nothing but revenge. Then Billy, who is awaiting a pardon from the governor, suddenly escapes prison, and Mike knows that there’s only one reason why – because his family is in danger…. As Mike rushes to protect the Cronk family, he puts himself right in the crosshairs of a dangerous gang that will stop at nothing to silence Billy – and Mike…
This is my second book in the Bowditch series, and I am hooked! I love Mike’s character and having spent some time in Central Maine, I love re-visiting that time in my life with all the familiar landmarks! Mike is a bit of a backwoods Lucas Davenport, mixed with a little Jack Reacher! Great read! You will NOT be disappointed!!
I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.