Hatchet Island – Paul Doiron

A handsome young man grabs his camera, and tells his Mom he’s going to find a boreal owl, a rarity in Maine, before driving to the Penobscot Narrows bridge and leaping to his death… 

Maine game warden/investigator Mike Bowditch returns in a new novel, as he and girlfriend Stacey Stevens set out in their kayaks for Baker Island, a small, granite and sand island off the coast of Maine, where The Maine Seabird Initiative assists with seabird restorative efforts.  A college friend of Stacey’s, Kendra Ballard, reached out to her old friend for assistance and requesting she bring Mike, after the programs director has seemingly gone missing, and due to some other strange happenings had started.  As they paddle along in the early morning hours, they’re nearly swamped by a boat racing by at top speed – a boat that belongs to the missing director. 

As they arrive on the island and meet up with Kendra, and interns Heather and Garrett, they learn of some troubling sabotage that’s been taking place. Maeve seems to be behaving erratically, someone has populated the island with weasels, which have decimated the bird populations nesting there, and boaters have been staying just offshore harassing the islands interns. After an encounter with once such boat, Mike sends them on their way. Intending to rejoin the trio in the morning, Stacey and Mike head to neighboring Spruce Island to camp for the night, where a gunshot awakens them in the pre-dawn hours – a gunshot that sounded like it came from Baker Island. 

Upon their return to the island, they find evidence of sabotage, before discovering the bodies of Kendra and Heather. Garrett is nowhere to be found, and the small skiff that is usually present on islands edge is missing.  As Mike does his best to secure the crime scene, Stacey heads to a neighboring island in her kayak in hopes of finding a cell signal, or other means to summon help. 

Shortly thereafter, the cavalry descends on the little island with the Coast Guard, & the Maine State Police among the investigators.  

As Mike and the crew investigate the murders, Stacey remains on a neighboring island, owned by an eccentric artist and his equally interesting wife.  It’s not until Mike joins Stacey on the island that he spots something that puts it all together for him – and now he realizes he’s in a veritable den of snakes, any one of which may be a killer… 

As a former Mainer – for a short while anyway – I was elated when I discovered this series a couple of years ago!  I love reading about places I’ve been, and an investigative type series with a recurring main character – heaven!  This is the newest installment of the Mike Bowditch series and, like others before it, it took off like a rocket and I could not put it down. Add in some birds for a bird nerd like me, and it was pretty darn near perfect! A great read from Paul Doiron!! 

I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley & St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books in exchange for an objective review.  Do you love to read?? Visit netgalley.com and start reviewing books today!!