A Book Spy Review: ‘Knife Creek’ By Paul Doiron

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In his latest novel, Maine game warden Mike Bowditch makes the most startling discovery of his long career.

Upon receiving reports of feral swine migrating from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Mike Bowditch–like all the other game wardens–was on the lookout for the pigs that posed a direct threat to the environment. When a call came in about a sighting, Mike, along with his girlfriend Stacy, trekked through the woods in hunt of black bear-sized pigs. 

Finding the pigs was the first of two shocking discoveries that the duo would make. Once the animals were dead, Mike and Stacy found the remains of an infant that had been wrapped in a pink t-shirt and buried in a shallow grave about a hundred yards from the Knife Creek trailhead off Saco Road. Worse, it was painfully obvious that someone had dumped the baby there for a reason–hoping the pigs would eat the remains and hide the evidence.

As the state police department take over the murder case, Bowditch quickly finds himself unable to give up the investigation. Acknowledging that he would spend the rest of his life “trying and failing to forget” the gruesome scene, he stays involved by helping to canvass the surrounding area.

Upon finding a remote cabin, Bowditch becomes suspicious of the two women staying there–but questioning them goes nowhere. A short while later, detectives match the baby’s DNA to Casey Donaldson, a woman who was previously thought to have died during a group rafting trip nearly four years ago–though the circumstances of her death are murky. 

As the puzzle pieces begin to fall into place, Bowditch embarks on a dangerous journey to find the truth about what happened to the abandoned infant, no matter where it might take him.

While always driving the story forward at a steady pace, Doiron still finds ways to develop his characters. Longtime readers will enjoy the progression of Mike and Stacey’s relationship, as the two now live together and plan a housewarming get-together with her family.

While Paul Doiron is often compared to #1 New York Times bestseller C.J. Box, the truth is that other than their characters both being game wardens (Box’s Joe Pickett is stationed in Wyoming), they don’t have a ton in common.

Aside from the fact that Doiron writes in first-person, letting Bowditch tell the story himself, his style is different than Box’s. Doiron’s series is a tad darker and has more of a crime fiction feel to it. The more accurate comparison might actually be to Minnesota-based novelist William Kent Krueger and his Cork O’Connor series. Either way, if you’re a fan of those guys, Paul Doiron should be the next name on your list of must-read authors. 

After starting off with a bang when he first introduced readers to Mike Bowditch in 2010’s The Poacher’s Son, Doiron has consistently put out top-notch mystery novels, and Knife Creek is one of his strongest entries yet.

Book Details

Author: Paul Doiron
Series: Mike Bowditch #8
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250102359
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 8/10
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