In his latest adventure (the ninth of the series), Mike Bowditch adjusts to his new role as an investigator while trying to solve the most head-scratching murder case of his career.
No longer a game warden, Bowditch recently accepted a job promotion to become Maine’s newest warden investigator. When readers catch back up with Mike, he’s got a lot more going on than just trying to get used to the shirt and tie his new gig requires him to wear on a near-daily basis. Recently split from his longtime girlfriend, Stacey, he’s also adjusting to life as a bachelor.
It’s only a few days into deer season, and there have already been several reported deaths. First, a grandfather tripped and accidentally shot his grandson in the head. Seeing what he’d done, the old man went into cardiac arrest, leaving the boy’s father alone in the woods and scrambling for help. With resources being poured into that investigation, Mike is assigned the other fatality, where a woman on Maquoit Island, located twenty miles off the coast of Mount Desert, was shot and killed while hanging her wet laundry on the line to dry.
Before leading a small team of various members of local law enforcement to the island, Mike was told the case was a slam dunk. A man had apparently confessed to accidentally shooting the woman, whom he’d mistaken for a deer. But, as readers might expect, nothing goes according to plan.
Taking a fifteen-minute plane ride in Charly Steven’s Cessna, which is awkward for Bowditch due to the fact that Charly is Stacy’s father and the two haven’t exactly been the best of friends since he split with his daughter, Mike and his group touch down on Maquoit Island intending to take the confessed shooter into custody for questioning. Instead, Mike’s stunned to learn that nobody ever really confessed to anything, the first confusing moment in a series of incidents that makes it clear from the get-go that this is going to be one of the most challenging cases of the newly-minted warden inspector’s long career as a lawman.
It turns out that the woman who was killed is an investigative journalist named Ariel Evans, who had apparently rented a home on the island to work on a book that delves into a twenty-year-old homicide. Two decades ago, Hollywood bigwig Blake Markman was accused of setting his house on fire, killing his wife, who was trapped inside. He skated the charges and is now rumored to be living near Maquoit. No longer believing her death to be the result of a hunting accident, Mike sets out to find the woman’s killer, and in the process uncovers a number of shady characters who each have a separate motive for potentially wanting Ariel dead.
The story’s first major twist rocks the close-knit island community when another woman suddenly shows up claiming to be the real Ariel Evans, raising the stakes considerably for Mike Bowditch as he searches desperately through the chaos around him for answers. . . and for the killer.
Paul Doiron has long been compared to #1 New York Times bestseller C.J. Box, but this is the book that pulls him alongside other iconic crime novelists such as James Lee Burke and John Sandford. Fans worried that Mike’s promotion will somehow change the series into something completely different moving forward don’t need to worry. This is vintage Doiron and everything his readers have come to expect.
Beautifully written and filled with stunning cinematic visuals, Stay Hidden is some of Paul Doiron’s finest work to date and a bona fide contender for best crime novel of the year.
Author: Paul Doiron
Series: Mike Bowditch #9
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: July 3, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.75/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.