Dead By Dawn

Mysterious Book Report No. 456

by John Dwaine McKenna

Just in time for the hottest days of the summer, comes a searing new novel by Edgar finalist Paul Doiron that features a Maine Game Warden named Mike Bowditch who’s fighting for his life in the midst of an arctic-like sub-freezing winter night, trapped on a remote part of the Androscoggin River and pursued by a gang of vicious criminals who intend to kill him.

Dead By Dawn, (Minotaur, $27.99, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-23510-7), by Paul Doiron, begins with Bowditch crashing his Jeep down a steep embankment just as dark is falling and through the ice of the river with an injured full-grown wolf in the back.  He manages to escape the sinking vehicle, but is left soaking wet in the twenty degree darkness with hypothermia, and certain death setting in.

Then the novel flashes back to earlier in the day, when Warden Bowditch met with a woman named Mariëtte Chamberlain, who wants her husband’s father’s accidental drowning death to be reopened and re-examined, because she thinks he was murdered.  Her father-in-law, a former British diplomat and college professor named Eban Chamberlain, fell out of his duck hunting boat and perished in the river without a life jacket on . . . something Mariëtte claims is a lie, saying, “He never went on the water without his flotation devices.  Never.” Bowditch, who has a reputation for solving cold cases says, with reluctance, that he’ll take a look at the evidence.

Thereafter, the story unfolds in alternating chapters between the present—where Mike Bowditch is trapped in the dark on an island in the Androscoggin River.  He’s wounded, weaponless, without backup or means of calling for help, while being hunted by a family of backwoods criminals with snow machines and high-powered rifles—and earlier in the day, when Mr. Dorion tells the how, why, who and what that put the indomitable Game Warden into a situation he might not survive. Then  the author goes on to weave a compelling and electrifying yarn that combines unrelenting suspense and ceaseless action.  Those who read Dead By Dawn will be up ‘til dawn . . . engrossed and relishing this unforgettable novel!

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