Two college girls have disappeared while hiking the “Hundred Mile Wilderness” in Maine. Sketchy details become available as game warden Mike Bowditch is tasked with constructing the girls’ check-in points along the trail to where they might have disappeared. A key part of the search is a disturbing note left by the girls at their last check point about coyotes following them, which brings a firestorm of the locals who begin to bounty hunt any coyote in the area.
Crazy, intense local characters abound–any of which could be involved in the girls’ disappearance– adding another layer of suspense to the intense search. Is there more than one “enemy” lurking in the woods? As the hunt intensifies, game warden Bowditch is joined by other search and rescue organizations, intense preachers, and even the FBI. Is there a link to other disappearances and murders in other state parks? Gaining insight into the Mike Bowditch character, I found this passage in the novel very revealing:
“If you hope to find a lost person, you need to set aside your emotions. But how do you remain calm when a toddler is lost near a raging river? Or when two hikers vanish without a trace on one of the most heavily traveled trails in the country?…The truth is, no training exercise ever prepares you for the mood swings you go through when you are hunting in a remote place for actual human beings who might or might not be alive, and you realize that their fate is entirely in your hands.” [p.3]
This was my first time reading this author, who was an Edgar Award Finalist. His skilled writing proves that he has the right amount of mystery and area history to make a highly suspenseful story. I was wowed by the pace of events, and the rush to the artful conclusion was more than I could have hoped for.
You might give this one a definite try, especially if you are a fan of authors C.J. Box or Nevada Barr. As a final note, you will want to grab a copy of all his five other suspenseful stories in the game warden Bowditch series; I know that I plan to!