reviewed by Pam Guynn
Paul Doiron brings suspense, danger, and intense moments to his atmospheric Hatchet Island, a gripping crime thriller and police procedural that is the thirteenth book in the Mike Bowditch series. If you like action-adventure, nature, mysteries, and danger; then this book is one to check out.
Maine game warden investigator Mike Bowditch and his girlfriend Stacey Stevens head to an island off the coast of Maine after Stacey receives a text from a former colleague asking for help. They decide to travel via sea kayak to the sanctuary for endangered birds and its research station that studies puffins, terns, and other birds. Upon arrival, they find the leader is missing and may have mental health problems. Additionally, the biologists are being threatened by local lobstermen and a boatman is harassing them. However, this is just the beginning of what Mike and Stacey find the next day. After camping on a nearby islet, Mike and Stacey return to the refuge only to find disaster has struck.
Mike and Stacey are likeable characters and work well together. Stacey was a bush pilot, biologist, emergency medical technician, photographer, and a kayaking guide. She can intimidate others because she is so talented. Mike is a great tracker and wants to believe the best of others, but he can be fiery and bold.
The prologue is dark and gritty, but it takes a while for readers to discover how it relates to the rest of the story. The setting is mainly on four islands off the coast of Maine as well as the sea kayak trip to get there. There are many nature references including birds, flowers, frogs, and shrubs, as well as weather details that make the reader feel as if they are in Maine with Mike and Stacey. The author captured the characters and lifestyles in a way that brings them to life.
This riveting crime thriller and police investigation keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The novel builds suspense in a way that pulls readers into the lives of the characters. The plot is suspenseful, full of chasing down leads and interviewing suspects and witnesses as well as plenty of danger for those involved. I enjoyed how the author twisted the plot points and provided unpredictable moments in the story. The conflict moves the story forward at a rapid pace. Who can be trusted? How many people are telling lies? Who will survive? Will you see that ending coming? Themes include death, relationships, families, secrets, harassment, and much more.
Overall, this briskly paced novel was engaging and atmospheric with diverse characterization and great world-building details. Even though this is part of a series, it is a great stand-alone read too. I can’t wait to find out what is next for Mike and Stacey. I recommend this to those that like crime thrillers and police procedurals with relatable and likeable main characters.
St. Martin’s Press – Minotaur Books and Paul Doiron provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently expected to be June 28, 2022.