Pitch Dark
June 7, 2024

Book Review

Pitch Dark

reviewed by Pam Guynn

Suspense, murder, and danger are expected from Paul Doiron’s Mike Bowditch series, and Pitch Dark, the fifteenth book in the series, brings the action and intensity to new levels. Bush pilot Josie Jonson is ecstatic when she finds a skilled builder for the log cabin she wants built near Prentiss Pond. All Mark Redmond asks for in return is to be left alone to build and to homeschool his daughter, Cady.

Maine Game Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch is concerned about the intensity of Redmond’s secretiveness; especially after a man looking for the Redmonds has gone missing. Josie eventually agrees to fly Mike and his father-in-law Charley Stevens to the pond so they can protect Mark and Cady. But hours later, they witness a murder and are taken captive.

Mike is a great tracker and wants to believe the best of others, but he can be fiery and bold. He also has a somewhat perverse sense of humor that isn’t always appreciated by others. He’s a good listener and mentor, but can be baited somewhat easily and isn’t always likeable. He listens to his intuition and is relentless in his pursuit of his investigations. I appreciated his independent thinking and his observation skills. Mike’s wife, Stacey, plays a much smaller, but important role in this novel.

This riveting crime thriller keeps you on the edge of your seat from near the beginning to the exhilarating finish. The world-building of rural northern Maine was fantastic. I was easily transported there and felt like I was running a gauntlet of adversity with Mike and immersed in the atmosphere of the north woods.

The novel builds suspense in a way that pulls readers into the lives of the characters. Mike’s perseverance, resourcefulness, and determination were highlights in this novel. The plot is suspenseful and full of action. Moving at breakneck speed, it has several twists and turns and is darker than others I’ve read by this author. While a couple of plot points were a little predictable, my main quibble is that while the main mystery was solved, there are a few too many loose ends. However, I’m sure the next book will resolve them.

Overall, this fast-paced novel was engaging, gripping, pulse-pounding, and atmospheric with good 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, Stacey, and Charley. I recommend this to those who like crime thrillers with strong main characters and those who enjoy action-packed wilderness adventure novels.

St. Martin’s Press – Minotaur Books and Paul Doiron provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own. Publication date is currently expected to be June 25, 2024.

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