Bad Little Falls

By Paul Doiron

Read by: Henry Leyva

Macmillan Audio | 2012 | Running time: 9 hours | 7 CDs | $34.99

Reviewed by Michael Carey

Searching for the truth.

Paul Doiron is the award-winning author of the crime novel series centered around Maine game warden, Mike Bowditch. Bowditch is your well-rounded hero with a rough upbringing, a quick fuse, and a penchant for shortsighted decisions that get him into trouble time and again, both with his superiors and the locals.

Bad Little Falls is the third adventure that Doiron has plotted for our enjoyment, and Bowditch’s antics in the first two books have landed him in no man’s land, or District 58, “down east” near the Canadian border. It’s a community of high poverty, where a profitable drug trade is common knowledge and those running the show are feared.

Mike Bowditch is asked to provide assistance when a frostbitten man appears at a local cabin out of the flurries and gales of a fierce snowstorm.  The impending search uncovers a dead man. The corpse’s tattoo helps Mike identify that the body is none other than the local drug dealer and the ex-boyfriend of an attractive McDonald’s morning shift manager (and his soon to be love interest).

Bowditch senses foul play, as if a drug deal had gone wrong; and when the medical examiner proves him right, the only suspect is the survivor of the storm. That survivor turns out to be the half-witted, innocuous brother of the local beauty. As a warden, the investigation is out of his jurisdiction, but that doesn’t stop Bowditch’s search for the truth. Mike ref

The guilty conscience of one of the locals sends Mike on a risky chase that could claim his life. The multitude of factions troubling the warden make Mike’s “suspicion compass” waver and spin. The final twists have been set in place from early on in the novel, which diminishes the pay off somewhat but not the journey. And while falling into some of the pitfalls of this kind of character driven story, Bad Little Falls maintains an engaging and suspenseful progression that is certain to have listeners’ attentions.

Moreover, author Doiron is a registered guide in Maine and proudly puts his knowledge on display in this first person novel: listing tracking methods and ice safety rules of thumb. Through his words, we can sense the cold and landscape that he knows so well. When you combine the expertise of Doiron and the seasoned vocal talents of Henry Leyva (and his authentic Maine accents), we can’t help but feel like were on a ride along with Mike Bowditch, flying over the wilderness, being saturated with skunk spray, and trudging through the snow, as he tracks down a murderer and uncovers a deeply guarded secret.

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