Almost Midnight

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Mike Bowditch, once a game warden in Maine, was promoted in a previous book to investigator. He has matured through the books, and is somewhat less impetuous as he enters his thirties than he was in his twenties. Nonetheless, in ALMOST MIDNIGHT he gets involved in a couple of investigations while on vacation and ends up in a deadly gunfight by the end of the book. The characters that we've come to know and love over the series, of which this is the 10th, are all present, although they circle around the periphery while Mike maintains center stage.

Two things happen almost simultaneously while Mike is fly-fishing on vacation. First, he is summoned by his old friend, Cronk, from his prison cell. Not for the first time, Cronk asks Mike to investigate a conspiracy and Mike slowly gets himself into the middle of a deadly drug-running scheme. A second call, this one from a veterinarian, brings Shadow, a wolf/dog mix from Mike's past, back into his life. Shadow has been mortally wounded by someone using an old-fashioned crossbow, and Mike needs to find the killer as much to ensure that Shadow's mate is unscathed as to exact retribution.

His two investigations take him upstate to a backwoods cabin and an Amish community that has adopted a young hippie survivalist couple. His time in the cabin causes him to reflect upon his life and what is most important to him, giving him some refuge from his current life. It ends up being anything but a refuge from danger, however, as the plot lines merge and coalesce around acts of vicious violence. There is a satisfying ending during which pretty much everyone gets what they deserve.

As always, Doiron writes masterfully of the land and people of rural Maine, taking readers on a trip to locales they might otherwise not get to visit. The roughness of the land helps support the rough characters in the book, providing a depth to their development. For those who have been reading the series, ALMOST MIDNIGHT brings new insights into Mike Bowditch's maturation. It would be possible to enjoy this book as novel of suspense as an entry point to the series, but much of the character development might be lost in that case. Mike took some new directions during the events in this book, and I look forward to seeing how they play out in future books.
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This was the first Paul Doiron book of this series I have read. It was very well written and could easily be a stand alone novel as I didn't even realize it was a series until later! 
The characters are well developed and the descriptions of the land and scenes are vivid and amazing! I would definitely pick up another one of his books. 

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Loved this new chapter in the Mike Bowditch series.  Bowditch, a Maine game warden, has a knack for finding trouble and this time he tries to help out his friend Billy Cronk, in prison for a few years thanks to Mike.  I love his descriptions of Maine and the people who inhabit this special place. Will recommend to my customers who enjoy CJ Box.
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I really LOVED Almost Midnight by Paul Doiron. I am a resident of Maine where the Mike Bowditch series takes place and this authors descriptions and imagery are so authentic. 

The story if fast pasted and action filled with a few twists. I never tire of these stories as the author keeps them fresh and exciting . I especially enjoyed the ending. 

Cannot wait for the next Mike Bowditch novel from this fantastic author.
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I came into this series at Book 10 and loved it. What a skill to write a part of a series that could stand alone as well. Doiron does a wonderful job with twisting together two very different storylines. I loved every page of this book and can't wait to read the rest of the series.
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Great read. The author wrote a story that was interesting and moved at a pace that kept me engaged. The characters were easy to invest in.
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Almost Midnight is a very well-written book, 10th in the series Paul Doiron has produced about Maine game warden Mike Bowditch. This advance readers copy, supplied through NetGalley, was my introduction to the author and the series. Picky reader that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed it on its own without the background of the earlier installments.

Doiron ticks the boxes: Characters are well-drawn and relatable; plot moves forward without either rushing or dawdling; dialogue is natural and believable, and reflects the rural character of the setting and the cultural differences among quite a divergence of groups.

What I appreciated most is that he accomplishes a tough ask: Describe a magnificent place without bogging down the action. He also skillfully handles several parallel plot lines (that, of course, never converge, being parallel) without jarring transitions. All in a warden's day's work.

Except it's not, strictly speaking, his work as a warden that powers this story. Three of the storylines are about his personal connections: one with a new love interest, one with a longtime, loyal friend, and one with a wild creature. I gather from the backstory woven in that Bowditch in the past hasn't been very good with personal relationships. 

Even though his occupation and the setting of the Great Outdoors draws inevitable comparisons to the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box, that last point shows how different the two characters are: Joe Pickett is a seasoned Wyoming Game warden who is above all a family man. Mike Bowditch is scarcely able to consider the thought of a real, steady, "normal" girlfriend.

Good story.

Thanks to Minotaur Books and the author for the digital e-galley.
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Almost Midnight is the tenth book in the Mike Bowditch series, but it reads as a stand-alone novel. So please, don't let the fact that you have not read the previous books in this series deter you from picking up this one.  You may even find you enjoy it so much that you want to go back and read the previous books (heck, it might also make you want to visit Maine)!

In Almost Midnight, Mike Bowditch, who is an investigator with the Maine Warden Service, is enjoying his vacation when he receives a phone call from Aimee Cronk, his best friend's wife, informing him that Billy needs to see him immediately. His best friend, Billy Cronk, who is serving time, mentions a female guard to Mike.  Still feeling guilty for testifying against his friend in court, Mike agrees to investigate CO Dawn Richie and her transfer to the Maine penitentiary where Cronk is housed. Soon thereafter, an attack at the prison occurs which lands the female guard and Billy in the hospital.

Bowditch is also informed that Shadow, a hybrid wolf, he saved years ago from a drug den has been shot with an arrow and may not survive the night. Mike goes on a mission to not only locate the person who shot Shadow but to also locate the female wolf who has been seen with Shadow to determine if she is still alive.

Dorian can pull off the two separate story lines effortlessly while giving us a glimpse into Mike's private life.  Using his free time, Mike begins his investigation and manages to ruffle some feathers along the way (seriously, what investigation doesn't ruffle feathers?).  

I was fully invested in this story and enjoyed how everything came together in the end. I really enjoyed the pacing of this book. Nothing felt rushed nor did anything feel drawn out.  His descriptions of the landscape are vivid making the landscape a character in this book as well.  Beautifully written with a well thought out plot, this was an absorbing read which did not disappoint. I also enjoyed how the females, especially Aimee were portrayed in this book. Aimee is the leader of her pack and does not let Mike get away with anything in this book.

 "Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mate and their pack. Yet both have been hounded, harassed and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors." -Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Riveting, engaging and well written. I highly recommend.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Almost Midnight – Paul Doiron

Years ago, Maine State Warden Mike Bowditch was forced to provide testimony that landed his best friend, Billy Cronk, in prison.  Now he receives a message from Billy’s wife, stating that Billy desperately needs to see him. Billy is asking him to investigate the background of a new prison guard, telling Mike that it’s a matter of life and death.  Mike is reluctant to do so, and Billy ends the conversation telling his friend not to come back. Feeling a bit guilty, Mike does a cursory search on the prison guard, finding little information on her and heads back to the prison, only to learn that Billy is now in the hospital after being stabbed by another inmate. Upon arrival, he learns that Billy saved the life of the guard he had asked Mike to research and is in surgery. As Mike begins to learn of the events leading up to the stabbing, he feels that something is off with the situation. 

Meanwhile, he receives an early AM call from an old Warden friend, Gary Pulsifer, who calls to tell Mike that Shadow, a wolf-dog hybrid that he’d had as a pup, has been mortally injured. Shadow had escaped confinement as a pup and has been running free in the woods of Maine for years. The vet fully anticipates Shadow’s death is imminent and gives Mike the crossbow that she removed from his body, Mike wants answers, and is hopeful that he can track the female wolf Shadow’s been seen with, to ensure her safety. 

As Mike attempts to locate Shadow’s shooter, he meets resistance at every turn. He also manages to get on the bad side of the town terror, Gorman Peaslee, who wants nothing but revenge. Then Billy, who is awaiting a pardon from the governor, suddenly escapes prison, and Mike knows that there’s only one reason why – because his family is in danger…. As Mike rushes to protect the Cronk family, he puts himself right in the crosshairs of a dangerous gang that will stop at nothing to silence Billy – and Mike…

This is my second book in the Bowditch series, and I am hooked! I love Mike’s character and having spent some time in Central Maine, I love re-visiting that time in my life with all the familiar landmarks! Mike is a bit of a backwoods Lucas Davenport, mixed with a little Jack Reacher! Great read! You will NOT be disappointed!! 

I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.
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This is the first book in the series of 10 that I've read and it makes me want to start at the beginning to understand Mike Bowditch's history and what makes him tick. This story refers back to previous relationship's, experiences, and situations I know nothing about. That said however, I found myself drawn to his character and connected to his love and devotion to his friends both human and animal. This story is very well written with likeable characters to root for and get to know. I definitely enjoyed reading this one but now have some catching up to do! I read this in one sitting. If I as a newbie enjoyed it, I would highly recommend it to followers of the series and those who don't mind jumping into a series putting aside those references to the past. 

Thank you To the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.
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Almost Midnight is the 10th installment in Paul Doiron’s series featuring game warden Mike Bowditch, but it was the first one I’ve read.  As a longtime fan of the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box, I expected to like this story about a game warden covering the completely different terrain of the Maine woods.  I was not disappointed.  The story stands on its own even to those unfamiliar with the characters.  The plot features a feral wolf-dog hybrid in need of emergency veterinary care (who could resist?) as well as suspicions of criminal activity among the wardens of the local prison (a literal “who will guard the guards?” scenario).  Add in Mike’s complicated relationship with his occasionally-paranoid friend Billy, who is incarcerated thanks to Mike’s own testimony.  There’s plenty there to keep the characters off-balance and the story moving along, even if the story isn’t a thriller in a stay-up-all-night sense.  The characters are strong enough that I will probably start from the beginning and read the series in order.  

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance digital review copy.
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I arrived pretty late to this series. Not having read every book before this one, It took me a while to connect with the characters. Fortunately, I caught up on the series gradually, and, over time, the characters developed and I came to appreciate them.
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I loved reading the entire Mike Bowditch series..  In this book we revisit some of  my favorite characters from other books.  We find Mike helping his friends and fighting the bad guys.

I recommend reading the books in order to see how Mike matures and deals with being a Maine game warden.
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My first thought when I started reading this story about Mike Bowditch, was that it reminded me so much of the books written by C.J. Box. (I started my dad reading those books about three years ago and it wasn't any time before he'd read them all. Needless to say, he loved them. Though he passed away in November of last year, I'm positive he would have loved books by Paul Doiron just as much.)

I think that you'll find that this story has beautiful descriptions of Maine as well as interesting mysteries. To be honest, I'm not a major fan of too much description, since I'm always so excited to move ahead with the storyline. But in this case, Doiron has done a wonderful job of balancing movement and description.

I found that the characters managed to easily slip into place as those I would like to read more about. In fact, oh silly me, I liked them so much that after finishing the book I checked to see if Doiron planned to make this book into a series. 

Oops! Now that's a good writer to be able to hide the fact that this is the 10th book in a series. Yes, there were references to past events, but I wasn't slowed down in the least by lengthy descriptions of happenings.  (Or alerted to the fact that these references were to previous books! I must have been totally engrossed with the story.)

So that should answer the question, Is this a stand-alone book? Absolutely!

What Concerned Me: 

I'm only noting this. It isn't really a concern.
The book is a mystery, in my way of thinking, not a thriller.

What I Liked Best: 

For this type of book, not a fast page-turning thriller, but rather a story that includes relationships and unique individuals, I couldn't ask for more.

As you might guess, the characters jump to the front of my list, followed by the interesting mysteries.
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I truly enjoy this series. Having lived in northern Maine, I appreciate the author's grittier, unromanticized descriptions about the land and its people. This series is highly recommended for those who like their mysteries set in the outdoors. - Posted to GoodReads
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While I tend to enjoy a good thriller/mystery, I admittedly do not typically seek out tales centered around animal tracking, endangered species, and other problems associated with the lifestyle of a game warden.  With that being said, I must admit that the 10th installment in the Mike Bowditch series masterfully weaves a highly intriguing prison conspiracy with the mystery of who shot Mike's wolf, Shadow, into one compelling story that will keep any reader joining in on the guessing game of where and how Almost Midnight might end.
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Love, love, love this series - and this, the 10th book, certainly does nothing to change that enthusiasm. Game Warden Mike Bowditch is in fine fettle - even if he's dithering a bit in his relatively new relationship with Maine state trooper Dani Tate. I've said this in other reviews, but Mike reminds me of author C.J. Box's game warden Joe Pickett, and in this book I picked up some tinges of Michael Lister's former prison chaplain John Jordan as well. But make no mistake: Mike is his own person - and a very capable, likable one at that.

Mike is an investigator with the Maine Warden Service, and as this story begins, he visits old friend and prison inmate Billy Cronk. Cryptically, Billy tells Mike that the new prison CO, Dawn Richie, needs to be investigated - but he stops short of explaining why. Mike is skeptical, but he also feels responsible for Billy's being in prison and somewhat reluctantly decides to look into the matter. Not long after his visit, Mike learns of a prison fight, during which both Billy and Dawn are injured. As it turns out, Billy was credited for saving the day (and Dawn's life), and now the governor says he'll issue a pardon.

Meantime, Mike - who's on vacation at the moment - must deal with a mystery of a very different sort; a wild wolf-dog with whom Mike once had a relationship of sorts has been shot with a wicked crossbow arrow and is expected to die. Both sad and furious, Mike vows to track down the archer. He uses his remaining free days to head for the deep backwoods, where some nasty characters and (surprise!) a group of Amish are ensconced. With help from an old friend, Mike even makes a rustic home for himself in the middle of a very scenic nowhere.

Billy's issues and the search for the wolf-killer run side by side for most of the book, coming together near the end when Billy's wife and children, who are trying to hide from some baddies who want to do them and Billy serious harm, take shelter in Mike's backwoods shack. At that point, all heck breaks loose - and readers are treated to a literal bang-up ending that happened way too soon to suit me.

Another terrific series entry is in the can - one thoroughly enjoyed by me as expected. Many thanks (once again) to the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy.
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Another great book featuring Mike Bowditch. His vacation is cut short by a call from a friend. Cronk shares a concern about the prison. Soon afterwards Cronk saves a CO during an inmate attack. One leg of the story follows the events surrounding Cronk and the prison. 

Mike gets a call from someone about a wounded wolf. He finds it is Shadow, the wolf dog hybrid, whom he rescued years ago. Who shot Shadow? Was it the newly settled Amish? The constitution spouting town bully/savior? Or the young couple living off the land? 

It is a pleasure to see the growth in the character over the years. His friendships and family reflections have shaped a mature man who does the right thing. The description of wildlife in Maine is breathtaking.
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Almost Midnight is an intriguing story about wolves and best friends. Add in corruption and bullies. This makes for interesting read. The characters will draw you into their lifes and the way they live them.
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I have read others in this series but this one may be the best yet. Two storylines one dealing with Mike’s friend and prison corruption and the other to do with him saving a wolf. Mike also is trying to be in a relationship. Overall an enjoyable easy read. I finished it in a day.

I was given a copy from netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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