Almost Midnight

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

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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Doiron balances two intriguing mysteries and changes in Bowditch's personal life and produces one of his most satisfying books yet.  This is a great series and Doiron keeps getting better.
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This is the tenth book in Doiron’s crime series featuring former Maine game warden and now newly promoted warden investigator Mike Bowditch.  (In Maine, game wardens are full law-enforcement officers, with all the powers of state troopers:  “They are the ‘off-road police.’”  Warden investigators are “for all intents and purposes a plainclothes detective.”) 

There have been other changes in Mike’s life recently besides his promotion.  His long-time girlfriend Stacey Stevens, daughter of his father-surrogate Charley, a retired warden, left him and moved to Florida.  Mike got a cottage near Bangor for his new job and has been dating Dani Tate for two months.  Dani, a former game warden and now a Maine state trooper assigned to southwestern Maine, would like more from Mike than occasional assignations, but he is still adjusting to life without Stacey.  He appreciates the two-hour distance between them, at least for the present. 

Mike is on a fishing vacation when the story begins, but interrupts it after a summons by Billy Cronk, his buddy who is has been in prison for four years serving a seven-to-ten year sentence for manslaughter.  Mike feels responsible for the prison sentence:  Billy was defending Mike during the killing, and Mike felt compelled to testify to the truth of what happened.  Now Billy asks for his help:  there’s a new prison guard, Sergeant Dawn Richie, and Billy is suspicious of her.  Billy claims it’s a matter of life or death.  But Mike also knows Billy has gotten paranoid in prison so he feels reluctant to go on a wild goose chase.

Mike’s vacation gets cut short by a second issue as well:  a fellow warden found Shadow, the wolf-dog hybrid rescued by Mike.  Shadow had been shot by an arrow and seemed to be in mortal danger.  A vet was tending to Shadow but told Mike she didn’t hold out much hope for his survival.

Things got more complicated fast.  Soon after Mike’s visit, there was a big fight at Billy’s prison and two guards were killed and one was wounded; Billy was in the room when it happened and was also wounded.  It was he, however, who was credited with saving the life of the one guard who lived, none other than Dawn Richie.  In return, for Billy’s actions, and also to score political points against his electoral running mate who convicted Billy in the first place, the Governor promises to pardon Billy.

But Billy isn’t out of the woods yet.  Someone wants revenge for what happened in the prison, and both he and his family are in danger.

Mike uses the rest of his vacation to investigate the two issues:  who shot Shadow and why?  And what really happened in the prison?  The latter is particularly important so he can protect Billy and his large family, with whom Mike is close.  

Other issues relevant to Maine are also in play as always in Doiron’s books:  the fate of wolves and coyotes in the state (Doiron quotes Swedish humanist Axel Munthe: “The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the case.  He is in front of it.”);  the opioid epidemic; and the increasing population of Amish.  (Maine has the fastest-growing population of Amish in the Northeast.)

As always, because Mike is sticking his nose into criminal activity the perpetrators would rather stay hidden, his own life soon is in danger as well as the Cronk family’s.

Evaluation:  I love learning more about Maine from Doiron’s books.   I always look forward to more stories in the series.
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Mike is on vacation when he receives an urgent call from his friend Billy, who is in prison. Billy is worried something bad is happening at the prison, but won’t give Mike any details. After an attack on the guards in the prison in which Billy saves a guard, the governor announces he will pardon Billy. Meanwhile, Mike hears that the wolf-hybrid he saved once before has been shot and may not survive. Mike is determined to find out who shot him and look for the wolf’s mate. In this book, Mike is older and beginning to mature. He tries to curb his impulsive nature and wants to reach out to his friends. I love the people and the wild Maine settings of this series. The mysteries are well-crafted and it’s nice to see Mike’s growth through the series. You could read this as a stand-alone, but do yourself a favor and read the series.
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Great book!  Mike Bowdirch is a game warden in Maine.  He's tough but vulnerable, especially when his old friend Billy Cronk (who Mike helped imprison with his own testimony) needs a favor.  But as Mike starts to investigate, he uncovers deep corruption and violence in the state prison system.   Mike is in harm's way as is Cronk's family (Aimee and the five litlle Cronklets).  Good story, good characters.  Favorable comparable to CJ Box's Joe Pickett series.  This was the first Mike Bowdirch story I've read but when I finished it, I immediately bought and read the first book in the series, THE POACHER'S SON.  It was also a great read and gives plenty of background on how Bowditch became the man he is in ALMOST MIDNIGHT.
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The Native American Seneca tribes believe that a wolf sung the moon into existence. And is its long-noted howling just a reminder that it will always be there even on moonless nights?

Almost Midnight rejoins us with Mike Bowditch, an investigator for the Maine Warden Service. Bowditch is a character that we've eagerly followed through this outstanding series centered on Mike's painstaking transformation from entry level Maine warden into quite the investigator with a sixth sense.

Bowditch is enjoying his last few days of vacation with fly rod in hand along the river. I guess it's kind of like the amusement park operator who relishes riding on the rollercoasters on his day off. Bowditch has just been informed that a hybrid wolf named Shadow had been seriously wounded by an arrow from a crossbow. Bowditch had a connection with Shadow after rescuing him from a drug den three years ago. He visits Shadow who has undergone surgery. The outlook is pretty bleak, but Bowditch is determined to investigate on his own time and in his own manner.

Paul Doiron adds another layer to Almost Midnight. Bowditch gets a call from his longtime buddy, Billy Cronk, who is serving time in the Maine Penitentiary. Billy, a family man and a veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, urgently asks Bowditch to visit him. It seems like a certain female guard who was recently transferred from the Downeast Correctional Facility may have a story that follows her. As Bowditch starts to look into Dawn Richie's background, Billy unexpectantly saves her life during an attack in the laundry area. Was there a target on Richie's back or was this payback from the other facility? Doiron will dig deep once again when Bowditch gets involved.

Almost Midnight reads as a standalone as Paul Doiron craftily fills in the backstories. Ideally, grab a few of the earlier books to give you a feel for the constantly evolving character of Bowditch. This is a series that remains solid over the years in the highly talented hands of Doiron. Doiron knows the ins and outs of his beautifully wooded state. He has an uncanny ability to register the pulse of its people, both the honorable and the pond bottom feeders as well.

You'll find yourself reading the last words on the last page.......yearning for the next encounter with the likes of Mike Bowditch once again.

I received a copy of Almost Midnight through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to Paul Doiron for the opportunity.
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I love this series and mike bowditch. I love that Maine and it’s landscapes feature so heavily. 
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
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Thank you NetGalley and Minotaur Books for the eARC.
This was my first book in the Mike Bowditch series; it appealed to me because of the hybrid wolf...I'm a sucker for books about wolves and dogs.
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough about the hybrid wolf, Shadow, (who got shot and is fighting for his life) and his female wolf companion, now on her own, howling for him.  On the whole I mildly enjoyed the book, the rural Maine setting was quite interesting, but the characters didn't really engage me, therefore my rating is 3.5 stars.
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