Investigator Mike Bowditch receives a request from inmate
Billy Cronk, a former friend he helped imprison for murder.
Billy wants him to investigate a new female prison guard who
then suffers a brutal attack. Another call comes from a mountain
community where wolf-hybrid Shadow was shot by a crossbow
and is barely clinging to life. The two investigations endanger
Mike's life, as well as his loved ones.
Doiron has a wonderful voice—"It was one of those
New England hamlets with a full graveyard and an empty schoolhouse.
Half a mile from my place, a crumbling old farm had an actual
family plot in its front yard. No wonder the dump had scared
off potential buyers for the past decade."
One thing which would have helped would be for the author
to have explained more about the role of the Maine Warden
Investigator, but that could be due to this being the 10th
book in the series. For those interested, there is a good
explanation at https://www.maine.gov/ifw/warden-service/specialty-teams.html.
That didn't necessarily detract from the plot, but knowing
the role provides a bit of clarity.
The change of scene from the prison to the situation with
the wolf is very effective. One almost has a sensory reaction
to it. That takes skill, and Doiron has it.
What is nice is that this is not the Maine of tourists. This
is the Maine of those who live inland, in the parts of the
state tourists don't see where life, and the people, can be
hard. It's survival country of hunting, fishing, and now,
Doiron characters are strong and interesting, particularly
Mike's girlfriend Maine State Trooper Danielle "Dani"
Tate, and Alcohol Mary. He also has a wonderful way of making
one truly care about Shadow, the hybrid wolf, and making one
feel Mike's emotions.
While the plot is exciting, full of twists and danger, it
truly is the author's style, which keeps one engaged. Doiron's
humor— "Across the room, I could see her children,
the four platinum-blond Cronklets, ages five to ten…
Someone had tuned the TV station to a financial news network,
and the five backwoods ragamuffins were watching it with the
intensity of day traders waiting for the next big earnings
report to drop."— is subtle, but it works. He has
an excellent ear for dialogue—"I am required to
ask this, Mrs. Gowdie. …I need to know if you own a
crossbow." "Who do you think I am, Maid Fucking
Marian?"--, as well as a sense of insight—"When
my own heart started to break, I lifted my face to the sky,
letting the flakes melt as they landed on warm skin, admitted
my own arrogance and ignorance, and surrendered to the mysteries
of a universe I knew I would never comprehend."
Midnight" has very good characters and well-done suspense.
Wonderful dialogue, a great turn of phrase, and a nice touch
of emotion may make one decide to read the series from the
first book, as well as future books to come.