The area known as the “Hundred Mile Wilderness” is some of the most remote land, not just in Maine, but along the entire Appalachian Trail system. Two young women, recent graduates from Pentecost University, who were hiking the entire trail have failed to check in with their families as expected. Hikers that have been hiking the entire system in a trek up from Georgia and were experienced by this point on the trail as well as known to check in on a regular basis. It is September and it has been over ten days since they last checked in with their families who finally alerted law enforcement to the problem.
Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch is on a romantic weekend with Wildlife Biologist Stacy Stevens. Called back to duty to help with the search and rescue operation, Bowditch is troubled by Stacy’s reaction to the news. He gets the sense that something really bad to her years ago when she hiked another part of the trail. He also knows what can happen on the trail by way of nature as well as mankind and does not hold out much hope that either of the young women are still alive.
As Bowditch expected the bodies of the hikers are eventually found. The recovery quickly turns into a media circus thanks to the remote possibility that a pack of rampaging wolves caused the deaths of the hikers. While there is not any question that Bowditch saw a wolf behaving strangely when he was on the search, the idea that wolves could be at fault is something Stacy does not want to hear or accept. Instead, she blames a human killer and launches her own private investigation and further distances herself from Bowditch.
The Precipice is the sixth in the series that began with The Poacher’s Son. While this one could be read first, earlier events in the series are mentioned briefly in the backstory. The hallmarks of this series are once again evident — multilayered characters, a complex mystery, and a love for the Maine woods. The result is another engrossing and very satisfying mystery from the very talented Paul Doiron.
The Precipice: A Novel
Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Press)
Hardback (audio and e-book available)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2015