Precipice: Paul Doiron
A cliff with a vertical or nearly vertical or overhanging face or a situation of great peril is the definitions of a Precipice. As the book opens the reader learn about the possible disappearance of two girls hiding on the Appalachian Trail’s Hundred Mile Wilderness. Promising to call their parents at every stop when they did not call within the time frame they had allotted a search party of many wardens and volunteers would do more than just scour the many trials hoping to find them. Warden Mike Bowditch is back and is in the limelight as he is now part of this search team along with his girlfriend Stacy. Stacy is a wildlife biologist who plays somewhat of a part in this book but not a major one at first. Teamed or paired with someone called Nissen, a single guy, stays to himself and definitely has little to say but can hike faster than anyone else and whose book about deaths on the trail is well known, joins Mike to try and find where these girls were last scene and if they are still alive. So much for a romantic weekend with his girlfriend Stacey Stevens in a cabin along the Keenebec River. When the phone call comes in Mike has no choice to put comply with his boss and join in the search. Taking him deep in the Appalachian Trial he finds himself wondering just what happened to Samantha and Missy. Two young women who are hikers who jus seemed to have vanished and although so many are involved in the search all seem to fear the worst as we meet a young man staying at the same lodge as the two missing women and provides a certain amount of information about them yet seems to be hiding something. Called McDonut he is dangerous in appearance, seems slovenly and definitely knows more than he is willing to share. Entering the Hundred Mile Wilderness Samantha and Missy aka Naomi Walks Montgomery and Baby Ruth Boggs or Samantha appear to have vanished. With cell reception as a minimum and little or no food or water their disappearance has every game warden available in the search.
Stacey Stevens and Mike were supposed to have a romantic weekend but instead she appears to be distant, not able to be reached and then surprisingly shows up to help in the search along with her father Charley. A wildlife biologist decides to volunteer while Mike has to deal with an ornery beekeeper, ex-con and fastest hiker you can imagine named Bob Nonstop Nissen who has been known to smoke meth, pushes himself to the nth degree and who Mike wishes he was not teamed with. But, what the Warden Service, State Police and FBI team up to find the women what they do find is anything but what they expect or want. Added in Mike has to deal with some newly married couples along the A.T. trail, and a dangerous family named Dow who seems fixed on bully everyone and spends time harassing the owners of a general store. Imagine living near a family protected by bombs. As Mike tells the story you can hear his frustration and you meet his new boss and the faith that he has in Mike is evident.
Kathy is the sergeant who was seriously injured and who remained in a coma for quite some time. Losing her dog Pluto was devastating and working in the K9 unit was her job. Not wanting to be excluded from the search from the search. But, things change as Non Stop finds the remains of the two women and a harsh reality is learned about them as the Reverend Mott instead of praying for their souls does anything but when the truth comes out that the two girls were gay. Thinking that coyotes picked away at their bodies and left only bones and fragments of the two women, Mike goes in search of McDonut knowing that he lied about much of what he told them and then winds up dealing with Tony Dow and what he learns and what happens next changes it all. The Dow family is not friendly and love-bullying people to do what they want and Tony spends many days at this general store hawking money and intimidating people.
But, Mike and Stacey have a disagreement and then she becomes hard to find did she disappear or is she staying away on purpose?
Working with Wes Pinkham he and Mike were tying to track down Toby and Tory Dow and hoping to learn why one of them had Samantha’s phone. But, the Dows are dangerous and they placed bombs on their property and when one exploded it took the life of someone close to Mike. Speaking with the Dow family and learning that Missy Montgomery and Samantha both had the same phones someone tried hard to remove the Hello Kitty sticker on the back. A simple oversight would change it all as a killer has been at large for a long time and just maybe the coyotes are innocent. Stacey witnessed the death scene and the owner of the lodge came trotting by. Just what really happened to the girls? Who killed them and why? Why did Stacey go off by herself? What happens when Mike realizes who is guilty? More lives are lost before all is said and done. Stacey wants to be part of the investigation but an argument between her and Mike changes it all and places her in danger.
Author Paul Doiron takes readers and hikers right on the AT trail, vividly describing the scenery and taking us inside Mike’s mind and thoughts as he narrates the events, allows us to participate first hand in the investigation and lets everyone include the new boss know that he’s not to be underestimated and that he will stop at nothing to solve this case. Just how far back does this go? What happens when the truth is revealed? Why does the Reverend create a three-ring circus? What about the parents? When Mike’s tires are slashed is this a warning of more to come? What happens when he faces a desperate killer? What does Stacey finally do and will she and Mike ever find a common ground in their relationship? A precipice is a dangerous situation and within this novel there are many. Author Paul Doiron leaves us wondering what will happen next? Will Mike ever become a Warden Investigator? Join Mike and the rest of the cast as they climb, hike and travel the AT trail and hopefully find the answers they need.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews