Mistaken identity can happen in a police investigation or even when seeing someone on the street. Identifying a person who has been killed takes investigators that are trained and know how to process a murder seen. Mike Bowditch is a newly appointed Warden Investigator and finds himself in the intersecting with people within his community, law enforcement officers and a constable, assistant DA and even his own supervisor that think he is knee deep into something they think is a simple deer accident. Accepting the job and the promotion Mike has to reinvent his look, remember the protocols taught when just starting out and ask for help when needed. Deer season can be hazardous to your health and safety as one young boy learns when a grandfather trips over his shotgun and shoots his grandson in the head. Accidents happen but his is tragic. But, the grandfather was older and his heart gave out leaving the boy’s father in the woods searching for help. Resources are limited and Mike is assigned to learn more about what happened to the boy but then another death occurs on Maquoit Island. A woman hanging her wet laundry on an outside laundry line is shot to death and killed. Did the shooter think she was a deer? Mike is made the lead on the case and what appears to be cut and dry turns out to anything bu. Added in the young man who they think fired the shot and killed the woman claims the shot did not come from his rifle. Law enforcement sent Steve Klesko to work with him and no other than Charly Steven’s who takes him on a 15 minute plain ride to the scene. Although Stacy, Charly’s daughter and Mike are no longer an item, Charly has a soft spot for Mike and will do anything to help him with this investigation. Hoping that the shooter will confess to the shooting and taken in for questioning, he soon learns that things in Maquoit Island are not what they seem and people there defend each other and no one confessed to anything. Learning this, he realizes that the challenges ahead are few and far between and this might the be first test to see if he is up to his new job. Ariel Evans is the victim, or so they think as she rented a home on the island for three months. Ariel is when research is done by Mike to learn more about her was an investigative reporter or journalist who was working on book dealing and focusing on a 20 year old murder or homicide. Evidence in this murder points to Blake Markman yet to be brought to the forefront but for now just talked about, accused of setting his home on fire, killing his wife who was trapped inside. He did not get charged and has become a recluse or hermit residing near Maquoit.
As he begins his investigations, taping his interviews and processing the murder scene, Mike realizes that this is a murder and that the woman’s killer is out there.
Harmon Reed is the Harbormaster and you realize that he’s not forthcoming with information as another the constable Andrew Radcliffe is supposed to present Mike with the names of anyone who owns and carries and gun but does not. Battle lines are drawn and power plays come to light as the Detective vs. Mike in whose in charge, who is capable of solving the murder but will he remain as the lead as De Ford his boss wants turned over to Klesko and the police department but Mike is determined to solve it. With the help of a woman Joy Juno, he learns more about Ariel Stevens and then we meet Jenny and Nathanial Perry and their story is sordid and you wonder just what part they might have played in the murder when we learn the true identity of the victim.
As Mike begins to delve into the death of Miranda Stevens the victim many voices are heard and within this small village you realize that there is a huge veil of deceit hanging over many of the residents. No one seems to really care about the victim in any way and even Ariel just wants to be the one to get the scoop or the story and blindsides Mike by pretending to befriend him when in reality she just wants the glory of getting it solved.
Meeting Blake Markman we wonder if he had a reason to kill Miranda and yet we realize that their friendship might have been more intimate. Ariel seems cold and brash and has her own agenda in mind that of her next book and trying to learn more about Markman and even hoping to get him convicted for his wife’s murder years ago.
Events progress and Harmon Reed the Harbormaster throws obstacles in Mike’s direction and then his son, Hiram overdoses and you wonder if he and Miranda had a relationship or they used together. He appears to be hiding something but what?
Dani Tate appeared in the previous novel and decided to become a trooper but her feelings for Mike and her friendship is quite strong and helping him learn about Ariel, her interview on NPR and other facts that she uncovers allows readers to hope the author is going to explore a relationship between Mike and Dani in the future as Stacy has addressed their relationship and her shortcomings.
Mike Bowditch questioned Nat Pillsbury about the death of the victim and learned he was having an affair with her. Things spiral out of control when the real Ariel Evans steps off the ferry alive letting everyone know the victim was Miranda her sister. Evidence from the crime scene and the autopsy showed she used drugs and they were in her system. Getting to know her from Ariel we learn that she was bi polar and did not often take her meds and at times swiped Ariel’s wallet credit cards passports and stole her identity. She even created problems with her publisher refusing interviews in Ariel’s name. Learning even more she had an affair with Nat and was attracted to Blake Markman the hermit but why?
Ariel even found her way to Blake’s home as mike questions him but he soon realizes his technique needs work. Being the only form of law enforcement until Kyle ski from the state police returns and more wardens, mike has to begin taking a harder line and finds beryl Mccloud the schoolteacher who has Lyme disease.
The ending for some will be new beginnings and the actions of Mike when taking down someone who wants him and Ariel out of the picture become questionable yet within procedure. Mike will have to face off with his superiors and the ADA when and if he returns to the mainland. Getting to know Ariel at the end her true colors won’t shock readers and her goals typical of a journalist with no scruples and little moral fiber. The ending might bring closure and a killer is finally caught but a town will never be the same and few might fight it hard to recover as author Paul Doiron creates an ending that leaves readers wondering what is next for the town or village in Maine.
Imagine a mosaic tile of this town beautifully created with colorful tiles of the scenery. Imagine as the tiles begin to fall off and the faces of those within this hidden town of deceptions, betrayals and lies fills the empty spaces. Each person played a part in the downfall of what happens as the true killer is caught but at the expense of so many others. The mosaic no longer resembles the beauty of this town but the destruction caused by some who think they are above the law, the Washburns who are brutal Nazis, the Nat and Jenny who have their own secrets and demons to bare. Beryl whose lust and love for Nat takes her down and is another small fractured face in the design and Ariel and Miranda whose personalities did one in and whose is toxic and will create more despair in this town when her thoughts are placed in bookstores. A mosaic that once held the beauty of this town what will happen and whose faces will be seen when it all falls apart? Scenes graphically depicted with characters that are colorful, odd and a warden investigator that is just starting out and who has great potential, author Paul Doiron once again strikes high marks or stars with this outstanding novel. Just who killed Miranda and what revelation does Ariel present to Mike at the end and what will she do with what she learns or will all answers and certain people STAY HIDDEN?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine/MJ network