cover image Dead Man’s Wake

Dead Man’s Wake

Paul Doiron. Minotaur, $29 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-86439-0

Doiron’s long-running series featuring Maine game warden and criminal investigator Mike Bowditch delivers one of its most satisfying shocks yet in this 14th entry (after 2022’s Hatchet Island). Bowditch is celebrating his engagement to Stacey Stevens on a lake in central Maine when a collision on the water disrupts the festivities. Once Bowditch reaches the area, the boats are gone, leaving only a severed human arm with a wristwatch still attached. Galen Webb identifies the likely victim as Kip Whitcomb, the wealthy owner of a private island in the middle of the lake, who is now missing. As Bowditch sets about determining whether Kip’s dismemberment was an accident or an act of foul play, reports surface that the playboy had been cheating on his wife with a younger woman who has also disappeared. Just when the plotting begins to flirt with predictability, Doiron pulls off a sucker-punch fair-play twist that puts entirely new suspects in play. That jolt, combined with vivid descriptions of the Maine woods and authentic depictions of the forensic science, make this a winner. (June)