Paul Doiron is a novelist known for his work on the Mike Bowditch series of mystery thrillers.
Born and raised in Maine, he attended Yale University for his Bachelor of Arts in English. After that, he decided to move on to Emerson College for his MFA in Creative Writing. Doiron worked as an editor of the “Down East: The Magazine of Maine” between 2005 and 2013, but left this job to become a full-time writer. Currently, he serves on the Maine Humanities Council as well as the Maine Arts Commission. He is a Registered Maine Guide and spends a significant proportion of his time fishing.
Paul Doiron is best known for his Mike Bowditch series of novels, with the first novel, “The Poacher’s Son” published in 2010. The novels have been nominated for and won numerous prestigious awards, making them one of the most famous and acclaimed thriller novels.
Doiron’s wife is Kristen Lindquist, a poet, and environmentalist. Currently, they reside in Camden, Maine.
Paul Doiron Books in order
- The Poacher’s Son (2010)
- Trespasser (2011)
- Bad Little Falls (2012)
- Massacre Pond (2013)
- The Bone Orchard (2014)
- The Bear Trap (2014)
- The Precipice (2015)
- Widowmaker (2016)
- Knife Creek (2017)
- Rabid (2018)
- Stay Hidden (2018)
- Backtrack (2019)
- Almost Midnight (2019)
- The Imposter (2020)
- One Last Lie (2020)
- The Caretaker (2021)
- Dead by Dawn (2021)
- Hatchet Island (2022)
- Joe Pickett by C.J. Box depicts a game warden and his family. The background is a tiny rural town that is changing politically and economically. The series spans 23 books.
- Cork O’Connor by William Kent Krueger follows a former Chicago police officer as he starts working as a part-time private detective in northern Minnesota. See Cork O’Connor Series in Order.
Most recommended books
- Dead by Dawn (Mike Bowditch #12) (4.24 Goodreads score)
- Hatchet Island (Mike Bowditch, #13) (4.20 Goodreads score)
- Skin and Bones: A Mike Bowditch Short Mystery (4.21 Goodreads score)
- Knife Creek (Mike Bowditch, #8) (4.20 Goodreads score)
- Massacre Pond (Mike Bowditch, #4) (4.13 Goodreads score)
- The 2012 Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction went to Doiron’s second book, Trespasser. The 2019 Edgar Award for Best Short Story featured his novelette “Rabid” as a finalist.
- Dead by Dawn, his tenth book, was a finalist for the 2022 Barry Award for Best Thriller and the 2022 Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction.
Paul Doiron’s newest book, Hatchet Island, is the 13th book in the Mike Bowditch series. The expected publication date is June 2022.
The Poacher’s Son (2010)
Set in the wilds of Maine, this is an explosive tale of an estranged son thrust into the hunt for a murderous fugitive—his own father. Game warden Mike Bowditch returns home one evening to find an alarming voice from the past on his answering machine: his father Jack, a hard-drinking womanizer who makes his living poaching illegal games. An even more frightening call comes the next morning from the police: they are searching for the man who killed a beloved local cop the night before—and his father is their prime suspect. Jack has escaped from police custody, and only Mike believes that his tormented father might not be guilty.Now, alienated from the woman he loves, shunned by colleagues who have no sympathy for the suspected cop-killer, Mike must come to terms with his haunted past. He knows firsthand Jack’s brutality, but is the man capable of murder? Desperate and alone, he strikes up an uneasy alliance with a retired warden pilot, and together the two men journey deep into the Maine wilderness in search of a runaway fugitive. But the only way for Mike to save his father is to find the real killer—which could mean putting everyone he loves in the line of fire.
While on patrol one foggy March evening, Bowditch receives a call for help. A woman has reportedly struck a deer on a lonely coast road. When the game warden arrives on the scene, he finds blood in the road—but both the driver and the deer have vanished. And the state trooper assigned to the accident appears strangely unconcerned.The details of the disappearance seem eerily familiar. Seven years earlier, a jury convicted lobsterman Erland Jefferts of the rape and murder of a wealthy college student and sentenced him to life in prison. For all but his most fanatical defenders, justice was served. But when the missing woman is found brutalized in a manner that suggests Jefferts may have been framed, Bowditch receives an ominous warning from state prosecutors to stop asking questions.For Bowditch, whose own life was recently shattered by a horrific act of violence, doing nothing is not an option. His clandestine investigation reopens old wounds between Maine locals and rich summer residents and puts both his own life and that of the woman he loves in jeopardy. As he closes in on his quarry, he suddenly discovers how dangerous his opponents are, and how far they will go to prevent him from bringing a killer to justice.
Bad Little Falls (2012)
Maine game warden Mike Bowditch has been sent into exile, transferred by his superiors to a remote outpost on the Canadian border. When a blizzard descends on the coast, Bowditch is called to the rustic cabin of a terrified couple. A raving and half-frozen man has appeared at their door, claiming his friend is lost in the storm. But what starts as a rescue mission in the wilderness soon becomes a baffling murder investigation. The dead man is a notorious drug dealer, and state police detectives suspect it was his own friend who killed him. Bowditch isn’t so sure, but his vow not to interfere in the case is tested when he finds himself powerfully attracted to a beautiful woman with a dark past and a troubled young son. The boy seems to know something about what really happened in the blizzard, but he is keeping his secrets locked in a cryptic notebook, and Mike fears for the safety of the strange child. Meanwhile, an anonymous tormentor has decided to make the new warden’s life a living hell. Alone and outgunned, Bowditch turns for assistance to his old friend, the legendary bush pilot Charley Stevens. But in this snowbound landscape—where smugglers wage blood feuds by night—help seems very far away indeed. If Bowditch is going to catch a killer, he must survive on his own wits and discover strength he never knew he possessed.
Massacre Pond (2013)
On an unseasonably hot October morning, Bowditch is called to the scene of a bizarre crime: the corpses of seven moose have been found senselessly butchered on the estate of Elizabeth Morse, a wealthy animal rights activist who is buying up huge parcels of timberland to create a new national park.What at first seems like mindless slaughter—retribution by locals for the job losses Morse’s plan is already causing in the region—becomes far more sinister when a shocking murder is discovered and Mike’s investigation becomes a hunt to find a ruthless killer. In order to solve the controversial case, Bowditch risks losing everything he holds dear: his best friends, his career as a law enforcement officer, and the love of his life.The beauty and magnificence of the Maine woods is the setting for a story of suspense and violence when one powerful woman’s missionary zeal comes face to face with ruthless cruelty.
The Bone Orchard (2014)
In the aftermath of a family tragedy, Mike Bowditch has left the Maine Warden Service and is working as a fishing guide in the North Woods. But when his mentor Sgt. Kathy Frost is forced to kill a troubled war veteran in an apparent case of “suicide by cop,” he begins having second thoughts about his decision.Now Kathy finds herself the target of a government inquiry and outrage from the dead soldier’s platoon mates. Soon she finds herself in the sights of a sniper, as well. When the sergeant is shot outside her farmhouse, Mike joins the hunt to find the mysterious man responsible. To do so, the ex-warden must plunge into his friend’s secret past—even as a beautiful woman from Mike’s own past returns, throwing into jeopardy his tentative romance with wildlife biologist Stacey Stevens.
The Bear Trap (2014)
In this original short story in the Mike Bowditch mystery series, legendary Maine woodsman and bush pilot Charley Stevens tries to convince young Mike Bowditch of the dangers awaiting rookie game wardens.
The Precipice (2015)
When two female hikers disappear in the Hundred Mile Wilderness-the most remote stretch along the entire Appalachian Trail-Maine game warden Mike Bowditch joins the desperate search to find them.Hope turns to despair after two unidentified corpses are discovered-their bones picked clean by coyotes. Do the bodies belong to the missing hikers? And were they killed by the increasingly aggressive wild dogs?Soon, all of Maine is gripped with the fear of killer coyotes. But Bowditch has his doubts. His new girlfriend, wildlife biologist Stacey Stevens, insists the scavengers are being wrongly blamed. She believes a murderer may be hiding in the offbeat community of hikers, hippies, and woodsmen at the edge of the Hundred Mile Wilderness. When Stacey herself disappears along the AT, the hunt for answers becomes personal.Can Mike Bowditch find the woman he loves before the most dangerous animal in the North Woods strikes again?
When a mysterious woman in distress appears outside his home, Mike Bowditch has no clue she is about to blow his world apart. Amber Langstrom is beautiful, damaged, and hiding a secret with a link to his past. She claims her son Adam is a wrongfully convicted sex offender who has vanished from a brutal work camp in the high timber around the Widowmaker Ski Resort. She also claims that Adam is the illegitimate son of Jack Bowditch, Mike’s dead and diabolical father—and the half-brother Mike never knew he had.After trying so hard to put his troubled past behind him, Mike is reluctant to revisit the wild country of his childhood and again confront his father’s history of violence. But Amber’s desperation and his own need to know the truth leads Mike on a desperate search for answers—one that takes him through a mountainous wilderness where the military guards a top-secret interrogation base, sexual predators live together in a backwoods colony, and self-styled vigilantes are willing to murder anyone they consider their enemies. Can Mike finally exorcise the demons of the past—or will the real-life demons of the present kill him first?
Knife Creek (2017)
When Maine game warden Mike Bowditch is tasked with shooting invasive feral hogs that are tearing up the forest in his district, he makes a horrific discovery — a dead baby buried in a shallow grave.Even more disturbing: evidence suggests the infant was the child of a young woman who was presumed to have died four years earlier after she disappeared from a group rafting trip.As Bowditch assists the reopened investigation, he begins to suspect that some of his neighbors aren’t who they seem to be. When violence strikes close to home, he realizes that his unknown enemies will stop at nothing to keep their terrible secrets.Mike Bowditch has bucked the odds his whole career, but this time the intrepid warden may have finally followed his hunches one step too far.
Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch accompanies his old friend and mentor, retired bush pilot Charley Stevens, as he pays a visit to a mysterious woman, the widow of a Vietnam vet, living in isolation in the Maine wilderness. Many years earlier, she had called Charley, then a young game warden himself, for help. She claimed that her badly bleeding husband had been attacked by a rabid bat. But in the succeeding days, despite her husband’s increasingly erratic and aggressive behavior, his wife resisted Charley’s attempts to help, arousing his suspicions that more was going on than met the eye. Was the husband the victim of rabies, or was he suffering from post traumatic stress disorder? The situation finally erupted into horrific violence, leaving everyone involved deeply scarred. In the devastating finale to RABID, Charley reveals to Mike how he uncovered the awful truth about what actually happened in their home so many years before.
Stay Hidden (2018)
A woman has been shot to death by a deer hunter on an island off the coast of Maine. To newly promoted Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch, the case seems open and shut. But as soon as he arrives on remote Maquoit Island he discovers mysteries piling up one on top of the other.The hunter now claims he didn’t fire the fatal shot and the evidence proves he’s telling the truth. Bowditch begins to suspect the secretive community might be covering up the identity of whoever killed the woman, known as Ariel Evans. The controversial author was supposedly writing a book about the island’s notorious hermit. So why are there no notes in her rented cottage?The biggest blow comes the next day when the weekly ferry arrives and off steps the dead woman herself. Ariel Evans is alive, well, and determined to solve her own “murder” even if it upsets Mike Bowditch’s investigation and makes them both targets of an elusive killer who will do anything to conceal his crimes.
When a visiting hunter goes missing in the middle of a snowstorm, a young Charley Stevens (later the mentor to game warden Mike Bowditch) sets off to rescue him—but begins to suspect the man may not want to be found.
Almost Midnight (2019)
While on vacation, Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch receives a strange summons from Billy Cronk, one of his oldest friends and a man he had to reluctantly put behind bars for murder. Billy wants him to investigate a new female prison guard with a mysterious past, and Mike feels honor-bound to help his friend. But when the guard becomes the victim in a brutal attack at the prison, he realizes there may be a darker cover-up at play—and that Billy and his family might be at risk.Then Mike receives a second call for help, this time from a distant mountain valley where Shadow, a wolf-hybrid he once cared for, has been found shot by an arrow and clinging to life. He searches for the identity of the bowman, but his investigation is blocked at every turn by the increasingly hostile community. And when Billy’s wife and children are threatened, Mike finds himself tested like never before. How can he possibly keep the family safe when he has enemies of his own on his trail?Torn between loyalties, Mike Bowditch must respond in the only way he knows how: by bending every law and breaking every rule to keep his loved ones safe and the true predators at bay.
The Imposter (2020)
When the body of a young man is pulled from a submerged car in Roque Harbor, rookie game warden Mike Bowditch is shocked when the man’s driver’s license identifies him as none other than…Mike Bowditch. For weeks, Mike and his colleagues have been fielding reports of a man terrorizing the locals while posing as a game warden, wielding a plastic pin-on badge and claiming to be “Warden Bowditch”. Who is the imposter, and how did he end up dead in the bottom of a harbor? Mike must uncover the truth in order to clear his own name.
One Last Lie (2020)
“Never trust a man without secrets.” These are the last words retired game warden Charley Stevens speaks to his surrogate son, Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch, before the old man vanishes without explanation. Mike suspects his friend’s mysterious departure has to do with an antique warden badge that recently resurfaced at a flea market — a badge connected to a cold case from Charley’s past that the Maine Warden Service would rather forget.Fifteen years ago, a young warden was sent on an undercover mission to infiltrate a notorious poaching ring and never returned. He was presumed dead, but his body was never recovered. Mike is desperate to find Charley before he meets a similar fate. His investigation brings him to the miles of forest and riverside towns along the Canadian border—but he soon learns that even his fellow wardens have secrets to keep. And Charley’s past isn’t the only one coming to light; his daughter, Stacey, has resurfaced to search for her missing father, and Mike must grapple with the return of the woman he once thought was gone forever.Forced to question his faith in the man he sees as a father, Mike must reopen a cold case that powerful people—one of whom may be a killer—will do anything to keep closed.
The Caretaker (2021)
New owners of a dream cottage on a remote Maine lake find themselves taunted, then menaced by an unknown figure. When the local authorities refuse to help, they turn to retired Maine game warden Charley Stevens and his young protege Mike Bowditch for protection. But Charley begins to suspect there is more to the mystery than the couple is letting on–and if he and Mike don’t act fast, the situation will explode into violence.
Dead by Dawn (2021)
Mike Bowditch is fighting for his life. After being ambushed on a dark winter road, Bowditch crashes his Jeep into a frozen river. Trapped beneath the ice in the middle of nowhere, having lost his gun and any way to signal for help, Mike fights his way to the surface. But surviving the crash is only the first challenge. Whoever set the trap that ran him off the road is still out there, and they’re coming for him.Hours earlier, Mike had been called to investigate the suspicious drowning of a wealthy professor. Despite the death being ruled an accident, the victim’s elegant, eccentric daughter-in-law insists the man was murdered. She suspects his companion that day, a reclusive survivalist and conspiracy theorist who accompanied the professor on his fateful duck-hunting trip—but what exactly was the nature of their relationship? And was her own sharp-tongued daughter, who inherited the dead man’s fortune, as close to her grandfather as she claims? The accusations lead Mike to a sinister local family who claim to have information on the crime. But when his Jeep flies into the river and unknown armed assailants on snowmobiles chase him through the wilderness, the investigation turns into a fight for survival.As Mike faces a nightlong battle to stay alive, he must dissect the hours leading up to the ambush and solve two riddles: which one of these people desperately want him dead, and what has he done to incur their wrath?
Hatchet Island (2022)
A call for help from a former colleague leads Maine game warden investigator Mike Bowditch and his girlfriend Stacey Stevens on a sea kayaking trip to a research station far off the coast. Stacey spent summers interning on the island, a sanctuary for endangered seabirds, and they are shocked by the atmosphere of tension they encounter when they come ashore. The biologists are being threatened and stalked by a mysterious boatman who they suspect is trespassing on the refuge late at night. And now the sanctuary’s enigmatic founder, whose mind has been slowly unraveling, has gone missing.Camped on an islet for the night, Mike and Stacey waken to the sound of a gunshot. When they return to the refuge at dawn, their darkest fears are confirmed: two of the three researchers have been brutally murdered and the third has disappeared, along with the island skiff. Mike’s quest to find the missing man leads to a nearby island owned by a world-renowned photographer and his equally brilliant wife. The inhabitants of this private kingdom quickly close ranks, and Mike increasingly comes to believe that someone in the village knows more about the killings than they dare admit.With no one to trust and miles from shore, Mike Bowditch must stop a ruthless murderer determined to make sure a terrifying secret never sees the light of day.