It was the winner of the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel as well as being nominated for the Anthony Award, the Macavity Award, the Thriller Award, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Maine Literary Award for Best Fiction of 2010.
This hardback edition has been published in the UK by Constable & Robinson - C&R Crime and was on sale from 17 January 2013.
Mike Bowditch is a rookie Maine game warden who finds himself involved in a murder investigation and a man-hunt. Two men have been killed in cold-blood and the prime suspect is Jack Bowditch - a hard-drinking, violent man who also happens to be Mike's father. Despite the fact that Jack was never a great father figure and that they have not even spoken for two years, Mike is pulled in two directions. He wants to believe that his father is innocent, he needs to prove that Jack has been set-up, but he is also a law-enforcement officer and has to abide by the rules.
The plot is fast-paced with many twists and turns, introducing red-herrings and new characters throughout the story. It is a well thought out and often thrilling tale and Mike is a great lead character, if a little flawed. Throughout the story, there are flash-backs to Mike's childhood - these scenes allow the reader to gain some insight into how and why he became a game warden - in total contrast to his father's 'career' as a poacher. Mike is not the best investigator in the world and has a lot to learn, but this is the first in a series and I'm hoping that his character will grow and mature over the course of it. In The Poacher's Son it is the supporting cast of characters and the location that really made the novel so readable for me.
Living in Lincolnshire in the UK, I had no knowledge whatsoever of the county of Maine, and didn't know anything about the Game Wardens that operate out there. Paul Doiron's descriptive prose brought the whole place to life for me - the desolation, the eerieness, the animals, the people who live there. He really does know how to paint a fantastic landscape with words and it is this that makes the series quite unique.
A great start to a series, I'll certainly look out for the next in the series.