I am quite happy I discovered Michael Koryta! He has two series with PIs as protagonists and another 5 stand-alone thrillers beyond Those Who Wish Me Dead. I anticipate a great deal of enjoyable reading ahead of me. Koryta was the youngest winner of the annual St. Martin’s Press/Private Eye Writers of America “Best First Private Eye Novel” contest in 2003. It seems to have taken me a while to get to him, but it is always a plus to find so many new books to read.
Those Who Wish Me Dead is a thriller involving a 14 year old boy who has witnessed a brutal murder. His protective custody, while the police search for the two killers, gives him a new name and places him in a Montana wilderness survival program for troubled teens. This entire gripping book produces adrenaline and wide-eyed reading!
Fortunately, the wilderness program leaders, Ethan and Allison, impart their survival knowledge to the teens, but the tracking killers slaughter everyone in their wake. Again, the detailed violence is a bit too much for me, and some illogical decisions put me off a bit. But overall it was a fun read – one of those books to read straight through on a solitary evening. Koryta won the Best Novel Barry Award in 2015 for this book. I will be returning to his older novels for more thrills!
My rating – 4 of 5
I was eager to read the Maine Game Warden mysteries by Paul Doiron, as I am a long-time fan of Nevada Barr and somewhat of a fan of CJ Box. I didn’t get around to the series until his 6th – The Precipice (2015), but I am happy I did so. While not quite as enjoyable as Barr’s Anna Pigeon, who travels from National Park to National Park and has a long and complex character arc, Doiron’s Mike Bowditch is young and naive and almost as compelling. If only to watch his mistakes.
The plot is simple –two female hikers disappear in the Hundred Mile Wilderness-the most remote stretch along the entire Appalachian Trail. Mike Bowditch joins the desperate search to find them. Hope turns to despair after two unidentified corpses are discovered at the base of the precipice, their bones picked clean by coyotes. Do the bodies belong to the missing hikers? Did the increasingly aggressive coyotes kill them? Or were they murdered and tossed off the cliff?
The outdoor hiker/nature lover descriptions are great for those who do love the trails. And the plot is just good enough to keep the reader going. I find it a closer read to CJ Box than Nevada Barr; perhaps that is due to the male main characters and the game warden roles (Box writes about a Wyoming Game Warden). Barr does better with characters than Box or Doiron.
I probably will go back now and read the first in the Bowditch series – The Poacher’s Son (2010), which won the Barry and was nominated for an Edgar, an Anthony and a Macavity for best first novel. That is a lot of praise! But for this book, my rating – 3 ½ of 5 stars.