Book Reviews

Another suspenseful

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 Kate Flora is prolific, a novelist whose books are full of suspense, great dialogue, and superb descriptions of her characters. And they are impossible to put down.

As I neared the end of Led Astray, Kate’s book published last October, I found myself breathing deeply, anxiously awaiting the climax.

I find it amazing that she has cranked out 15 books, including many award winning novels. She won the 2013 and 2015 Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She’s also written nonfiction true crime books, and another of my favorites, A Good Man with a Dog, which she co-wrote with retired Maine game warden Roger Guay.

Great stories from a Maine bush pilot

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 Jake Morrell offers many great stories in his book, Hardscrabble Lodge. I got to visit with Jake at an authors’ event in Boothbay Harbor and eagerly grabbed a copy of his book.

Jake and his wife Beth lived an interesting and unusual life as the owners of Hardscrabble Lodge in the north woods. They purchased the abandoned and dilapidated remote camps and turned them into a popular destination.

Jake loved flying, and most of the stories feature his flying adventures and challenges. And yes, some were scary. Glad I wasn’t in the plane that time his engine quit – twice! His story of a trip to northern Quebec brought back my memories of fishing in that same region.

Not all stories are about planes. Wait ‘til you read about that time millions of blue insects surrounded the camps! There are also some great color photos in the book.

Amazing stories from some of Maine’s best game wardens

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 Ludger Belanger, a young man who shot a big buck and hauled it out of the woods onto an old road, hopped into a car with two guys who offered to transport him and his buck out to his car. And then Ludger disappeared.

This is just one of the amazing stories in Daren Worcester’s new book, Open Season – True Stories of the Maine Warden Service, published by Down East Books. I especially enjoyed Daren’s book because I knew many of the dozen wardens featured in the stories, during my years of working for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Something in the Water by Peter Scott

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 Something in the Water turned out to be Nazi U-boats, and the effort by these remote Maine islanders to protect themselves and others resulted in one of the best novels I’ve read in years.

Author Peter Scott gives us both history and suspense, with very realistic characters, lots of emotion, and enemies both near and far. I loved the main character, Amos Coombs, who reminded me of some old lobstermen that I have known in my lifetime.

Down East Books did us a real favor in publishing Something in the Water. I am also grateful to my local librarian, Mary Ann Libby, for recommending the book to me.

Wolves in Maine bring murder and mayhem

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 When wolves show up in Maine’s north woods, landowners and others launch a major, but secretive, effort to kill them.

And that’s just part of the complex plot in Sandra Neily’s novel, Deadly Trespass.   I first got to know Sandy many years ago when she worked for one of our state’s major environmental groups. She’s had a lifelong passion for conservation, environmental protection, and our native wildlife.

That passion – and her strong views about everything from clearcuts to devious politicians – comes through loud and clear in this novel. In fact, I often saw Sandy in the main character Cassandra, who early in the novel finds her best friend Shannon crushed under a tree.

Sandy has a real talent for developing her characters, and the dialogue keeps the story moving in a very entertaining way.

Amazing tales of a winter’s trapping north of Rangeley

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I owe Bill Pierce a big thank you. While visiting with Bill at the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossic, he recommended a book that turned out to be fascinating.

It’s a detailed report on a winter wilderness adventure by Fred Barker, who spent the winter with a friend, J.S. Danforth, hunting and trapping in the region northwest of Rangeley, in 1882-83.

Maine wild boar hunt turns into disaster

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 Wild boars entered Maine from New Hampshire and game warden Mike Bowditch was sent into the woods of southern Maine to find and kill them. Mike’s girlfriend Stacey Stevens, a wildlife biologist, accompanied him and shot two sows that popped up in front of them trailed by a dozen baby pigs.

One of the sows had been digging into the ground, and when Stacey approached that spot, a massive boar burst out of the bushes and attacked her, knocking her down and injuring one of her legs. Mike quickly shot the boar and raced to his truck to get a first-aid-kit.

When he returned, Stacey was standing up, leaning on her gun, and looking at the spot where the sow had been digging. “Mike, what is this?” she asked.

Mike got down and used his gloved hand to brush aside the pile of dirt, when Stacey hissed, “Don’t touch it!” And that’s when Mike noticed the grimy pink cloth beneath the bones. It was a baby.

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