THIS CIDER STILL TASTES FUNNY!:

FURTHER ADVENTURES OF

A MAINE GAME WARDEN

By John Ford

Islandport Press, 2013

247 pages, $16.95

ISBN 978-1-934031-46-9

 

If a man spends his whole professional life as a Maine game warden and law enforcement officer, he is sure to have some good stories to tell. And John Ford has plenty of them.

Ford lives in Brooks, is a retired game warden and former sheriff of Waldo County. His first book, “Suddenly The Cider Didn’t Taste So Good” (Islandport Press, 2012) was a bestseller. He returns now with more stories — most funny, some sobering and sad, and a few downright scary.

This collection of 41 stories continues to offer fascinating insight into the hard work, dangers and challenges facing game wardens. These are all first-hand accounts, told with self-deprecating humor and unvarnished honesty, even when Ford tells of his own goofs and embarrassing moments.

Many stories tell of chasing and capturing illegal night hunters, poachers and fugitives. Others describe searching for lost people, finding dead bodies, notifying parents of a fatal snowmobile accident and playing pranks on other wardens and state troopers.

In “The Flying Flashlight,” Ford tells how an unexpected but well-placed steel flashlight ended a violent confrontation and produced an arrest. In “Taking the Plunge,” he vividly describes the horror of falling through ice on a pond and nearly freezing to death.

Other tales tell of being shot at, catching two unsuspecting burglars, how pranks often backfire on the prankster, how professional courtesy does not extend to abusive, arrogant New York City cops and a hilarious scene of courtroom-clearing flatulence.

Learn about the state’s game laws, beaver trapping, why it’s not a good idea to store dynamite in an outhouse and about the “worst act of cowardice I’d ever seen.” This is informative and fun reading, and we can only hope John Ford hasn’t run out of stories.

 

STRIKE FROM THE DEEP

By Bob Branco

Maine Authors Publishing, 2013

298 pages, $17.95

ISBN 978-1-938883-62-0

 

Today’s modern, high-tech U.S. Navy is well-equipped to handle most any threat at sea, but combating low-tech Somali pirates is a particularly difficult challenge — especially when faced with restrictive rules of engagement and sensitive political considerations.

So, when Captain Jason Stewart and his ship, Navy destroyer USS Farragut, patrol the pirate-infested waters of the north Arabian Sea, the threat suddenly becomes much more deadly than just a bunch of rag-tag armed teenagers in skiffs.

“Strike From The Deep” is Maine author Bob Branco’s excellent novel about the high-stakes game of counter-piracy operations, the U.S. Navy and coalition naval forces versus pirate skiffs, mother ships and a ruthless conspiracy that threatens to upset the world’s energy markets. Branco lives in mid-coast Maine, and is a retired naval officer with years of sea-going experience in naval warships.

This novel is a masterful tale of how the Navy works, how a ship operates at sea and how a captain and crew can singlehandedly make a positive difference in the fight against piracy. Stewart is a solid commanding officer with a well-trained crew on a desperate mission to protect international shipping.

The Farragut disrupts one pirate attack, but other recent pirate captures signal a subtle change in the pirates’ usual pattern. Stewart and his crew struggle to discover the meaning, and when clues unexpectedly come together, he quickly realizes the whole pirate dynamic has changed — more deadly, more vicious and violent, and more insidious than he ever dreamed. The pirates are getting help, and now his ship is a target.

This story is gripping, exciting and suspenseful, but the real strength is Branco’s accurate depiction of naval leadership, training, technology and cooperation in a hostile environment against a resourceful enemy. Great high-seas adventure.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.