By Paul Doiron
Minotaur Books, 2012
320 pages, $24.99
ISBN 978-0-312-55848-2
Maine Game Warden Mike Bowditch has done it again.  His insubordination and general annoyance to superiors have condemned him to punitive reassignment from a comfortable district in southern Maine to the frozen purgatory of a distant, drug-addled district in Washington County. And unflappable Mike still thinks his boss is a jerk.

BAD LITTLE FALLS is Camden author Paul Doiron’s third book in his wildly popular, award-winning mystery series featuring Game Warden Mike Bowditch.  Following THE POACHER’S SON and TRESPASSER, this mystery is even better than the first two, which says a lot about Doiron’s exceptional ability to hold readers’ interest with compelling plots and enduring characters.
Best, however, is Doiron’s keen talent for creating a palpable atmosphere, capturing the Maine winter in all its bitter-cold and snow-covered landscape, as well as the poverty, violence and despair of a Maine county too easily ignored.

In a February sub-zero blizzard, Mike finds the frozen body of a violent drug dealer and his nearly dead, frost-bitten stoner buddy. The state police investigation pushes Mike aside (it seems he annoys everybody in law enforcement), but his unwise attraction to a murder suspect’s sister causes Mike to stick his nose into a complex mess of drugs, alcohol, revenge and a surprising web of conspiracy to commit murder.

While Mike follows up on leads that the cops seem to ignore, he is conflicted with feelings for a woman he knows is big trouble, is puzzled by a kid who knows much more than a little boy should know, and is tormented by a dangerous prankster who threatens him in curious ways.
The conclusion of this well-crafted mystery is brilliant, as Mike discovers that nothing is as it appears and happy endings are rare indeed.

And his boss really is a jerk.



By Mark W. Biscoe
Waldoboro Historical Society, 2012
151 pages, $29.95
ISBN 978-1-936447-17-6
In 1930, two British authors wrote: “History is not what you thought. It is what you can remember.” Fortunately, Maine has no shortage of local historians who carefully collect the vivid historical memories of our small towns.

One such historian is Mark Biscoe of Brunswick, who has colorfully captured the historical character of Waldoboro (on the Medomak River in Lincoln County) in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is the second book in his two-volume history, MERCHANT OF THE MEDOMAK. The first book, published in 2004, focused primarily on Waldoboro’s maritime history, shipbuilding, ships, sailors and the coastal town’s vibrant maritime commerce.

Here, Biscoe’s efforts provide fascinating insight into some of Waldoboro’s distinctive and eccentric personalities, its workforce, unique landmarks and special events in town history. The lively and entertaining narrative is well-supplemented with period photographs.

Among Waldoboro’s distinguished citizens, Biscoe tells of unsung Civil War heroes, pesky newspapermen, politicians, sportsmen, musicians, an unhappy ghost, several very funny baseball stories, even an escaped slave who shipped himself to freedom packed in a wooden crate. Best is the revealing and hilarious story of Mr. Issac Reed, a powerful pro-slavery Democrat who ruled Lincoln County politics with an iron fist, arrogantly claiming he owned the Waldoboro voters.

Biscoe describes the quarry workers, labor disputes, storefront businesses and factories, as well as constant struggles with road maintenance and additional information about ships and shipbuilding.  Landmarks include the colonial powder house, the town’s bandstand and the curious legend of the Spite House.

Learn, too, about the Great Disappointment of 1844, about “John Barleycorn” and Waldoboro’s legacy of liquor, temperance, prohibition and bootlegging, and a grisly murder mystery in 1878 — complete with a sensational trial, a conviction, and a stunning revelation 50 years later (it’s not what you might think!).

— Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

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