Danger Lurks Deep in the Maine Woods in Paul Doiron’s ‘One Last Lie’ [REVIEW]

Maine woods sunset
When a dear friend vanishes in the Maine woods, Mike Bowditch will do whatever it takes to find him. (Photo courtesy Canva)

Maine Warden Investigator Mike Bowditch is having a bad week. First, one of his best friends vanishes into thin air. Then a cold case must be reopened, and he’s not certain who he can trust to help him solve it. And then there are the complications with his love life. Will Mike ever catch a break? Find out in Paul Doiron’s One Last Lie.

Paul Doiron's ONE LAST LIE
Minotaur Books

Charley Stevens may be a retired game warden, but he’ll always be Mike Bowditch’s mentor and surrogate dad. So, when Mike gets a phone call from Charley’s wife asking for his help locating her husband after he mysteriously disappears, he will do whatever it takes to find him.

Then an antique warden badge resurfaces at a flea market, one which links Charley to a 15-year-old cold case where a young warden went undercover to infiltrate a poaching ring, only to be pronounced dead before the case could be closed. Mike hopes Charley will avoid the same fate. After all, he knows that this isn’t just another investigation, it’s a matter of life and death.

Mike’s probe takes him from Florida to the Canadian border, where he discovers that even his fellow wardens have their secrets. And it soon becomes clear that Charley isn’t the only one who has been playing his cards close to his chest.

Finally, to complicate matters further, Charley’s daughter, Stacey—a woman Mike has tried to forget—returns to help him search for her missing dad. With more than enough on his plate already, Mike doesn’t need the extra complications, especially when all he seems to find are more questions.

Will Mike be able to save Charley and solve a cold case powerful people would prefer to keep closed? More importantly, how well does Mike actually know Charley? Has he misplaced his trust all these years?

One Last Lie is Doiron’s eleventh book in the Mike Bowditch series, which has only gotten better with each new release. This time out, we find him catching huge snakes in the Florida Everglades when the story opens. It’s a creepy but enthralling beginning to what proves to be a captivating tale. But it isn’t long before he is summoned back to his usual stomping grounds in the Maine woods.

In his typical style, Doiron balances the action in this novel with plenty of atmospheric details and insights into his protagonist’s psyche. Mike covers lots of territory in this book, whether he’s chasing suspects in a boat, or driving deep into the middle of nowhere to meet up with some rather colorful, but not altogether innocent, folks. And yet his motivation for doing so all hinges on his personal relationships with Charley, Stacey, and others he’s known since his career began, all of which helps us as readers become even more vested in this series. I love that we are eleven books in and still learning about the people.

What I like most about this book though is what I always appreciate about Doiron’s stories. He writes in such a way that by the time I finished reading the novel, I felt like I’d just made another drive up the New England coast for yet another adventure in the great outdoors. This is different than Stephen King’s Maine. Doiron’s characters aren’t battling fantastical forces in fictitious towns, but that doesn’t make Doiron’s antagonists any less dangerous or unsavory.

Still, despite the criminal investigations Mike takes us on, he always winds up showing us around parts of his state that we may not be familiar with, such as when Doiron sheds light on life on the Canadian border and what makes it both a unique and challenging place to live. As a result, Doiron helps us learn the lay of the land like the skilled guide he is.

If you enjoy stories by Glen Erik Hamilton and Lee Child, you’re going to love One Last Lie. It’s a perplexing mystery fueled with action, adventure, and quirky characters aplenty. But perhaps most important of all, this novel has heart and a leading man with plenty of hubris. This book is firing on all cylinders!

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About the author banner

A native of Maine, bestselling author Paul Doiron attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English. 

The Poacher’s Son, the first book in the Mike Bowditch series, won the Barry award, the Strand award for best first novel, and has been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity awards in the same category.

He is a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine with his wife, Kristen Lindquist.

For more information, visit PaulDoiron.com, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Paul Doiron
Paul Doiron
(Photo by Mark Fleming)

By Paul Doiron
320 pp. Minotaur Books. $27.99

Purchase One Last Lie direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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