Book Reviews

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.

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

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 I hope you never experience a rafting trip like this one. In her new novel, The River at Night, Erica Ferencik sends four ladies on a north Maine woods rafting trip that turns into a disaster – and that’s putting it mildly.

As the ladies raft turned upside down and dumped them into the cold and fast-moving remote river, I remembered a similar experience on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. In the last of a series of major bumps at the Crib Works, our raft overturned, trapping some of us under it while others floated in the foaming river. Fortunately, we were in the slow water very quickly and able to get out from under the raft and to shore, where we righted the raft and continued on.

The ladies continue on as well, but not the way we did. Death, murder, and mayhem lie ahead, in a spine-tingling series of events as they struggle to find their way out of the deep woods.

Demon Spirit Devil Sea by Charlene D’Avanzo

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 Charlene D’Avanzo writes compelling novels that take you to wonderful ocean-side places where terrible things happen. And along the way, you’ll learn some things about climate change.

Charlene is a marine ecologist and award-winning environmental educator who lives in Yarmouth, Maine. Her first novel, Cold Blood, Hot Sea, was an intriguing who-done-it with plenty of tension and a compelling story that kept me glued to the book for two evenings.


And her new novel, Demon Spirit Devil Sea, is another great read. Again, I raced through it in two evenings. And boy, now I want to visit Haida Gwaii, the setting for this story.

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