Seven years after a trial sent a police suspect up for murder, a disturbingly similar new killing reopens the case, dragging Maine game warden Mike Bowditch along for one hellacious ride.
Mike’s nightmare begins with a call so routine he can’t even respond to it. A passerby has phoned to say that a young woman’s car has struck a deer out on Parker Point. Already busy responding to Hank Varnum’s complaint that some lowlife on an all-terrain vehicle has vandalized his property, Mike passes on the call, but when Trooper Curt Hutchins has engine trouble, he ends up driving to the scene an hour later, only to find that both the deer and the driver have vanished. Sadly, it’s not long before Mike finds the driver, Harvard Business School student Ashley Kim, raped and murdered in the Parker Point vacation home of her teacher, Prof. Hans Westergaard. Both before and after Mike contaminates it, everything about the crime scene reminds him of the seven-year-old murder of college student/waitress Nikki Donnatelli. And he’s not the only one. Lou Bates, whose charismatic nephew Erland Jefferts was convicted of the earlier crime, is convinced that Mike can help clear him. Jill Westergaard is equally insistent that Mike can help find her missing husband. Since game wardens, especially if they’ve found dead bodies, aren’t supposed to get involved in murder cases, Mike has quite a series of challenges ahead of him—not counting his stormy relationship with schoolteacher Sarah Harris and the self-destructive streak he showed in The Poacher’s Son (2010).
If Mike’s second appearance isn’t quite up to his striking debut, it’s still a complex, heartfelt, altogether impressive piece of work.