Review: “Killing Maine,” Mike Bond

Pros: Fascinating exploration of environmental damage and how that hooks into corrupt politics
Cons: You’d better really want to read all about those conspiracy theories
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review ebook provided free by publisher for this review.
Expected publication date: 7/20/2015.

 

Hawkins (Pono to his friends) finds out that an old military comrade–Bucky–is in jail for a murder he didn’t commit. He heads straight from Hawaii to Maine, where he meets up with Lexie. Lexie is Bucky’s bitter wife, who had been with Hawkins until it looked like he’d be in jail for 20 years (he was set free before long, but by then Lexie was with Bucky). Hawkins has never liked Bucky (who was partially responsible for Hawkins’ brief stint in jail), but Bucky did once save his life, so Hawkins owes him.

Instead of a simple murder mystery, Hawkins gets pulled into a big to-do between wind turbine companies and the corrupt legislators who take bribes from them. Soon there are more deaths, and the local cops seem to want to pin them on Hawkins.

 

Mike Bond’s Killing Maine is more about how Maine is slowly dying through the efforts of large corporations who buy legislators by the dozen. Most of that fight revolves around wind power. Are the turbines killing endangered birds? Are they keeping everyone nearby from sleeping and giving them constant headaches? Is it true that their presence is largely irrelevant and useless except as a ‘green’ project legislators can say they’ve contributed to?

Bucky shot up some of the turbines, then hid his gun. Someone found it and used it to carry out a murder, leaving Bucky in the lurch. Hawkins’s investigations take him forward, backward, and sideways. He hooks up with Abigail, whose husband was murdered–Pono has a knack for falling instantly in love with forceful and/or bitter women, and by the end of the story he has several he has to juggle. The fact that he actively cares for/loves these women rather than trying to play the field is a great bit of personality-building. Hawkins suffers from incurable curiosity, so he gets into everything and gets picked up by the cops off and on (they, of course, are looking for a reason to toss him back into jail).

Hawkins is a surprisingly interesting character. On the one hand, he presents rant after rant about political corruption and how that relates to wind turbines. On the other hand, unlike the rants in most books, these come out feeling like they came from the heart of the character, rather than being inserted by the author. That’s actually pretty surprising, and kept me reading where I otherwise might have stopped.

I don’t know if these arguments also come from the author’s mind. I don’t know how much of the information presented on wind power and its consequences is true, and how much is conspiracy theory. It does give the story a rather different ‘feel’. Although I’m usually turned off by lecturing, the fact that it came out in the character’s voice and personality rather than being a bald-faced insertion by the author made it tolerable for me. At least toward the end it had more and more action injected into the story, so it still held my attention.

NOTE: Book provided by publisher for review

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