In today’s society, where a five minute YouTube video is considered lengthy, it’s becoming increasingly common to see short chaptered books that are completely absent of the long, drawn out description and detail that was common years ago. James Patterson has sold millions of books using exactly that strategy, and it’s along those lines that George Mercer brings us Dyed in the Green, but with a distinct Canadian flair.
The story (which is the first in an upcoming series) centres around Ben Matthews, a newly appointed park warden in Cape Breton National Park. Matthews enters a situation that has been friendly to poachers in the past, with several locals taking full advantage of relaxed standards to have free reign in the park.
Matthews, an ambitious young warden with an abundance of energy, strives to change all of that by ramping up both his and his team’s enforcement.
Quickly, the wardens begin to clash with a few notorious individuals, namely Maurice and John Donald. Early on, the pair are caught poaching salmon during the salmon run and are charged with a hefty fine. After a period of relative inactivity, the duo resurface and cause even more havoc for the wardens and the wildlife inside the park.
This is one of those good old fashioned page turners, with suspenseful endings to many of the book’s rather short chapters (some as quick as a page or two). As someone who typically reads right before falling asleep, the fast-paced nature of this type of book is much appreciated. The quick chapters definitely make it easy to read for much longer than originally intended, and it’s easy to lose track of time while reading. Of course, an addicting story is hardly an appropriate knock on a book, and is probably the greatest compliment I can pay this novel.
There are some instances of character development, especially with Matthews who becomes increasingly agitated towards the poachers and his fellow wardens as the story escalates, but this is a primarily plot and setting-driven piece. And what a setting it is, with the legendary Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia as the backdrop.
What’s particularly exciting for locals is that Mercer is planning this out as a series that will explore different national parks across Canada. With six of them in the area, it’s a pretty good bet that one of them will be set near Golden in the future, and there have been rumblings that Yoho might be one of the parks featured in Mercer’s series. I’ll look forward to the next one with anticipation.
Dyed in the Green is now available at Bacchus Books & Cafe.