This year’s Penobscot Reads book is “Finding Amy” by Kate Flora and Portland Police Chief Joseph Loughlin. It is the chronicle of a real-life Maine homicide from 2001 and the people who solved the crime.
The story of Amy St. Laurent would be a powerful story, no matter where it took place.
Many things had to happen right for her to ever be found, and for the suspect to be brought to justice.
Authorities in Portland could easily have put off looking for St. Laurent, but her family and friends ably made the case that this was a woman who would not have impulsively left the area without notifying her family and employer.
And how long would it have taken to find her — if they ever did — if not for an offer by Lt. Pat Dorian of Greenville to bring in the Maine Warden Service to help in the search?
Both the authors and Dorian are scheduled to participate in Penobscot Reads programs this month.
Readers from area libraries will be coming together to discuss “Finding Amy” and attending related programs at the Bangor Public Library throughout January.
Events will be presented by forensic scientists and members of Maine’s search and rescue and law enforcement communities. Programs during the first week of January are:
• “Basic Self Defense for Women 13 Years and Older,” with Sgt. Deborah Mitchell, University of Maine Police Department, 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 3.
• “Current Tools of the Forensic Sciences, with Dr. Marci Sorg, forensic anthropologist and consultant for the State Medical Examiners Office, 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 5.
• Brandi Caron, State Crime Lab, 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6.
• Discussion of “Finding Amy,” with professor Marge Irvine of the University of Maine, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7.
• “Basic Evidence Collection and Blood Splatter Analysis,” with Sgt. Paul Edwards, Bangor Police Department, noon Friday, Jan. 9. Bring your lunch and the Bangor Library will provide cold and hot drinks.
• “How Today’s Wardens Tackle Their Work in the State’s Vast Wilderness,” with Lt. Pat Dorian, Maine Warden Service, 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 10.
Programs for Penobscot Reads this year, all of which will be held at Bangor Public Library throughout January, will be presented by forensic scientists and members of Maine’s search and rescue and law enforcement communities, including canine heroes, Maine’s search & rescue dogs, and the cadaver dogs trained by Dr. Ed David.
The authors, mystery writer Kate Flora and Portland Police Chief Joseph Loughlin, also will visit the Bangor Library at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan 17.
Representatives of the State Crime Lab, the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, the Maine Warden Service and local police departments will present programs, as well.
Copies of “Finding Amy” are available for borrowing at participating libraries in Bangor, Old Town, Orono and Hampden. Be sure to pick up calendars and programs and visit the displays on Penobscot Reads events in the Bangor Public Library lobby. Read the book and share the experience.
Bangor Reads began in 2002, with the program expanding to Penobscot Reads in 2007.
Previous titles in the program were:
• 2002, “Killer Angels,” by Michael Shaara.
• 2003, “The Maine Woods,” by Henry David Thoreau.
• 2004, “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel.
• 2005, “On Writing,” by Stephen King.
• 2006, “Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy,” by Gary D. Schmidt.
• 2007, “Papa Martel,” by Gerard Robichaud.
• 2008, “The Eyre Affair,” by Jasper Fforde.