Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chat - Archer Mayor

A Joe Gunther Mystery
Archer Mayor
Grand Central Publishing


Joe Gunther heads up the Vermont Bureau of Investigation. His brother, Leo, is a prominent and well-liked butcher who has lived all his life with their mother in the house where they were raised. One snowy evening, on the way home from a movie, Leo’s car goes off the road and his life changes. Both Leo and his mother are seriously injured. Joe, following a hunch and nothing more, asks to see the car. What he and a fellow investigator find points to foul play.

When Joe got the call about his family, he was at the scene of a murder. A man with no ID and no mode of transportation, floating facedown in a creek, miles from anything. The ME can’t find any trace of trauma or bruising to the body. Soon after, another man is found dead in a motel room. Again, there’s no sign of foul play, and no sign of a car or other transportation. The two cases are strangely similar, but Joe will have to work overtime to find the connection.

This is the latest in a long-running series, but each installment is crafted so that it works equally well for newbies as for long-time readers. Necessary background is worked in where needed, but never overpowers the story. The author clearly loves Vermont and includes descriptions that make even a bone-chilling New England winter sound beautiful. There are two parallel investigations going on here: the car crash and the two homicides. Both are handled well with some interesting twists. Longtime fans know better than to miss a Joe Gunther novel, and this one should win many new readers as well.

Rating: 7 ½
November 2007
ISBN# 978-0-446-58258-2 (hardcover)


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