Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gunther goes gunning

Lovers of police procedurals will find much to enjoy in Archer Mayor's The Price of Malice, the 20th investigation headed by Joe Gunther of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation.

After a man is found brutally murdered in Brattleboro, Vermont, the killer remains at large. But it soon develops that the murdered man is a suspected child predator tangled in a network of an extended family living in a local trailer park. Any member of the clan would have had the opportunity to kill him, and, as he was involved with both the mother and her 12-year-old daughter, reason to commit the murder. At the same time, Gunther has learned that his girlfriend Lyn’s fisherman father and brother, believed lost at sea off the coast of Maine, might have actually been murdered.

Lyn returns to Maine to investigate while Gunther periodically puts his on-going murder investigation on hold—irritating his colleagues and angering his bosses —to go and help Lyn in Maine. Torn between his conscience and his heart, a murder investigation and a personal search for the truth, Gunther finds that betrayal and loyalty are often a matter of viewpoint. This is another fine entry into the series, bringing to the fore some of the secondary characters who have been a part of Joe's career over the years. Fans of the irascible Willy Kunkle will be especially pleased, because whenever Willy's on the case the dialogue between him and his associates catches fire.

Basically, The Price of Malice offers solid detective work written by one of the best in the business.

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