Archer Mayor's talents for combining compelling characters, intriguing
settings, and gripping plots have earned him great critical acclaim. His
previous novel, The Surrogate Thief, won the 2004 New England Book Award for
Fiction, the first time this prize has ever been given to a mystery writer. Now
in a sizzling new novel, Mayor's hero Joe Gunther returns to solve the mystery
of the deadly...
ST. ALBANS FIRE
Winter is on the wane in northwestern Vermont. The moon hangs bright and cold
in the silvery night sky over hundreds of square miles of a peaceful, dormant
landscape of dairy farms. Young Bobby Cutts enters the family barn to tend to
the beasts within and encounters a nightmare. Suddenly surrounded by bolts of
fire, Bobby and the entire herd perish in a stampeding, hellish circle of
Called to the scene to investigate, Joe Gunther instantly recognizes arson.
But by whom? And for what possible reason? There is little insurance, the family
is loving and tightly knit, and there are few neighborhood animosities.
Yet murder this is, and Gunther quickly discovers that someone is wreaking
havoc across the bucolic farmlands surrounding the town of St. Albans. Somewhere
in the dense social fabric of the community, in the hearts and souls of Bobby's
family, and in the cutthroat farming business underneath the region's placid
exterior are the truths Joe Gunther and his team must ferret out. But what
looked like a local case is about to take them from the barns of Vermont to the
gritty streets of Newark, New Jersey.
Before all is said and done, Joe Gunther will meet one of his deadliest
opponents to date and he will need far more than his skills as a policeman to
protect the people closest to his heart.
Richard Lipez - The Washington Post
.... Gunther is the kind of cop many readers would like to have show up if they were victims of a crime, and what this sturdy series lacks in excitement it makes up for in reassurance.
Marilyn Stasio - The New York Times
... Mayor seems determined to identify patterns in local crimes that would set them within a broader, more alarming national context. And while finding a more sinister reason for a barn burning doesn't make the result any less tragic, it does put readers on notice: there's nowhere left to escape to.
Though the discoveries in Newark fall into place almost too easily, Mayor serves up another highly satisfying mystery.
Will Joe catch a killer and lose a lover? The
most understated cop in crime fiction (The Surrogate Thief, 2004, etc.) racks
up a satisfying 16th in a series that marches confidently to its own unhurried
Booklist - Jenny McLarin
Mayor does everything right, keeping readers riveted by expertly interweaving well-developed characters, a fast-moving plot, and interesting factoids about his setting. Best of all is Gunther himself: a kind and sensitive cop whose intelligence and integrity make an irresistible combination.
why he writes what he writes,
Mayor says he's boiled down his
answer to, 'ignorance and
curiosity - I am driven to find
out more about the world I
inhabit, but about which I will
always know too little.'
addition to writing a novel each
year, Mayor also finds time to
be a town constable, an interior
attack fire fighter, moderator
at the annual town meeting, on
the board of trustees of a
nearby hospital, captain the
local Rescue Squad, and has
applied to join the state's
assistant medical examiner
program this fall! For more
about Mayor, read his interview
and biography at BookBrowse.
The Joe Gunther series in
publication order (based on USA
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