Wayne Castine was found brutally murdered and the murderer remains at large. Castine, a suspected child predator, was killed in Brattleboro where he was involved with a tangled 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, Joe Gunther has learned that his girlfriend Lyn Silva's fisherman father and brother, believed lost at sea off the coast of Maine, might have actually been murdered.
Without enough solid information to warrant law enforce ment involvement, Lyn returns to Maine to try and investigate Gunther's findings. Gunther periodically puts his on-going murder investigation on hold—irritating his colleagues and angering his bosses —to go and help Lyn in Maine. It appears increasingly possible that her father and brother weren't the good guys that Lyn always believed them to be and that they might have been involved with vicious smugglers who murdered them—and might do the same to Lyn if she keeps pushing.
Torn between his conscience and his heart, a murder invest - igation and a personal search for the truth, Gunther finds that betrayal and loyalty are often a matter of viewpoint.
Two mysteries preoccupy Joe Gunther in Mayor's engaging 20th novel to feature the Vermont Bureau of Investigation police detective (after 2008's The Catch). When the body of 32-year-old Wayne Castine, "stabbed a bunch of times, and maybe shot and beaten," turns up in an amateur prostitute's apartment in Brattleboro, Vt., Gunther and his team investigate. Evidence suggests Castine, who had a relationship with a colorful trailer park family, was a pedophile or even a psychopath. Meanwhile, new information surfaces about Gunther's girlfriend Lyn Silva's father and brother, who vanished in a boat off the New England coast. Silva's investigation into her family members' disappearance distracts Gunther from the homicide inquiry. While some readers may find the shifts between the two cases jarring, Mayor manages to keep the suspense building and the reader guessing until the end. Series fans will appreciate the local cultural insights and the authentic cop lingo.
I enjoyed this Archer Mayor/Joe Gunther book. I find them a relatively quick and light read. This is my 4th or 5th of this series.
I like the New England locations. It is different since few take place here compared to NY, the south or the west. I find the plots solid. I enjoy the author's FB page.
The only downside is that there are times I find the dialogue a bit strained and through characters which can seem too formulaic. The maladjusted cop, the tough but vulnerable woman cop, the family man cop, etc. Some of the symbolism that is used I also find a bit strained.
This being said, the books are pleasant and have good plots. I went to the Author's web site to be able to read the books in order. I will likely move onto the next in the series. I try to always have one on my iPad when I travel.
The prince of malice
This is the latest of the great Joe Gunther series. All of Archer Mayor's Joe Gunther books are excellent and this is a worthy addition to the series.