Friday, January 4, 2019

Joe Gunther Returns in Another Excellent Story from Archer Mayor

This is another excellent entry in the long-running series by Archer Mayor featuring Joe Gunther of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation. The story opens when the body of a young woman is found at the top of a ski trail. Joe's team fairly quickly and easily identifies the man who dumped the body and they fairly quickly and easily secure his confession to the woman's murder. The problem is that this all happens almost too quickly and too easily, and Joe suspects that something is off about the whole business.

While Joe and his team investigate the killing, someone inaugurates a string of actions targeting a giant food distribution warehouse. The vandalism begins with a few small fires but quickly escalates to the point where people are dying. Investigating the crimes is a daunting task because there are so many potential suspects and so very few good leads. But then a connection appears linking the murder of the young woman to the crimes committed at the warehouse, and things get even more complicated--and much more dangerous--in a big hurry. 

Both the original murder and the subsequent vandalism and murders are cleverly designed, and watching the VBI agents attempt to untangle the various threads of these problems is especially entertaining. By now this cast of characters is entirely familiar; readers of the series have watched them grow and develop over the course of twenty-nine books, beginning with Open Season in 1988. Returning to the series is like dropping in on a cast of intimate friends and acquaintances, and while the mysteries in this series are always first-rate, the real joy in reading these books is checking in to see how Joe and the extended cast are getting along. This has long been one of the best regional mystery series going and Bury the Lead continues that fine tradition.

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