Title: Presumption of Guilt by Archer MayorPublisher: Minotaur books 305 pp (Sept 2016)
Genre: mystery, thriller, fiction, series, Joe Gunther. 4.5+ stars
Author: Archer Mayor is a bestselling author of the 27-book police procedural series featuring VPI detective Joe Gunther. After graduating from Yale he wrote historical non fiction. In addition to his writing, Mayor is a death investigator for Vermont’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and a longtime detective for the Windham County Sheriff’s Office. Mayor integrates his actual police experiences which adds depth, detail, and authenticity to his characters and provides rich multilayered plots. He won the New England Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Fiction–the first time a writer of crime literature was honored. He has also been cited for Excellence in the Arts by the State of Vermont.
Story line: I have been a fan since the publication of his first novel, and yes, I have them all. In hardback. Living all over the world, each book gave me a fresh current look at home. There is always an excellent ensemble of characters, well loved with growth and scars. It helps to read these in order as each character has an extensive backstory. New faces and the next generation are intriguingly present here. I especially like the realistic, often witty dialogue, the relevant and timely well researched multilayered plots, with a lack of gratuitous sex or violence. Vermont is warmly depicted, Vermonters occasionally hilariously so. Every book is a solid, engaging page turner. I highlighted 50 quotes I wanted to share. It was a fast read, but also had an abrupt ending. I tried to turn the last page three times, expecting, wanting more. I loved Krunkle’s role and the return of TagMan. I’m glad some peace has found Joe.
John Sandford Virgil Flowers series, Craig Johnson Walt Longmire series, Dick and Felix Francis, Kathy Reichs, Susan Hill
“Brattleboro? That’s a bar town, not a city. They should call it Dodge and have done with it. We’re going to Keene.”
You’re the flatlander. Bright lights’re like oxygen to you.”
And that meant not just “away,” as many Vermonters called the world beyond their borders.
“Can’t we rule it a suicide?” Willy asked now, looking down at the calcified finger with the ring, still trapped in place. Predictably, Lester laughed, Sam rolled her eyes, and Joe answered evenly, “Probably not, but I like the creative thinking.”
This is sounding like a modern Agatha Christie novel, although I doubt she would’ve used a nuclear reactor as a setting.”
Because to her, Dan Kravitz would forever be his own alter ego: not the menial everyman with an eerie ability to keep clean, but rather what the papers had coined “the Tag Man” a couple of years ago.
Didn’t they do that in a Columbo episode?”
In 1967 and ’68, homicides jumped from four a year to around twenty. The hippie counterculture, the Vietnam War protests, the interstate coming through, unemployment … The population jumped sixty thousand, because of urban flight, at the same time about twenty-five hundred farms went belly-up. This state was reeling, and I’m barely touching the surface.”
“The mere fact you just said so’ll make it happen, oh fearless leader,” Willy said resignedly. “That is the way it works.”
“You are a sweetheart. Never hesitate to call. If I’m in the middle of a gunfight or something, I’ll phone you right back.”
“It’s AA. It’s anonymous.” “It’s Vermont, stupid. There’re twelve people in the whole state. Everybody knows everybody else. Who else was there?”