Archer Mayor is the New York Times bestselling author of the highly acclaimed, Vermont-based series featuring detective Joe Gunther, which the Chicago Tribune describes as “the best police procedurals being written in America.” He is a past winner of the New England Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Fiction—the first time a writer of crime literature has been so honored. In addition, Archer is a death investigator for Vermont's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, a detective for the Windham County Sheriff’s Office, the publisher of his own backlist, a travel writer for AAA, and he travels the Northeast giving speeches and conducting workshops. He also has 25 years experience as a volunteer firefighter/EMT.
Archer Mayor's Joe Gunther detective series, 23 books in all, is one of the most enduring and critically acclaimed police procedural series being written today. For years, Archer has integrated actual police methodology with intricately detailed plot lines into novels that The New York Times has called “dazzling,” and Booklist has said are “among the best cop stories being written today.” Whereas many writers base their books on only interviews and scholarly research, Mayor's novels are based on actual experience in the field. The result adds a depth, detail and veracity to his characters and their tribulations that has led The New York Times to call him “The boss man on procedures,” and the Arizona Daily Star to write, “Few deliver such well-rounded novels of such consistent high quality.”
Archer Mayor—who was brought up in the US, Canada and France—has been variously employed as a scholarly editor, a researcher for TIME-LIFE Books, a political advance-man, a theater photographer, a newspaper writer/editor, a lab technician for Paris-Match Magazine in Paris, France, and a medical illustrator. He is a graduate of Yale University. Before turning his hand to fiction, Archer wrote history books.
Lt. Joe Gunther of the Brattleboro, Vermont police force has a serious problem: in a community where a decade could pass without a single murder, the body count is suddenly mounting. Innocent citizens are being killed-and others set-up-seemingly orchestrated by a mysterious ski-masked man.
Lt. Joe Gunther is in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom investigating a minor embezzling case. It's a pleasant distraction, and a chance to reconnect with old friends, but when a house fire reveals itself to be arson, compounded by murder, Gunther can't help but investigate.
When the body of a fast-living young stockbroker is found in a shallow grave, suspicion first falls on a cuckolded policeman. Lt. Joe Gunther investigates the increasingly bizarre details of the crime, but finds that he's too far behind events to prevent a second murder. Indeed, whoever is responsible always seems to be a few steps ahead, as if there's a leak on the force.
Brattleboro is the epitome of scenic Vermont. Quaint in its architecture and plainspoken in its politics, it dominates the state's southeast corner as both an employment hub and an election year powerhouse-all while looking like a genteel, postindustrial New England mill town. And yet there is darkness here, too, and nobody knows it better than Joe Gunther.
The body was positioned so that the train neatly obliterated its head and hands. Dressed in a homeless man's clothes with empty pockets, it might easily be passed-off as an unfortunate John Doe. And yet... Joe Gunther has a knack for knowing when things don't quite add up, and the math in this case is all kinds of wrong.