by Mayor, Archer

While Joe Gunther takes time off to care for his mother, the FBI investigates three cases involving a roommate's murder by contract, the cold-case double murder of a state trooper and a motorist, and an act of sabotage on military equipment.

ARCHER MAYOR, in addition to writing the New York Times bestselling Joe Gunther series, is a death investigator for the state medical examiner and has twenty-five years of experience as a firefighter/EMT. He lives near Brattleboro, Vermont.

*Starred Review* Needing to attend to his ailing mother, Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI) field commander Joe Gunther appoints Sammie Martens to lead VBI in his absence-and VBI is immediately swamped with potentially big cases. Sammie draws the murder of a young African American woman who had just become the apartment mate of Rachel Reiling, daughter of Beverly Hillstrom, the state's medical examiner and Joe's lover. Willy Kunkel ponders several broken, bloodied teeth found on railroad tracks in a small town, and his investigation leads him to a potential national security crime. Lester Spinney finds something anomalous in the forensic evidence in the case of a routine traffic stop that resulted in the death of a cop and the car's driver. The incident's notoriety makes the possibility of investigatory failures a political bombshell. Gunther's absence from a VBI novel will make fans wonder if Mayor can pull off a series entry without the series star. Mayor can and does. Without Joe's always-interesting musings about his state, Mayor uses Lester to muse in Joe's place. The normally ultra-collaborative team must go solo, and Mayor uses Joe's absence to greatly enrich his readers' understanding of characters they thought they knew. Trace is one of the best of a very fine series. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Can the Vermont Bureau of Investigation get along without Special Agent Joe Gunther (Presumption of Guilt, 2016, etc.)? Joe's 28th case gives them a chance to find out.The Green Mountain State is a beautiful place, but it's not the best spot to recuperate from the Lyme encephalitis afflicting Joe's mother. So Joe squires her to a specialized Missouri facility for state-of-the-art care. While he's away, crime doesn't accommodatingly cease. Jayla Robinson, on the run after nearly killing her seriously abusive boyfriend back in Albany, gets off a bus in Burlington and is promptly hit by a car driven by Rachel Reiling, the daughter of Joe's girlfriend, state medical examiner Dr. Beverly Hillstrom. Dr. Tina Sackman brings to Special Agent Lester Spinney unwelcome new evidence that the traffic stop three years ago that led to the deaths of both Senior Trooper Ryan Paine and Kyle Kennedy, the driver he pulled over, was anything but a routine case of mutually assured destruction. And a 10-year-old girl brings three teeth she's found along the railroad tracks to Sgt. Colin Guyette of the Windsor Police Department. As Joe sits by his mother's bedside cheering her every improvement, Rachel plunges herself into danger back home by inviting Jayla to sleep on the couch in her place till she gets settled; Lester patiently interviews everyone he can imagine might throw some light on that 3-year-old shooting; those teeth lead the VBI on a winding path to an unusually inventive case of sabotage; and Joe returns just in time for a celebratory barbecue. Solid, unspectacular work from all hands, including Mayor, who as usual forgoes high-concept mystery for the slow-burning pleasures of the multitrack regional procedural. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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