By Archer Mayor
Mysterious Press - October 2002
Reviewed by Jeff
For the last few years,
Archer Mayor has written well-plotted and sharply drawn stories featuring
the Joe Gunther character that have gone largely unappreciated. In "The
Sniper's Wife", Mayor switches his point of view and has written
a novel that deserves to move him onto the A-list of mystery authors.
The Sniper's Wife is told in third person from the viewpoint of
Gunther's sidekick, Willy Kunkle. Kunkle is summoned to New York City,
away from the cozy confines of Vermont, when his ex-wife is discovered
dead from an apparent drug overdose. Kunkle immediately recognizes that
his former wife didn't kill herself and plunges himself into the dark
world of the nation's largest city to discover the truth.
As Kunkle attempts to solve his ex-wife's death, we learn more about him
and his past and why his character is so complex. The backdrop of the
New York underworld provides a nice parallel to Kunkle's personality,
a much darker character than Gunther's. The other familiar characters
from Mayor's books are around, too, but this is a vehicle for Kunkle and
one that is worth the ride.
The plot is flawless, the writing is smooth and like all good mysteries,
we care about the characters as much as the story. The change of locales
from serene Vermont to gritty New York breathes life into the book and
by taking us into the mind of the enigmatic Kunkle. Mayor has written
one of the better mysteries of the year.
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