Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Mysterious Press 
Release Date:  October 2003
ISBN:   0892967668
Format Reviewed: Hardcover 
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Genre: Mystery-Police Procedural 
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Lawrence Greenberg 
Reviewer Notes:  

By Archer Mayor

     Another solid entry in Archer Mayor's Joe Gunther series focuses on the illegal drug trade. The title refers to the name Gunther and his fellow law enforcement officers give their initiative to, yet again, declare war on drugs, this time in the state of Vermont. Even the supposedly pristine Green Mountain state, it seems, is sullied with this pervasive problem.

     Mayor's writing is clean and brisk, wasting no words, pulling no punches. There's a nice mix of politics, social message, and personalities here, but what makes the novel easy to read is the decidedly stronger emphasis on the characters rather than the more abstract political and social themes. Mayor also takes pleasure in describing various aspects of his home state-what downtown Brattleboro looks like, for example, or even the well-known local chocolatiers Tom and Sally who sell chocolate cow patties, of all things.

     Another plus is the author making it clear that not all bad guys are all bad, not all good guys are all good. We all have our weaknesses and that, in fact, is the strong underlying theme of this novel. Whether it's a young female cop out to prove her mettle going undercover, an older male cop intensely concerned with his teenage son's behavior, or a surprisingly refined drug dealer, the author gives these characters a solid presence based on their doubts, their fears, their hopes.

      This is a nice leisurely read-smooth, fun, satisfying.