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THE SURROGATE THIEF by Archer Mayor Kirkus Star


by Archer Mayor

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 2004
ISBN: 0-89296-815-X

The sleuthing Sage of Brattleboro is in top form, though it does take him 32 years to crack his case.

Back when Joe Gunther was a rookie detective in the Brattleboro PD, he lost his wife Ellen to cancer in a lingering, pain-ridden ordeal. Just as Ellen was dying, storekeeper Klaus Oberfeldt was robbed and murdered, and Joe caught the case. All the available evidence pointed to petty thief Pete Shea, who compounded his problems by fleeing. Joe, suffering and distracted, gave the search for Pete a decent effort before finally abandoning it. But a decent effort isn’t a Joe Gunther effort, and he never quite forgave himself for his failure. Now a domestic disturbance that’s ended in a shooting comes to the attention of Vermont’s elite Bureau of Investigation, where Joe’s second-in-command, because the gun involved is the same weapon that clubbed Klaus Oberfeldt to death. Suddenly Joe’s contending with issues he thought consigned to history, issues having to do with Ellen, with Gail, his current love, and with his incomplete investigation. And then the Oberfeldt case takes an unexpected turn, a shocking detour into dark and politically dangerous places.

Engrossing stuff. Only K.C. Constantine rivals Mayor in his mastery of the small-town procedural (Gatekeeper, 2003, etc.).