Mayor begins building tension at the very start of his latest Joe Gunther novel set in rural Vermont, with Joe’s mother and brother Leo involved in a suspicious car accident. As Joe and Deputy Sheriff Rob Barrows examine the vehicle it comes out that the service station Leo used was owned by the powerful and vindictive Griffis family who are not beyond seeking payback for the earlier arrest of one of their own. With family mending, Joe begins working with the Vermont Bureau of Investigation in an attempt to find what, if any links exist between two homicides involving middle-aged men. Evelyn Silva, a bartender Joe had interviewed for a case in Massachusetts a couple years earlier, shows up to offer her support, quickly becoming his love interest. As the investigation deepens, it appears there is a serial killer stalking online chat rooms and police consultant, John Leppman is rapidly becoming their main suspect. Meanwhile, the family vendetta will soon threaten everyone Joe holds dear while tearing the Griffis’s apart.
Rich in suspense and local flavor, read this curled up with a cup of hot chocolate as Mayor beguiles readers with accurate descriptions of New England’s Green Mountains, crisp winter air and rural life. The plot twists and characters are well conceived, the pacing steady with the interpersonal relationships adding a warm, realistic touch to this great addition to the Gunther series.