After deputy sheriff Brian Sleuter was shot on a dark Vermont roadside during what should have been a routine speeding ticket, Joe Gunther, head of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation became immersed in an interstate investigation. With video tape evidence from Sleuter’s dash cam, it appears clear that a pair of known drug runners were responsible. When the Boston arrest attempt results in the death of one suspect and the disappearance of the other, Gunther follows the trail to Maine where a well-known drug distributor was recently murdered.
As the new drug lord cultivates disgruntled lobstermen to help run the supply of drugs streaming south from Canada, ICE becomes involved with the murder investigation leading to complicated interagency rivalries. While the investigation veers off into a tangled network of drug trafficking, family feuds and missing persons, Gunther struggles to remain focused on the cop killing. After seemingly chasing their tails with little result, a fresh perspective reveals the cop killer’s identity.
Mayor’s nineteenth Joe Gunther novel is not quite as smooth as might be expected although that’s not to say it isn’t good. The investigation into the cop killing frequently takes a backseat to the international drug smuggling between Canada and the U.S. After a leading figure in the drug network is murdered, an interesting power struggle to fill the vacuum ensues which provides plenty of interest along with a feel for current events. There are some coincidences that stretch the line of credibility but that should not deter fans of this outstanding series.