The Price of Malice: A Joe Gunther Novel

The Price of Malice: A Joe Gunther Novel

3.7 7
by Archer Mayor

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Wayne Castine was found brutally murdered and the murderer remains at large. Castine, a suspected child predator, was killed in Brattleboro where he was involved with a tangled network of an extended family living in a local trailer park. Any member of the clan would have had the opportunity to kill him, and, as he was involved with both the mother and her 12 year

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Wayne Castine was found brutally murdered and the murderer remains at large. Castine, a suspected child predator, was killed in Brattleboro where he was involved with a tangled network of an extended family living in a local trailer park. Any member of the clan would have had the opportunity to kill him, and, as he was involved with both the mother and her 12 year old daughter, reason to commit the murder. At the same time, Joe Gunther has learned that his girlfriend Lyn Silva's fisherman father and brother, believed lost at sea off the coast of Maine, might have actually been murdered.

Without enough solid information to warrant law enforce ment involvement, Lyn returns to Maine to try and investigate Gunther's findings. Gunther periodically puts his on-going murder investigation on hold—irritating his colleagues and angering his bosses —to go and help Lyn in Maine. It appears increasingly possible that her father and brother weren't the good guys that Lyn always believed them to be and that they might have been involved with vicious smugglers who murdered them—and might do the same to Lyn if she keeps pushing.

Torn between his conscience and his heart, a murder invest - igation and a personal search for the truth, Gunther finds that betrayal and loyalty are often a matter of viewpoint.

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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
Archer Mayor’s Vermont police procedurals are the best thing going in regional crime writing because every one of his stories emerges from social and economic conditions that determine the criminal activities specific to the area…As robustly written as all his novels, this one opens with the mutilation murder of a suspected pedophile in a rundown neighborhood near downtown Brattleboro and uses the crime to show what happens when a famously tolerant region suffers an economic downturn, becoming overwhelmed by the poor and the needy—and the people who prey on them.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Two mysteries preoccupy Joe Gunther in Mayor's engaging 20th novel to feature the Vermont Bureau of Investigation police detective (after 2008's The Catch). When the body of 32-year-old Wayne Castine, “stabbed a bunch of times, and maybe shot and beaten,” turns up in an amateur prostitute's apartment in Brattleboro, Vt., Gunther and his team investigate. Evidence suggests Castine, who had a relationship with a colorful trailer park family, was a pedophile or even a psychopath. Meanwhile, new information surfaces about Gunther's girlfriend Lyn Silva's father and brother, who vanished in a boat off the New England coast. Silva's investigation into her family members' disappearance distracts Gunther from the homicide inquiry. While some readers may find the shifts between the two cases jarring, Mayor manages to keep the suspense building and the reader guessing until the end. Series fans will appreciate the local cultural insights and the authentic cop lingo. (Oct.)
Library Journal
A suspected child predator is beaten to death in Brattleboro, VT, and Joe Gunther's (The Catch) team must investigate an extended family living in a trailer park, as the victim had been involved with the mother and her 12-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, Joe's girlfriend seeks answers regarding the deaths of her father and her brother, first thought to have been lost at sea off the coast of Maine. Because her probe throws her into danger, Joe becomes distracted from the murder investigation. VERDICT While his latest is not as riveting as some of his previous titles, Mayor still shows why he is one of the most respected American writers of procedurals. For readers who miss Ed McBain and find it difficult to wait for the next Michael Connelly. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 6/1/09.]
Kirkus Reviews
In the l9th of this estimable series (Chat, 2007, etc.), Joe Gunther catches two cases simultaneously and, for awhile, fumbles both. Nobody's ever liked Wayne Castine-bully, sexual predator, all-around lowlife. So when he's found murdered, the citizens of Brattleboro, Vt., don't break out in black. The list of usual suspects isn't just ample or voluminous but well-nigh universal. Having caught the case, however, Joe Gunther's five-person team in the Vermont Bureau of Investigation proceeds in its customary, intensely focused manner. Well, four-fifths of it does. The boss himself is distracted. Gunther's ladylove, Lyn Silva, has had her world suddenly rocked, bringing Joe's empathy to a rolling boil and seriously dividing his attention. Lyn's father and brother, both lobstermen, had long been presumed lost at sea-a tragic end, but honorable enough to leaven her grief. Now it seems that their deaths have a backstory that may involve drug dealing and, as a direct result, brutal murder. Lyn needs answers; Joe wants to help find them. But his attempt to work two investigations at once creates a management vacuum into which Willie Kunkle, his talented, tempestuous and often least reliable agent moves with guns blazing. The even-tempered Sage of Brattleboro is as appealing as ever. Still, wouldn't it be satisfying if, just once, Joe Gunther would flat out lose it and pull a Kunkle?

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Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Joe Gunther Series , #20
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Meet the Author

ARCHER MAYOR is a death investigator for Vermont's Chief Medical Examiner, a deputy for the Windham County Sheriff's Department, and has 25 years experience as a volunteer firefighter and EMT. He's also the author of the critically acclaimed Joe Gunther series, most recently The Catch. He lives in Newfane, Vermont.

ARCHER MAYOR, in addition to writing the New York Times bestselling Joe Gunther series, is an investigator for the sheriff's department, the state medical examiner, and has twenty-five years of experience as a firefighter/EMT. He lives near Brattleboro, Vermont.

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The Price of Malice (Joe Gunther Series #20) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As another reviewer said, this novel is written using two different plot lines. However, I disagree that it made the novel difficult to read or boring. I loved the way the stories wove back and forth, and Joe Gunther was involved in both areas. I hadn't read the last 3 books in the series, but as someone who used to visit Vermont relatives quite often, I had read every novel in the series throughout the early 2000's. Now it was great to re-connect with the familar set of wonderful characters, which Mayor has continued to keep well fleshed out. There were also some well described new characters among the various possible suspects and their families. It is this ability to create strong characters that makes the Joe Gunther series a step above many other mystery or suspense series. I recommend this whole series, if you can go back and get all the books right from the beginning, the way I was able to do - found the earliest ones in a used paperback book store, as they were hard to find in B&N or other bookstores.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In a wannabe hooker's Brattleboro, Vermont apartment, the battered and shot several times corpse of thirtyish Wayne Castine is found. VBI police detective Joe Gunther leads the investigation by looking into the victim's life. They find strong evidence that Castine was a sociopath with the most condemning allegation being he was a dangerous pedophile. The team also learns that Castine had an apparent lover who has a tweener daughter. At the same he works that case, Joe's girlfriend and teammate Lyn Silva finds out more about her lost at sea father and brother; their boat vanished off the Maine coast. While Joe and the rest of the unit dig into the Castine murder, Lyn digs into her family tragedy as she learns her lobstermen family members might have been murdered by drug traffickers. The two investigations rotate lead with much of the fun is in observing Joe being pulled by both cases, which makes him less effective than usual and somewhat inefficient to the point that his team's loose cannon Kunkle is simply loose. The story line is not quite at taut as a typical Gunther Vermont police procedural. However it is as fast-paced and exciting as any series entry because of the hero's somewhat unproductive balancing act as one inquiry has a host of happy people with Castine's death and the other is personal with Lyn in the middle. Harriet Klausner
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KenCady More than 1 year ago
This book is essentially two stories in one, apparently to make a novel out of it. One consists of Joe Gunther trying to solve his girlfriend's problems, and it has all of the interest that you might give to a television commercial. The other is the investigation into the murder of a child molester. It's a better story, but the cast of characters is not very appealing or interesting. The two stories do not relate at all, ultimately causing the reader to lose interest.
mysteriesformeCA More than 1 year ago
Mayor never disappoints His writing is crisp, interweaving story lines and characters. Having been a fan from the beginning of the series, I always look forward to reading his books. This one was worth waiting for.