Tucker Peak (Joe Gunther Series #12) by Archer Mayor, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Tucker Peak (Joe Gunther Series #12)

Tucker Peak (Joe Gunther Series #12)

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by Archer Mayor

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An overworked sheriff and a string of condo burglaries at a luxurious ski resort have Lt. Joe Gunther and the newly-minted Vermont Bureau of Investigation digging deep for clues. But it doesnt take long for Joe to find the most likely thief missingand his girlfriend dead. As the complications mount, from drug dealing to environmental terrorism to attempted murder,


An overworked sheriff and a string of condo burglaries at a luxurious ski resort have Lt. Joe Gunther and the newly-minted Vermont Bureau of Investigation digging deep for clues. But it doesnt take long for Joe to find the most likely thief missingand his girlfriend dead. As the complications mount, from drug dealing to environmental terrorism to attempted murder, Joe and his team go undercover to infiltrate the closed society of a one-company town, populated by bored millionaires and supported by a small legion of resort employees, not all of whom are what they seem.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The 12th book in Mayor's series is the best yet [...] Often labeled a 'regional' writer, Mayor, with his intelligent plots, wit, relaxed style and understanding of human relationships, deserves wider recognition.”

Publisher's Weekly

“Why do we like [Joe Gunther]? Because he pays attention to details; because he relates to people in the quiet, effective way that we only dream of doing; and because he cares about protecting his world of rural Vermont from the horrors that turn the rest of us into cynical mavericks. All these qualities are on display in this 12th episode in the series.”


Vermont police detective Joe Gunther digs deep for clues that will help him nab a killer, after murder hits the slopes at a posh ski resort.
Publishers Weekly
The 12th book in Mayor's series featuring Vermont cop Joe Gunther (after 2000's The Marble Mask) is the best yet, filled with his usual strong characters, evocative settings, well-researched backgrounds and polished writing. Now the agent-in-charge in Brattleboro for the newly formed (and fictitious) Vermont Bureau of Investigation, Gunther looks into a string of condo burglaries at Tucker Peak, a local ski resort. In tracing a stolen watch to Marty Gagnon, an elusive small-time thief, Gunther's detectives discover someone else is looking for Gagnon, too, threatening and killing his friends. To find the connection between Gagnon and troubled Tucker Peak, Gunther and VBI detective Sammie Martens go undercover. The owners are seeking investors for upgrading and expansion, while an environmental group, Tucker Protection League, is protesting their operations (and suspected of sabotaging ski equipment). Gunther and his "inside man," ski instructor Richie Lane, find themselves in danger because of something or someone they saw, as hints of financial mishandling within TPL surface. The book's beauty lies in how smoothly Mayor incorporates these disparate elements into a coherent and suspenseful plot, with some of the strands winding back around each other. And the longtime relationship between Gunther and his lover, Gail Zigman and the unlikely affair between Sammie and her misanthropic colleague, Willie Kunkle reach firmer ground. Often labeled a "regional" writer, Mayor, with his intelligent plots, wit, relaxed style and understanding of human relationships, deserves wider recognition. (Nov. 12) Forecast: Print advertising in major media, an author tour to New York and Washington, D.C., andNew England publicity could help make this Mayor's breakout book. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
A slew of burglaries and accidents at a ski resort in southern Vermont force the local sheriff to bring in Joe Gunther and his team from the Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI). This 12th Gunther mystery by Mayer (now a Vermont constable) again vividly portrays the hardscrabble life of southern Vermont, with its ambivalence toward the ski industry that sustains much of the economy and its dependence on snow. The various plot lines, though clever, are perhaps less fascinating than the relationships among the VBI team particularly the brutally frank and cynical Willy Kunkle and tough, young femme fatale Fammie Martens as well as Mayer's social commentary. For Mayer fans and mystery collections. Francine Fialkoff, "Library Journal" Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Untoward things are happening at Tucker Peak, the posh ski resort upstate-things that might be troublesome enough to warrant the attention of Joe Gunther's freshly minted Vermont Bureau of Investigation. When the VBI is called in by the local cops who've been spread thin coping with pesky environmental activists, however, Gunther's elite squad can't help sniffing a bit at the assignment. Major crimes, not a string of small-potatoes robberies, are the VBI's reason for being. But the problem escalates as soon as anybody could wish, and before you can say maple syrup, the VBI has a sticky situation on its hands involving a grisly murder, a complex embezzlement scheme, some nasty acts of environmental terrorism, even a possible connection to the dreaded mob. Before all these complications can be untangled, Gunther manages to get himself beaned by a robber and bitten by a rottweiler; one of his key operatives is almost raped; and eventually the local cops who requested the VBI's help begin to wonder whether that was their best move. Gunther sticks to business, however, and little by little, the clues mount up and the opposition breaks down. At length the villains have either confessed or been shot, justice has been served, and Gunther's VBI has taken another firm step toward the credibility it craves. An okay police procedural, but Mayor's focus on the infant VBI gives disappointingly short shrift to the sharp, telling small-town portraits that have generally marked this series as special (Occam's Razor, 1999, etc.). Author tour

Product Details

Publication date:
Joe Gunther Series, #12
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Baker Street is just a block beyond one of Brattleboro’s more beaten paths — an overlooked extension west of an otherwise busy four-way intersection. The other three streets either lead downtown or to shortcuts to the south side. But Baker falls off a slight embankment, part of a closed loop bordering a large empty field near the Whetstone Brook — out of sight and largely out of mind.

The buildings along it run from decrepit to slightly better, in varying stages. The address Don Matthews had given me was a two-story apartment building, once a home, now cut into four small, dark sections, each one neglected, stagnant, but cheap. The windows were all covered with familiar brittle and tattered plastic wrap, once put up to help stop the freezing air from whistling through the gaps, but left to age through all four seasons, year after year, until its only remaining effectiveness was to proclaim the hopelessness of those barely sheltered behind it.

Willy and I had decided on a quiet approach, parking up the street and coming around the corner on foot. The weather was good — clear, sharp, and cold enough to make your nose hairs tingle — and I didn’t mind the chance, however oddly presented, to be outside and away from the stifling indoor heat most people found comforting during the winter.

We walked down the middle of the street. There was no traffic, and the sidewalks had been left to reemerge in the spring, typical of most of the town’s less stringently tidy neighborhoods.

“Anything we should know about Jorja Duval?” I asked Willy as the house loomed nearer.

“Nothing you couldn’t guess,” he said. “On welfare, on drugs, small history of dealing, tricking, and petty theft. Featured in a few domestics, according to Bratt PD, always as the punching bag. I knew her father back in the old days. Always figured he was banging her, although no charges were ever brought. He’s at St. Albans now on a manslaughter charge. Jorja had a brother, too, but he OD’d about five years ago.”

“How old is she?”

Willy hesitated. “Twenty-five? Maybe younger.”

We drew abreast of the house, took it in quickly with a practiced eye, and then struggled our way up a pathway that had been cleared in the Walter Skottick fashion — not at all.

The peeling front door sported four rusty mailboxes by its side, none of them labeled. There were also no doorbells. I raised an inquiring eye at Willy.

He pointed to the window above us and to the right. “That one,” He said softly, and twisted the doorknob.

The door swung back to reveal a gloomy, barefloored hallway with a set of stairs heading up. The odorous fog that crept out to envelope us was rancid and flavored with mildew and a smell of humanity reminiscent of an overripe diaper pail. Neither one of us reacted, since as working environments went, this was pretty standard fare.

We both paused for a moment, watching and listening, taking nothing for granted, knowing full well that inhabitants of such places were capable of anything.

Hearing nothing, we headed upstairs. There was an extra stillness to the cold air I didn’t like, though, and I could sense Willy felt the same way. He unbuttoned his coat, and removed his gun from its holster.

Walking on the balls of our feet to partially muffle our shoes and the squeaking of old floor boards, we moved to either side of Jorja Duval’s apartment door and paused once again, listening to nothing but our own breathing.

I finally reached out and rapped on the door, looking up and down the hallway as I did so for any movement from the other two apartments on the landing. “Jorja Duval? This is the police. Open up.”

The response was immediate, otherworldly, and psychologically chilling. From inside, we heard a single, high-pitched animal howl, followed by a series of thuds, crashes, and the sound of claws scrabbling across bare wood at high speed. It was as if my knock had unleashed some demonic pin ball that was now smacking off every wall and obstacle inside the apartment.

“What the hell?” I muttered, and grasped the door knob, twisting it slowly.

The door opened and a tabby cat flew out and froze for a split second at the sight of us, its hair on end, before shooting off like a rocket down the stairs. But not before I’d seen that all four of its paws were crusty with dried blood.

“Jesus,” Willy burst out, his hand tight on the gun.

Still recovering from the surprise, I chanced a fast glance around the corner, my own gun out as well. Pulling my head back, I described what I’d seen to Willy. “Short hall, two closed doors opposite each other. Big room beyond. All I could see there were two legs sticking into the middle of a big blood stain, and red paw prints all over the place.”

“We call for backup?” he asked.

I paused, thinking of the eerie stillness I’d noticed earlier. “No time. Ready on three?”

I held up three fingers, one at a time, and the two of us entered the small hallway as one, covering both the distant room and the two closed doors.

The precautions proved unnecessary. The place was empty except for the dead woman in the middle of the floor, lying face up, spread-eagle, with her throat cut wide. The room was dingy, dark, barely furnished, splotched with blood, and seemed far less comfortable than the average coffin.

“This Jorja Duval?” I asked Willy.

He holstered his weapon. “Was.”

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“I once asked my wife who her favorite mystery author was and she said Archer Mayor… I’m not sure our marriage has recovered.”

—Craig Johnson, Author, Walt Longmire Mysteries, the basis for A&E’s hit drama “Longmire”

Meet the Author

Archer Mayor is the author of the highly acclaimed Vermont-based series featuring detective Joe Gunther, which the Chicago Tribune describes as “the best police procedurals being written in America.” He is a past winner of the New England Independent Booksellers Association Award for Best Fiction—the first time a writer of crime literature has been so honored. In 2011, Mayor’s 22nd Joe Gunther novel, TAG MAN, earned a place on The New York Times bestseller list for hardback fiction.

Before turning his hand to fiction, Mayor wrote history books, the most notable of which, Southern Timberman: The Legacy of William Buchanan, concerned the lumber and oil business in Louisiana from the 1870s to the 1970s. This book was published in 1988 and very well received; it was republished as a trade paperback in 2009.

Archer Mayor is a death investigator for Vermont’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, a detective for the Windham County Sheriff’s Office, the publisher of his own backlist, a travel writer for AAA, and he travels the Northeast giving speeches and conducting workshops. He has 25 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter/EMT. Mayor was brought up in the US, Canada and France and had been employed as a scholarly editor, a researcher for TIME-LIFE Books, a political advance-man, a theater photographer, a newspaper writer/editor, a lab technician for Paris-Match Magazine in Paris, France, and a medical illustrator. In addition to writing novels and occasional articles, Mayor gives talks and workshops all around the country, including the Bread Loaf Young Writers conference in Middlebury, Vermont, and the Colby College seminar on forensic sciences in Waterville, Maine.

Mayor’s critically-acclaimed series of police novels feature Lt. Joe Gunther of the Brattleboro, Vermont, police department. The books, which have been appearing about once a year since 1988, have been published in five languages (if you count British), and routinely gather high praise from such sources as The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New Yorker, and others, often appearing on their “ten best” yearly lists.

Whereas many writers base their books only on interviews and scholarly research, Mayor’s novels are based on actual experience in the field. The result adds a depth, detail and veracity to his characters and their tribulations that has led The New York Times to call him “the boss man on procedures”.

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Tucker Peak (Joe Gunther Series #12) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You cannot put this book down. I have read #1 through #12, I am hooked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago