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Paradise City: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Mysteries) Hardcover – October 2, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Joe Gunther Mysteries (Book 23)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031268195X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312681951
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #804,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Understated, occasionally very funny (see Kunkle) and very intelligent. In his 23rd appearance ... the Sage of Brattleboro remains as appealing as ever."
--Kirkus Reviews
"First-rate procedural series."
--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

ARCHER MAYOR is a death investigator, a sheriff's deputy, and a volunteer firefighter and EMT in addition to being a best-selling novelist. He lives in Newfane, Vermont.

More About the Author

Archer Mayor is the New York Times bestselling author of the police
procedural series featuring detective Joe Gunther. In addition to his writing,
Mayor is a death investigator for Vermont's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,
and a detective for the Windham County Sheriff's Office.

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.
He was cited for Excellence in the Arts by the State of Vermont.

Mayor has integrated his actual police experiences with intricately
detailed plot lines into novels that The New York Times has called "dazzling,"
and Booklist has said are "among the best cop stories being written today."
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,"
and the Arizona Daily Star to write, "Few deliver such well-rounded novels of such consistent high quality."

Archer Mayor--who was brought up in the US, Canada and France--has
been variously 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.
He is a graduate of Yale University. Before turning his hand to fiction, Archer wrote history books.

Customer Reviews

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Popular Discussion Topics

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Archer Mayor's latest Joe Gunther novel, "Paradise City," focuses on a network of thieves who steal jewels and precious metals. Wilhelmina Hawthorne, nearly ninety, is clubbed on the head by burglars in her Beacon Hill home. Her granddaughter, Mina, is furious at what she perceives to be the Boston PD's ineptitude and/or indifference; she decides to act as her grandmother's avenger. Meanwhile, Special Agent Joe Gunther, of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, is summoned to a break-in and arson fire at an exclusive home in Tucker Peak, Vermont. Joe thinks of himself as "a too-old cop who lived alone with no pets, no plants, [and] no romantic life." His work means the world to him and he is very protective of his team, Samantha Martens, Willy Kunkle, and Lester Spinney.

After investigators in several states look into what turn out to be related heists, they do a little digging and realize that all roads lead to an illegal enterprise centered in Northampton, Massachusetts. Instead of squabbling over jurisdiction, the detectives decide to work together. They conduct surveillance, squeeze informants, go undercover, and use their expertise with computers and other forms of technology in order to track down and apprehend the perpetrators.

Mayor also spends time exploring the personal lives of Gunther, Martens, and Kunkle. A lonely Joe has a poignant heart-to-heart talk with his former lover, Gail Zigman, now Vermont's ambitious governor. Kunkle is a troubled, insecure, and cranky individual who is in an uneasy relationship with Samantha Martens. "Paradise City" is a workmanlike but not outstanding novel that is marred by labored dialogue, over-the-top and inept villains, and a somewhat disjointed story that does not quite gel into a satisfying whole. The narrative is strangely lifeless and lacks the intensity, character development, and depth that distinguish the very best police procedurals from those that are merely run-of-the-mill.
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Format: Hardcover
Mayor is a reliable storyteller who has found his niche in the police procedural, protagonist Joe Gunther of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation assembling a familiar and reliable team to solve a string of burglaries in Vermont, an investigation that eventually spreads from Beacon Hill to Northampton, Massachusetts, "the nuthouse for the artistic and idle rich" in the words of one of the thieves. In Northampton, often called Paradise City, the stolen goods are absorbed into a thriving community of collectors and shop owners. First alerted to the network of enterprising thieves by a spectacular fire after a robbery in Tucker Peak, the search gets more intense when it is linked to the home invasion of an elderly woman, Billie Hawthorne, in Boston's exclusive Beacon Hill. Hawthorne remains in the hospital in a coma, her only living relative, Mina Chase, growing impatient with the police investigation and beginning one of her own, exacerbating and complicating the VBI's efforts as they close the circle on the perpetrators.

Mayor peoples his novel with a varied, frequently unexpected cast of miscreants as well as Gunther and his team, Samantha Martens, Lester Spinney and the curmudgeonly Willy Knuckle, including local law enforcement personal as the investigation zeros in on the masterminds of a sophisticated enterprise involving more than robbery and the resale of popular items. The real mystery lies with the identity of those behind the network rather than the usual criminals, although it is the mistakes of thieves on the ground that lead to the man behind the curtain in Paradise City.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amy S. Khoudari on October 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I missed the Vermont ambiance, it was a good story, and a nice read.   Next time I hope Mayor returns to VT and Joe gets a new girl.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In Beacon Hill, three thieves break into the house of octogenarian Wilhelmina "Billie" Hawthorn. Billie interrupts their burglary, so they eliminate her. Boston Police Detective Jimmy McAuliffe leads the investigation in which the murderers steal silverware while leaving behind easy to snatch valuables. The victim's twentyish granddaughter Mina Carson demands in on the official inquiry. Clues lead to Northampton, Massachusetts.

Vermont Bureau of Investigation Chief Joe Gunther and his team investigate arson and a theft at affluent Tucker Peak ski resort. Clues lead to Northampton. Gunther and his subordinate Willy Kunkle join the Massachusetts police team (and one angry feisty civilian) as they hunt for a fence and those working for this dealer of stolen property.

The latest Joe Gunther police procedural (see Tag Man) is a fabulous whodunit as the VBI chief and his top gun team up with their Massachusetts counterparts and Mina who refuses to be denied entry onto the task force. The storyline is fast-paced with Neanderthal Kunkle bringing humor to the exciting whodunit. Readers will enjoy fast-paced Paradise City.

Harriet Klausner
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sandy51 on October 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read all of the Joe Gunther books and enjoyed every one. This is the first one I have read on my Kindle, as opposed to running out and buying the hardback the day it hits the bookstore. This book seemed different, possibly because of the digital format.

What is remarkable to me is how real all of the characters are to me. I would bet I wasn't the only one to cry when Lyn died in a previous book. This is another great book from Archer Mayor - if you haven't read the others, do so!
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