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The Catch: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series) Hardcover – September 30, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Mayor's fine 19th Joe Gunther novel (after 2007's Chat), Vermont deputy sheriff Brian Sleuter gets shot in the temple while making a routine traffic stop near the Canadian border. The video camera on Sleuter's cruiser taped the murder, so it appears to be a simple case, but Mayor never makes things simple. Since the pair that Sleuter stopped have a drug history, Joe Gunther, head of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, coordinates with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston. In a smash-bang arrest attempt, one suspect is killed, the other escapes. Joe follows him to Maine, where a drug distributor was recently murdered, drawing Joe and his staff into a fight for control of the New England drug trade and a vengeful family feud. The plot meanders and relies on coincidence more than usual in this superior regional series, but a surprise resolution to the cop killing and an unexpected final catch, one of many in the story, will leave fans feeling fully satisfied. 30-city author tour. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In (relatively) placid Vermont, a cop killing is a once-in-a-decade crime, and in the nineteenth installment of Mayor’s superb series, Joe Gunther, the top cop in the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, has one on his hands. At the same time, in picturesque Rockland, Maine, a drug kingpin is gunned down. A changing of the criminal guard appears to be under way, and Joe finds himself in a task force with feds and Maine police who specialize in drug crimes. There’s a link between Joe’s murder suspect and the drug dealing in Maine, but Joe wonders if he is fully serving Vermont’s interests. Throughout this series, Mayor has focused on societal concerns. This time it’s the illegal use of prescription drugs that knows no borders. One result is that most of the book takes place in Maine, and that might disappoint some of Mayor’s ardent fans. His elegant, even lyrical prose about his home state is less evident here than in previous novels. Even so, a new Joe Gunther is always good news. --Thomas Gaughan

"The Evening Chorus" by Helen Humphreys
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Product Details

  • Series: Joe Gunther Series (Book 19)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312381913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312381912
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #662,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

I've been reading in order and now the books don't tell you the name of the next book.
Debra MacPhail
I enjoy the books in the Joe Gunther series--all have been very entertaining and I look forward to future books.
I especially enjoyed the pacing of the book and the interweaving of different perspectives.
Neal Reynolds

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Moran VINE VOICE on December 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A very ambitious and hard-driving Vermont state trooper is murdered during a routine traffic stop. The whole thing seems to be caught on the cruiser's video. Vermont copdom mobilizes to catch the killer, including Joe Gunther's elite Vermont Bureau of Investigation. Everyone charges into the investigation; but Joe, no fool and averse to communal embarrassment, quietly has a couple of his people checking on what kind of a cop and person the victim was.

The trail leads to Maine where it seems to connect to the murder of a local drug leader, whose demise leads to equal and violent opportunity for would-be replacements. A multiagency task force is formed, and Joe's team tags along. Everyone on the task force is sympathetic about the trooper's death but inevitably the focus is more and more on the drug issues. Joe and his people keep on, following leads and making a few of their own. Joe's instincts and knowledge of people lead to some smart decisions and the case makes progress.

The writing is brisk and clear, the characters interesting, with no stereotypes in sight. Yet this is not absolutely top drawer Archer Mayor. There are a lot of loose ends, a couple of which seem to have been inserted for the sake of a subsequent book. In addition the solution to the cop killing seems to come totally from left field, maybe even from outside the ball park entirely. Still, the writing is good and the interaction among the characters interesting. It is a good read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts VINE VOICE on November 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: Deputy Sheriff Brian Sleuter was looking for a better country/western station when the Toyota flew by, spraying a few roadside pebbles against the front bumper of his cruiser.

Joe Gunther and the Vermont Bureau of Investigation have been called in to assist on a drug-related cop killing. Pharmaceutical drugs are being brought in from Canada to Maine. Steve, the ex-con brother of Gunther's girlfriend helps them with locations, players and confirms that some lobster boats are bringing in more than lobster. Steve had heard of the area's main player, now a murder victim himself.

It's up to the combined law enforcement team to find who has taken over the territory and stop them.

Mayor usually creates an excellent sense of place and, to be fair, some of that was apparent here. However, much of it felt as though it was map directions.

As for the plot, there are lots of twists and turns and lots of red herrings. But nothing really goes anywhere and threads were left hanging.

We are introduced to a whole lot of characters. But we are given very little character development on any of them. Personally, since many of them are drug dealers, that was okay, but even the major characters felt thin and as though the author assumed you knew their background. A climatic scene, however, that could have lead to significant development of two characters, seemed glossed over and almost incidental.

This is a true police procedural. I do like that there are multiple agencies working together. But I found myself very disappointed in this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Marshall on December 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Joe Gunther crime detective series continues to evolve in a new direction, yet still remains true to its Vermont small state, small town sensibilities. This well written crime procedural captures the different landscapes which mark all of the three upper New England states, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and how those landscapes shape the different cultures in each state. Glad too that Joe Gunther has a new woman in his life who promises to be an interesting addition as the series continues.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on March 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Recently Archer Mayor was a very informative guest on a Sunday night chat hosted at The Writer's Chatroom. Along with learning that his previous publisher had put the first twelve Joe Gunther series books out of print so Mr. Mayor had to form his own publishing company to get them back out on the market, I learned that that I hadn't read this one when it came out last year. A number of other readers were on hold for it at the local library, so it took awhile before finally arriving. As always, it was worth wait.

Deputy Sheriff Brian Sleuter pulls over a speeding car on an isolated stretch of Vermont road cognizant of the always present danger from such a stop. Despite taking the usual precautions and following procedure, within minutes, he is gunned down while sitting inside his patrol car. Called into investigate the murder and apprehend the person or persons responsible, Joe Gunther and the fellow members of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation have a solid lead. Thanks to the dash camera footage, they can see the moments prior to the officer's shocking death.

Over in Maine, Alan Brudey is the son of a Maine Lobsterman who has no desire to follow in dear old Dad's footsteps. Having just killed Mathew Mroz in a plan to take control of the local drug flow he has no intention of working the water chasing the dwindling supply of lobsters. He plans to work the people instead who need drugs and supply them and build a business in the time honored way of all small businessmen. The product is different, but the business process is the same and he has plans for exponential growth.

Before long both storylines merge as Joe Gunther's hunt for the killer and his accomplice take the team to Maine.
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