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

4.0 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews
Book 19 of 23 in the Joe Gunther Mysteries Series

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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

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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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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I love the Joe Gunther series, I really do. I've given most of these books four-and five-star reviews. This one was a big disappointment. Most of the action in this book takes place in Maine, and while the reason for Joe's presence in Maine is marginally plausible, it's still not enough to build a whole book around. I had the impression that the sole purpose of this book was to cement the relationship between Joe and his new girlfriend, Lyn Silva, by making him some kind of knight in shining armor, rescuing her from a sketchy family history and - presumably - cementing her place in Joe's life with fans who may have been less than impressed by this replacement for longtime girlfriend Gail Zigman. There were other ways to make her at least a little more palatable, a little more fleshed-out and real. That said, I'd go ahead and at least read the book - as with all series, it provides a thread in the continuum. Then put it back on the shelf and forget about it.
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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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I'm a big fan of the Joe Gunther series; am reading them all - this is #19. But I have to say this one was almost boring. Not my favorite. But then, one of the things I like about the series is that it is realistic and the character Gunther is a regular guy, and reality and regular guys aren't always exciting I guess. I'm also not crazy that 2 of the most interesting characters (detectives that work for him) are now an item. In addition they did not play much of a role in this story. But I am still going to continue reading the series.
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Joe Gunther is back again in another Archer Mayor novel, this one with satisfying turns and twists, endearing characters and a bit of a moral dilemma at hand. What is missing from this book that has been present in the series up to this point is the charm of Vermont and the local color, notably so since most of the novel is set outside the state. While the descriptions and writing techniques are extremely good, there is a sense of Gunther not being as vested in the outcome, especially since the story line only barely touches back to local crimes near the end of the book. Still a great story from Mayor and a reason to keep on reading.
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