While investigating what they believe to be two totally different cases, Joe Gunther and his VBI team make a shocking discovery that might just prove the two crimes are linked together in the 29th installment of Archer Mayor’s (Trace, 2017, etc.) bestselling series.
When the body of an unidentified pregnant woman who was badly beaten was found near a resort on Bromley Mountain, Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team are called in to investigate the murder. It doesn’t take them long to ID the woman as Teri Parker or to secure a full confession from Mick Durocher, who was seen on security footage driving the vehicle that dumped Parker’s body. On the surface, it’s an open and shut case, but there’s just one problem . . . Gunther and his crew aren’t buying it.
For starters, it’s too neat. Gunther, who’s been on the job several decades, has seen it all. So when Durocher confesses but gets key details of the crime wrong, something he’s never encountered before, that raises a red flag. Then again, why would someone confess to murder if they weren’t really the killer? It’s an interesting question, and one Gunther sets out to find an answer for. Simultaneously, though, another case requires their attention when someone starts a fire in the GreenField Grocery warehouses. While conventional wisdom says not to make too much of one single act of arson, investigators can’t help but take note when GreenField is targeted in other ways too. From their trucks to their air conditioning systems, someone is sabotaging the Trader Joe’s-like grocer, though their motives aren’t clear.
Meanwhile, Upper Valley Surgical Services, a local hospital, is dealing with an Ebola outbreak. As the story unfolds, Gunther and his team make a surprise discovery that just might link everything together, forcing them to follow leads in a number of directions, all of them dangerous.
While the story does take some time to get going, the bigger issue is that because this is the twenty-ninth book in the series and the author doesn’t provide much backstory for the characters, newcomers may feel lost early on. That, combined with the fact that the plot starts slowly as things gradually set up for down the road, could lead to readers losing interest during the first hundred pages or so. However, once the story enters the second act, the pacing picks up and readers will start to see the puzzle pieces coming together. Just when you think you have things figured out, the best is still to come, as Mayor attempts a couple of twists and sticks his landing.
Bury the Lead is another solid novel from Archer Mayor, who shows no signs of slowing down as his series approaches the rarely achieved thirty-book milestone.
Author: Archer Mayor
Series: Joe Gunther #29
Pages: 448 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5 /10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.