The latest Joe Gunther novel isn't really about Joe Gunther. But, Archer Mayor's Trace is an outstanding police procedural that keeps the series fresh and interesting. This time, the story focuses on Gunther's team while he himself takes a backseat role.
When Joe receives a call from his Leo, informing him their mother is hospitalized, he drops everything to go. And, when they're told she needs additional treatment, he's the one who has the vacation time, "years of time banked", so he accompanies her to St. Louis, leaving the Vermont Bureau of Investigation in the capable hands of Sammie Martens. Of course, that's when all hell breaks loose, and his teamed is swamped, while Sammie still has to juggle the daily bureaucratic paperwork.
One case that could have repercussions is the investigation of an old case in which a cop shot a driver after a traffic stop, and the driver shot and killed the officer. Now, Lester Spinney receives information that the incident might not have happened exactly as it appeared. The cop-killing brought police from all over for the funeral. Lester has to be careful when he takes a second look at the evidence.
Willy Kunkel has a strange case that starts with nothing more than three teeth on a railroad track. But, if anyone can deal with a convoluted investigation that starts from nothing, it's Willy.
Sammie has a murder investigation that involves multiple agencies. But, the VBI is called in at the request of the Medical Examiner. Her daughter's roommate was attacked and killed in their apartment, and her daughter managed to fight off the man. Someone targeted the young woman, and Sammie and the other investigators must dig into the past of a woman who wasn't what she appeared to be.
Mayor's book is an outstanding police procedural, balancing investigations with the personal lives and issues of the team members. It's been a while since I read one of Mayor's books. As a fan of police procedurals, I've been missing out.
Archer Mayor's website is www.archermayor.com
Trace by Archer Mayor. Minotaur Books. 2017. ISBN 9781250113269 (hardcover), 336p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.