SHELBURNE - Familiarity breeds affection. I know that isn't the usual old saw, but with Archer Mayor's excellent books it is certainly the truth.
Mayor's policeman hero in his 18 crime novels has been Joe Gunther, so one meets him like an old friend in the latest book, The Catch. Gunther is a Vermont policeman, a Brattleboro detective in the early books, and a member of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation in the more recent ones.
So the geography, the highways, the mountains, the local political scene, the landmarks ring true and add credibility to the stories. And best of all, Mayor has an eye for detail, a knack for capturing the authentic feeling of situations, be they dangerous, romantic or workaday, that give a strong sense of reality to his adventures as he unravels mysteries and tracks down the bad guys.
In The Catch, Gunther moves outside of his usual Vermont surroundings, tracking the killers of a deputy sheriff who has apparently been killed by Boston-based drug runners he pulled over as they headed south from the Canadian border. His search takes him to Boston and then to fishing villages along the coast of Maine where fishing, lobstering and drug smuggling occupy the local residents - some of them dangerous and ruthless.
Good news for Mayor fans, and for anyone who enjoys a good read, a twisty plot with lots of police procedural work, and Vermont scenery instead of California or New York City in a mystery for a change: Mayor has republished his first 12 books under his own AMPress name.
Mayor says he decided to purchase the rights to republish the books when his original publisher, Warner Books, took it out of print. The 12 books appear with new cover designs in the larger trade paperback size.
The Catch is published by St. Martin's Minotaur in hardcover for $24.95 and is available at local bookstores. The earlier books are available from Mayor's AMPress.com website.