Tuesday, November 24, 2020

More Pandemic: "The Price of Malice" by Archer Mayor

 More Pandemic: The Price of Malice by Archer Mayor, 2009, Hoopla download.

I forgot the plot, man. let me look it up... OK. I recall it now. Child rapist is murdered in his run-down apartment and Joe Gunther also finds out his girly-friend's long missing father and brother may have been murdered.

Mayor often writes about the down-and-out crooks of Vermont. Small town hoods and ne'er-do-wells following paths of misdemeanors and a small felonies. Those people live and work alongside the heavies of crime who deal in prostitution, loansharking, drugs, and the rare murder. Well, rare in real life but not in Guntherland.

Living in apartments where the entire building will rattle when someone climbs the stairs. Wide ranging families formed by ties of blood, romance, convenience, and business. Cars that sometimes work. Poor paying jobs that'll cut you loose at short notice. People who get cut loose because they'd rather drink and smoke than go to a lousy job. People see things. People hear things. People don't trust the police and won't tell the police.

Meanwhile the local cops deal with a few cases of burglary, murder, and sexual assault. The rest of the time they deal with substance abuse and people who cannot or will not form healthy romantic relationships. Called back to the BS squabbles every weekend night they try to get along with the locals misfits. When a murder happens the state investigators like Gunther show up run the case.

Anyhoo. Gunther is even keeled and supports and trusts the cops he supervises. He's been involved with a new girly friend but works loooooong hours during a case and his personal life suffers. Mayor also saddles Gunther with long-time asshole Willy Kunkle. Kunkle is a prick who, in real life, would have been fired from law enforcement long ago. But, this is a novel.

Meanwhile the subplot has New Girly Friend looking into a new lead on her missing family. The father and brother disappeared years ago at sea when working their fishing boat. New found clues are followed that show a possible murder. 

I dropped reading Mayor about 15+ years ago after one novel was not well done. I started up again a couple years ago and have stayed with it. I have 2-3 withdrawn paperbacks and hardcovers I've been going through plus a couple audiobooks I've downloaded.

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