cover image Presumption of Guilt: A Joe Gunther Mystery

Presumption of Guilt: A Joe Gunther Mystery

Archer Mayor. Minotaur, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-06468-4

A cold case heats up Mayor’s excellent 27th Joe Gunther novel (after 2015’s The Company She Kept), set in and around Brattleboro, Vt. When roofer Henry “Hank” Mitchell went missing in 1970, most assumed he’d abandoned his family and moved west to join the free love movement; 40 years later, though, his body is discovered inside a concrete slab at the decommissioned Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, leaving special agent Joe Gunther and his team at the Vermont Bureau of Investigation to solve the man’s now decades-old homicide. The subsequent murder of Hank’s old business partner and the kidnapping of VBI investigator Lester Spinney’s son suggest Hank’s killer is still at large and won’t go down without a fight. Evocative prose, a strong sense of place, and a simple yet satisfying conclusion elevate this expertly crafted whodunit. Trip-wire tension complements intelligent detective work, fascinating forensics, and an airtight plot; the rich shared history of Mayor’s deftly drawn ensemble cast adds texture and depth without leaving new readers in the dark. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Agency. (Sept.)