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Bomber's Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe…
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Bomber's Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series) (edition 2019)

by Archer Mayor (Author)

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342503,808 (3.69)1
"The murder of a small-time drug dealer snowballs into the most complex case ever faced by Joe Gunther and his VBI team. It is said a bright and clear bomber's moon is the best asset to finding one's target. But beware what you wish for: What you can see at night can also see you. Often with dire consequences. Bomber's Moon is Archer Mayor's latest entry in the Joe Gunther series and it may just be his best yet. Two young women form the heart of this tale. One, an investigative reporter, the other a private investigator. Uneasy allies from completely different walks of life, they work together-around and sometimes against Joe Gunther and his VBI cops-in an attempt to connect the murders of a small town drug dealer, a smart, engaging, fatally flawed thief, and the tangled, political, increasingly dark goings on at a prestigious prep school. While Gunther and the VBI set about solving the two murders, Sally Kravitz and Rachel Reiling combine their talents and resources to go where the police cannot, from working undercover at Thorndike Academy, to having clandestine meetings with criminals for their insider's knowledge of Vermont's unexpectedly illicit underbelly. But there is a third element at work. A malevolent force, the common link in all this death and chaos, is hard at work sowing mayhem to protect its ancient, vicious, very dark roots"--… (more)
Member:kevinrtipple
Title:Bomber's Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series)
Authors:Archer Mayor (Author)
Info:Minotaur Books (2019), 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Bomber's Moon by Archer Mayor

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The thirtieth novel in a very good series by Archer Mayor, Bomber’s Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel, opens in the winter time in Vermont. There is a man who is very good at his job. Unfortunately for some folks, Alex Hale’s being good at his job means their stuff gets stolen. For a certain someone, that theft will cause the potential of a secret going back decades to be exposed and that can’t be allowed.

Joe Gunther and his team in the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, the VBI, are about to have their own case in Bellow Falls. The murder case of Lyall Johnson seems pretty straight forward on the face of it a guy named Brandon Leggatt knifed him over drugs and fled the scene. A fight between low life criminals that have very long rap sheets going back many years covering a wide ranging list of petty crimes indicates that things led to their always inevitable conclusion. Joe Gunther has been doing this job for a lot of years and he si sure from the start that something more is at work.

At the same time, Sally Kravitz, private investigator, is hired for an infiltration and surveillance job. Something is rotten at Thorndike Academy. What exactly is wrong is vague and nothing more than a nagging suspicion that her employer has at this point. One of those deals when you know something is off, but you just can’t quite put your finger on it. He wants confirmation. She soon needs some help and enlists Rachel Railing, a reporter, who is moving into the investigation side of things.

The above explanation not only greatly simplifies the various situations, it also barely scratches the surface of this latest very complicated novel in the series. Things escalate quickly on all these fronts and more in this highly entertaining mystery. Long time readers very familiar with these characters and their evolving situations will find much to like in this latest installment. All the usual suspects are back and the only real question is how well they play together with their often differing and clashing agendas.

Bomber’s Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel is another mighty good read in a series full of them. Sure you could start here and it would work, but what is the fun in that? Go to the beginning and start with Open Season.

Bomber’s Moon: A Joe Gunther Novel
Archer Mayor
https://archermayor.com/
Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Publishing Group)
https://www.minotaurbooks.com
September 2019
ISBN# 978-1-250-11330-6
Hardback (also available in audio and digital formats)
324 Pages (311 pages actual story)

Material came from the Mountain Creek Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2019 ( )
  kevinrtipple | Nov 8, 2019 |
This is number 30 of the Joe Gunther series. Though I haven’t read any of the previous works, I think it can be read as a standalone. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I’d hoped. (I read this book while I was sick, which may have affected my view of the story. So keep that in mind.)

The highlight of the book was the relationship between Rachel, a new investigative reporter, and Sally, a private investigator with an unusual upbringing. Neither woman trusts easily. Both have been deeply wounded, yet desire to be helpful and are willing to take risks when necessary.

Throughout the book, it’s obvious that both need a friend. A thief who plot ingenious crimes brings the women together. It’s great to see them team up and hunt for answers. From a prep school storage vault to a library’s archive to the front seat of Sally’s old Subaru, the women are key to solving the crimes.

Sally’s been a loner for most of her life. But the lives of the other characters are tangled up with each other. Rachel and Joe Gunther have respect for one another’s professions and are willing to help each other out: him, by giving her first dibs on breaking news, and her, by giving him any relevant information her investigation yields.

That’s not all: Gunther is dating/semi-living-with Rachel’s divorced mother, Beverly, the state’s medical examiner. Two of Gunther’s coworkers, Sam and Willie, are romantic partners, and Sam respects Beverly enough to ask her advice on her daughter’s schooling. The tangling of lives is inevitable in a small town setting and mimics real life. (It also subtly points to a theme in the central crime.)

Multiple crimes happen. Burglary. Murder. Drugs. At points, it’s difficult to see how any of them might be related. (But this is fiction, so they have to be related, right?) Mayor weaves a tangled web of deceit, theft, sex, and murder; multiple people with different motivations are at work. It’s not until closer to the end that we see which strands come together and which are extraneous to the story.

Some of the crimes hit hot button topics, such as the MeToo movement and cybersecurity.

Another interesting (and fun) aspect of the book are the allusions to fiction. At several points, someone (usually Sally) mentions the differences between fictional investigations and real-life investigations:
1. Drivers don’t quickly pick out the cars tailing them. People are oblivious to the world.
2. The NSA isn’t all-knowing. Humans mess things up too much.
3. Action doesn’t always happen at the “ideal” moment when setting, timing, and plot line up best for dramatic purposes. Simply because it’s late night, snowing, and someone just stepped out of a bar, doesn’t mean that character will be robbed, kidnapped, or otherwise witness violence.

These thoughts simultaneously position this story on the side of reality, while drawing attention to its fictional nature. My inner English major geeks out about these sorts of things.

The downside? For me, it was Gunther and his team. It took me a long time to warm up to Gunther, though I eventually did. It wasn’t that I disliked any of the other team members or found their characterization lacking. I just never quite rooted for them, either. Long time series readers might feel differently.

I found Sally and Rachel to be far more interesting. I wonder if Mayor invested so much effort into writing their relationship and developing both characters that his usual cast (Gunther, Sam, etc.) took a hit as a result. Just a thought.

Overall, though, this was a good book. While it didn’t make me a fan of the series, it was a good mystery.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's/Minotaur for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  MeredithRankin | Aug 26, 2019 |
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