Fall Guy by Archer Mayor
In Archer Mayor’s Fall Guy, a body found in the trunk of a stolen car leads Joe Gunther and his team to crucial evidence in an infamous unsolved case from years past.
A high-end stolen car is discovered in Vermont. A car filled with stolen items from a far-flung two stage burglary spree. But it’s what is in the trunk that brings Joe Gunther and his team from the Vermont Bureau of Investigation. In the trunk is the body of burglar in question – one Don Kalfus. Complicating matters, while the body was found in Vermont, it appears he was probably killed in the next state over, New Hampshire.
The task force charged with finding out why Kalfus is murdered soon faces another problem. Within the pile of stolen cell phones found in the car is evidence of a notorious unsolved child abduction case from years earlier.
Now the seemingly simple case has become more complicated and deadly, leading Gunther’s team to be pulled from the New Hampshire coast to near the Canadian border as they attempt to find and capture the psychopath responsible for a tangled, historical web of misery, betrayal, and loss.
Fall Guy was chosen as one of Amazon’s Mystery picks of the month under New and Continuing series:
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The discovery of a body in the trunk of a stolen car propels bestseller Archer’s expertly plotted 33rd Joe Gunther novel (after 2021’s Marked Man). Aided by other members of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, Joe soon identifies the victim as a petty thief who’s stolen from targets all over Vermont and New Hampshire. A number of suspicious items found at the crime scene, including discarded cell phones, lead to the arrest of a child pornographer and a link to a child’s unsolved disappearance. Gunther and his team work across state lines as part of a task force, and Archer’s skill at researching and writing about police procedure is on full display as the case grows more complex and disturbing. As always, the author takes an unsparing view of life in northern New England, capturing the region’s beauty and economic disparity, while spinning a heart-pounding tale in which each character, clue, and subplot comes together with purpose. Even this far into the series, the supporting characters surrounding Gunther continue to grow and surprise. New and returning readers alike will be richly rewarded.
Review Issue Date: July 15, 2022 Online Publish Date: June 22, 2022
A murdered burglar in a stolen car leads Joe Gunther’s Vermont Bureau of Investigation team into some truly nasty places. Despite the absence of any identification, the corpse is quickly identified as that of Don Kalfus, and the Mercedes in whose trunk he’s been found belongs to Lemuel Shaw, a New Hampshire native who returned home to live the good life after making his bundle in New York. Since a phone found on Kalfus contains images of child pornography and Angie Neal, the girl who answers the door when Joe’s task force goes looking for Lisa Rowell, the phone’s owner, is clearly the model for one of the images, the leading question immediately becomes who’s most invested in producing and consuming this smut. It’s not Lisa Rowell, who’s nothing but a fictional avatar for Kalfus. Could it be Melissa Monfet, Angie’s mother, or Trevor Buttner, her ex-con live-in? Or could it be Lemuel Shaw, whose Mercedes was stolen not from his bucolic estate but from outside the strip club he frequented—a club from which he’d been ejected that night after arguing with bouncer Don Thompson, another pseudonym for Don Kalfus? As Joe and his teammates cross back and forth between Vermont and New Hampshire finding more and more rocks to turn over, canny readers are likely to assume they know where this all is headed. But as a series of brutal revelations stacked up like wartime corpses in the last few chapters indicate, things are much worse than they anticipated. A meticulous, professional procedural whose climax packs a wallop.