Presumption of Guilt – Archer Mayor

The Joe Gunther series is one I heard great things about back around the time it started, but which never I never clicked with. I own several, but I never did crack any of them open after kind of failing with the first one. Still, I have a hard time scrolling past a book on Netgalley when I have any connection with the author, so I requested, and received, Presumption of Guilt.

And I was glad of it. This was utterly readable, with an interesting and varied cast of main characters and an interesting story.

It all begins with a body discovered buried in cement at an old nuclear power plant in Vermont. Turns out it was a nice guy who disappeared years ago (who was in his day proof that a nice guy can have his pick of most girls), and suddenly Gunther and his team have a brand new, very cold case. Usually once organized crime becomes involved in a story, I get bored, but this was kept different enough that I stayed engaged. Not having read the rest of the series (yet), I don’t know how much of a presence the wildly unique “asset” Dan is in the rest of the series, but I’ve discovered that he is the Tag Man of the book of the same name – I’m really looking forward to reading that one in particular. I liked him.

In another one of those odd coincidences that has been popping up in my life over the last couple of years, in this book someone uses small metal stools at a crime scene to allow law enforcement to check things out without contaminating evidence. I’d never heard of them before that I remember, or seen them (or at least noticed them) in any detective show – until a day or so after reading it here. It could just be “I just learned that word and now hear it everywhere” syndrome – but I don’t think so. Just odd.

It’s funny how much cozier this mystery felt than most books touted as cozy mysteries. It’s a procedural, but the interaction of the characters – a long-time team – and particularly the rather laid-back attitude of Gunther is warm, and a solid basis for the mystery. I liked it. I liked it a lot. I hope I get around to the rest of the series before too many more moons.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.

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