Archer Mayor uses the harsh winter weather and the steel mesh retaining net, attached to the rock face, on what locals will recognize as Interstate 91 in Fairlee, to set his crime. A woman has been brutally murdered and hung from the netting. She’s a state senator and the lover of Joe’s former partner, Gail Zigman, now the governor of Vermont. At first, the murder seems to be a straightforward anti-gay hate crime, but as Joe and his team investigate, it becomes clear that something far more complex is going on. Mayor uses the harshness of a Vermont winter to enhance the details of the work that his ever-evolving team of investigators bring to the solving of this crime. Recognizing the locales, as well as the winter conditions, is the icing on the cake of this 26th book in the Gunther series.
Sarah Stewart Taylor – O’ Artful Death
In her debut volume in the Sweeney St. George mystery series, Hartland, Vermont based author, Taylor, takes us to a late 19th century artist’s colony in Vermont. (Think, the Cornish Colony transported across the Connecticut River.) Sweeney, a Boston based art historian, is invited to Byzantium as the colony was called, for the Christmas holiday. She eagerly accepts, given her interest in the art colony in general, as well as an extraordinarily beautiful headstone in the colony graveyard. What Sweeney anticipates will be a classic, snowy Vermont holiday mixed with some interesting research, however, quickly become more dangerous and deadly when a descendent of the colony is found murdered, her body left on that same headstone which has captured Sweeney’s interest. Taylor is especially artful herself, using the weather and the landscape to enhance the suspense as Sweeney hunts for a killer.
Maine game warden Mike Bowditch faces his most dangerous enemies yet: the icy winter wilderness of outback Maine and the unknown foe who drove his Jeep off the road and who clearly wants him dead. This skillful combination of murder mystery and survival thriller finds Bowditch trapped beneath the ice of a frozen river and subsequently chased by armed snowmobilers. While struggling to stay alive in the face of deadly conditions, Bowditch tries to figure out if the suspicious drowning of a wealthy professor which he’s been investigating is connected to the determined attempt by someone to kill him. The wintery wilderness landscape and the deadly weather conditions are front and center in this superb entry in the addictively readable Mike Bowditch series.