The Price of Malice Review
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A suspected child predator is found murdered in an apartment that doesnít belong to him. The victim, Wayne Castine, had ties to a local family, and to a mother and her twelve-year-old daughter. Both had motive to stab Wayne to death, and the local police are more than happy to hand the case off to the Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI).

As the VBI tries to unravel the tangled mess that the case becomes, their supervisor, Joe Gunther, is distracted by a smuggling case involving his girlfriend, Lyn, whose father and brother disappeared several years ago while out on their boat off the coast of Maine. It seems that they may have been murdered, rather than going down at sea during a storm. Though there isnít enough evidence for Joe to act on it, Lyn decides to go off on her own, and she stirs up a pot of trouble that could get her killed.

Meanwhile, FBI agents Willy Kunkle and his girlfriend, Sammie Martens, are left with most of the work in hunting down Wayne Castineís killer. Sammie befriends a young boy whose family may be connected to Wayne Castine, all the while keeping an eye on Willy, who doesnít play by the rules.

The Price of Malice is the second Joe Gunther thriller Iíve read, and Iím getting seriously hooked on these fast-paced, complicated murder mysteries. Author Archer Mayor blends together suspense, deep characterization, and a complex plot that will keep you hanging on, even though you know you should turn out the lights and get some sleep.

At first, I wasnít sure whether I liked Willy Kunkle. Heís a hard-headed, hot head with a chip on his shoulder, and heís way too reckless at times. But, somehow, as the story progressed, I began to like him because of his faultsóand youíve gotta love his methods of getting answers. Some authors just have a talent for making you like unlikable characters, and Archer Mayor is one of them.

Though there are two storylines in The Price of Malice, the tale never gets confusing. Youíll be equally fascinated by both plots, and youíll feel for Joe as heís torn between his girlfriendís problem and the murder case.

With a riveting plotline, characters that always stand out from each other, and non-stop thrills, The Price of Malice is one of the best mystery/suspense novels Iíve read all year. Grab a copy, and see what I mean.

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