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Red Herring (Joe Gunther #21)

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  312 ratings  ·  61 reviews
VBI (Vermont Bureau of Investigation) head Joe Gunther and his team are called in to investigate a series of violent deaths that appear unrelated until telltale clues reveal a linkage between them and that all of the deaths are, in fact, murders. However, apart from a single drop of unexplained blood left at each crime scene, there are no obvious connections between the v
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Minotaur Books (first published September 11th 2010)
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James Thane
May 05, 2011 James Thane rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any fan of crime fiction, especially those who enjoy regional mysteries
Shelves: crime-fiction
This is the twenty-first entry into one of the longest running--and best--regional mystery series out there. Beginning with Open Season in 1988, Archer Mayor has created a memorable cast of characters, headed by the series protagonist, Joe Gunther.

When the series began, Joe was a detective with the Brattleboro, Vermont P.D. Twenty-three years later, he is head of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, a state agency that investigates major crimes anywhere within the state. He has taken with him i...more
Maddy
PROTAGONIST: Lieut. Joe Gunther, Vermont Bureau of Investigations
SETTING: Vermont
SERIES: #21
RATING: 3.5

How on earth can an author set a book in a small state and develop enough interesting plot lines to keep a series strong for 21 books? Somehow, Archer Mayor has found the secret to keeping a long ongoing series fresh and engaging. The latest book in the Joe Gunther saga, RED HERRING, shows no signs that Mayor shouldn’t be able to keep writing for 21 more books.

As head of the Vermont Bureau o...more
Jerry
We had not previously read Archer Mayor, thus this 21st in the Forensic Investigator Joe Gunther series was brand new to us. {We note from other reviewer’s comments that Joe has a lengthy back story, of which we might wish we had been more aware.}

Three deaths, one for sure a murder and the other two suspicious, set Joe’s Vermont Bureau of Investigation team into action trying to determine from the clues what the motive, and who the culprit(s), might be. At times, the description of the science (...more
Laura Zurowski
Red Herring was my first experience with the Joe Gunther detective/crime series and as I like both the genre and the Vermont setting it takes place in, found this to be an enjoyable diversion and a quick-n-easy read. The pacing was a little formulaic, but with sufficient twists and turns to keep a balance between head-scratching puzzles and "ah-ha!" breakthrough moments.

As someone who has an interest in the study of serial killers (not personally, but as a topic for true-crime reading), I enjoye...more
Quillracer
I have a love-hate relationship with Archer Mayor's Joe Gunther series. I love them because they are great stories with fully developed characters and interesting crimes. Mayor always coveys the horror of murder withouth resorting to cheap gore. He describes Vermont in a way that makes the reader feel as if he or she is right there with the characters, seeing what they see, not like they're reading about it in a travel brochure. And he delivers character emotions not with a a deluge of words des...more
LJ
First Sentence: Doreen Ferenc slipped her nightgown over her head and let it fall the length of her body and gently settle onto her shoulders.

Joe Gunther and the VBI (Vermont Bureau of Investigation) are dealing with three very unusual cases; an apparent rape and death, an apparent suicide and an apparent fatal car accident. Each death was a murder. There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the three victims except for a drop of still-liquid blood left on or near each victim. With help fro...more
Deb
It's been a long time since I've read one of the Joe Gunther novels. Joe, the former police chief of Brattleboro, VT is now the head of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation. The series follows Joe's career and relationships with his staff as well as the relationships in his personal life. It's set in VT and Vermont's culture and politics are very much present in all the novels.

In Red Herring, Joe and his team are investigating three suspicious deaths that turn out to be the work of a serial kille...more
Ed
#21 in the Joe Gunther series. Joe Gunther, head of field investigations for the Vermont VBI, is a reliably good read - but, of course, some are better than others. This time around, I felt that the foray into cutting edge forensics with a trip to the Brookhaven National Laboratory added a bit too much description to what could have been summarized as an after the fact result.

Joe Gunther and his team are called in to investigate a series of deaths that appear unrelated until telltale clues revea...more
Michael
In a wonderfully complex novel that holds the reader's attention from the start, three murders occur in Vermont with little to tie them together.

Joe Gunther and his team of investigators find drops of blood at the crime scenes that have nothing to do with the victims and the victims themselves show no apparent connections.

Doreen Frenc, a businesswoman is the first victim but she seems an improbable target because she is so well liked by people at work and the community. Then a school administrat...more
Razz
I discovered Mr. Mayor many years ago. I quit reading him after awhile as the books tended to have the same formulas. He has stepped out a bit and I do enjoy how they solve the crimes.

Joe Gunther is a true hero. I felt badly when he and Gail went their separate ways, though. However, now that she is governor, it's just as well.

For whatever reason, I never could warm up to Lyn. So as sad as the ending was, Mayor pulled the plug on the right one.

I started the Tag Man before reading this. However,...more
Bob
Actually the one I read was a large pring hardback.
Back with a new Archer Mayor that has Joe Gunther heading the Vermont VBI in the search for the killers of 3 seemingly unconnected victims. With the help of some super science from a research lab in NY they find some common items among the various items found at the murder sites. With publicity gaining against the department and an up coming election in which Joes old girl friend is running, they pull together the evidence and identify their kil...more
Jack G
This is a classic " police procedural " . i.e. neither the reader or the protagonist knows who is doing the murders. The author is an assistant medical examiner in Vermont and sets this novel in Vermont. One of the strengths of the book is Mayor's knowledge of Vermont , police procedures and the world of forensics. This in depth knowledge is also the book's weakness .... at one point mid-book I found myself saying " don't describe how to build the watch ; just give me the time ! ". Scored this o...more
Marca
Joe Gunther of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation is chasing what appears to be a serial killer whose murders are staged to resemble something else (a suicide that is not a suicide, etc.). Joe also finds a single, shiny drop of blood at each scene that doesn’t tie to anyone. Joe uses a controversial DNA technology known as familial DNA to try to find the killer. I really like the Joe Gunther character. He mixes common sense with lots of savvy and just enough edginess. I like, also, that the aut...more
Scilla
Joe Gunther and his usual crew are investigating a series of three violent deaths, the third the grandson of a close friend of Joe's mother. They soon realize that each of the three deaths have occurred in a manner which relates to their history in some way. The VBI gets some help from Brookhaven National Lab with new techniques of DNA testing. Joe's current squeeze, Lyn, finally makes a suggestion which brings forth the connection among the murders, and leads to the resolution. "If it's a messa...more
Cheryl Turoczy hart
I enjoy Archer Mayor's Joe Gunther series. Joe is such an atypical cop/hero. Laid back, not egotistical, methodical, and yes, even a little boring perhaps, but he gets the job done and he sleeps with interesting women who don't all have blond hair and green eyes (what is it with love-interest-of-the-hero women always having green eyes? Do authors realize the small percentage of the population that have "emerald green" eyes?) but I digress. The last 10 pages of the book caused me to be late getti...more
Jandblock
New author for me and starting at the end but enjoyed the characters and the plot.
Jenny Brown
I've read all of Archer Mayor's Joe Gunther series, and liked this one better than the last few. If you haven't discovered him,yet, I'd suggest you go find his early books and read them through in sequence. At his best he's as good as they get. Some of his earlier books remind me a lot of Lawrence Block.

This isn't his very best, but it kept me turning the pages and once you've read the others so you know who the supporting characters are you'll want to read it.
Doug
Joe Gunther a not so young detective for the Vermont Bureau of Investigation and his team are faced with three murders that seem to have no connection yet,they are. As Joe and his team investigate the murders Archer Mayor explores how modern science can help a criminal investigation and at the same time may involve privacy issues. At times this part of the book became a little boring but in the end it helped build the story. A good story. I would recommend it.
Robyn
Gets too dry trying to explain the "new technology" that eventually breaks the cases wide open. Plus, it would have been interesting to see how they would have solved the cases without the assistance of advanced technology. (I think it could have been done.) Finally, not a big fan of revealing the killer before the final pages. But the novel did have a surprise ending, which hopefully will take the series in a new and interesting direction for the lead character.
Elizabeth
I loved the science in this book - one of the scientists even crafted a haiku to explain his research and I appreciate that kind of extra effort from authors. Plot alone is not enough!

The story was a pretty good one. The characters and plot were decent. It was easy to read and fast-paced. I would read more if I ran across them.
Herzog
Another of my favorite series. The plot here is quite well devised. While many procedurals are now including detailed descriptions of new technologies, this book took it a little further than most. Joe's team are all here playing their usual significant roles. The startling ending leaves open many possibilities for the series future.
Lynne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
Archie Mayor is one of my favorite crime/mystery writers. He hails from southern Vt - friends of ours know him. His earlier books were my favorites, but this one is back in the early groove. Good characters, believable plot and it's fun to have a book set in Brattleboro, VT, where we've spent many afternoons.
Patty
I really enjoyed this book up til the last chapter. No spoilers, but it felt tagged on and manipulative. Until then the mystery was complex, the forensic science was fascinating and the local (for me) setting was such fun. Will I be back for more? Very likely... but it may take some convincing.
Margaret
No other word for it - this is a ballsy addition to the string of Joe Gunther mystery series. The bad guy turns out to be trite, but the end is really something. I was slow to read this one so already had the next book in the series lined up - read them back to back ("Tag Man").
Mary Kay
Joe Gunther is a detective with the VBI (Vermont Bureau of Investigations). This case involves three seemingly unrelated bodies, each with a drop of unidentified blood on it. The Vermont setting is very well depicted, and the series characters are people to care about.
Lynn
Nice to catch back up with Archer Mayor's cast of characters, the southern Vermont villages and landscape. Mayor skillfully inserts tidbits of local issues and inside jokes. I was fascinated by the descriptions of the new developments in forensic science.
Jeffrey
Have read all the books in this series. Enjoyed most of this book, but was disappointed in the ending. Having lived in NH, I know many of the places he writes about and that adds to the interest. Wondering if this series is nearing its end.
Brian Stethem
Interesting, but not riveting, police procedural. I'm sure I would have benefitted by reading the previous Joe Gunther novels in order to have a richer understanding of the characters. I did enjoy the detailed descriptions of the Vermont locations.
Susan
These characters are very real and when bad things happen I cry. This book is a heartbreaker in a long line of outstanding books in this series. There are many faces of crime and Mayor tells the most interesting ones.
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Over the years, Archer Mayor has been photographer, teacher, historian, scholarly editor, feature writer, travel writer, lab technician, political advance man, medical illustrator, newspaper writer, history researcher, publications consultant, constable, and EMT/firefighter. He is also half Argentine, speaks two languages, and has lived in several countries on two continents.

All of which makes mak...more
More about Archer Mayor...
Open Season (Joe Gunther #1) Borderlines (Joe Gunther #2) The Skeleton's Knee (Joe Gunther #4) Scent of Evil (Joe Gunther #3) Tag Man (Joe Gunther #22)

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