“Bomber’s Moon” by Archer Mayor is part of the Joe Gunther series. Mayor quickly brings both old and readers up to date on the characters in a few sentences. Readers, both regular readers and ones new to the series, know who people are, what they have been doing, and immediately become immersed in their lives.
The story spotlights Brattleboro, Vermont, the state’s seventh-largest community and a self-described haven for transplanted tree-hugging trust-funders, a town which back in 2008, voted to have the police force arrest the president and vice president of the United States.
The main players in addition to Joe Gunther, Vermont Bureau of Investigation; include Sally Kravitz, private investigator; Alex B Robbin Hale, professional thief; and Rachael Reiling, reporter for the Brattleboro Reformer; and all are described in such detail that readers know them well — their backgrounds, connections to the past, scruples, talents, and philosophies of life. Descriptions are colorful and poetic.
The plot develops in a spontaneous and informal narrative; readers see and hear everything as events unfold. Conversations are casual and friendly. Mayor realistically portrays life in small towns where people know each other, lives intersect, and criminals hide in plain sight. Secondary stories are folded seamlessly into the main storyline.
Geography contributes to the realism, and readers can use Google maps to view the Brattleboro train station parking or the city of Windsor and even take a virtual stroll down Arch Street, observe the graffiti covered buildings, and watch the road turn to gravel by the railroad tracks. Even the title “Bomber’s Moon” is linked to the natural features of the area when on cloudless nights the moon combines with fallen snow to lend a pale blue boldness to the night; the term being a carryover from WW II, before night vision, as pilots relied on the moon to provide illumination for targets in the monochromatic targets of enemy territory.
“Bomber’s Moon” is beautifully written and enthralling to read. Mayor spins a solid and compelling story with plenty of suspense. I was given a review copy of “Bomber’s Moon” by Archer Mayor, St. Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books. I have enjoyed every book in the series, and “Bomber’s Moon” is yet another example of Mayor’s story-telling expertise. New readers will want to go back and read the series from the start, and regular readers will anxiously await the next installment.