First Sentence: It was the time of year when New England wobbles between fall and winter, as prone to Indian summer as to sudden, short-lived snow-storms.
Vietnam vet Ben Kendall suffered from PDST, became a recluse and a hoarder. Yet, there was one person he let into his world; a young photographer Rachel, daughter of medical examiner Beverly Hillstrom and Det. Joe Gunther’s lady love. Rachel has the misfortune to find Ben dead by an apparent accident. Once it’s found to be murder, Joe discovers, thought Rachel, that there are two men very determined to find photos Ben took in Vietnam…and they are willing to kill.
Mayor starts us off with a very good, engrossing, slightly creepy opening. However, it is clear, from the beginning, that Joe is a good guy, in the old-fashioned sense of that word. Major does a very good job of providing back stories for his characters that are concise; so as to neither bore fans of the series nor take one out of the story, yet they provide sufficient introduction to new readers.
Mayor’s sense of place is excellent; “But Joe was a dyed-in-the-wool new Englander, and had no problem with an environment that could reach out and kill him half of every year. He felt it added to the character of the region—and its inhabitants…” His writer’s voice is engaging… “Frank didn’t respond. Neil’s verbal patter was like background noise to him by now—not much different from distant freeway traffic, or the ticking of a small clock.”
“Proof Positive” is a very good read with escalating suspense, surprise plot twists and a satisfying ending.
PROOF POSITIVE (Pol Proc-Joe Gunther-Vermont- Contemp) – VG+
Mayor, Archer – 25th in series
Minotaur Books, 2014