Review: Marked Man (Joe Gunther #32) by Archer Mayor


Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (October 12, 2021)

From In Archer Mayor's Marked Man, the death of a local millionaire becomes suspicious when Joe Gunther learns that he was not who he claimed.

A year ago, local philanthropist and millionaire Nathan Lyon died a natural death in his sprawling mansion, a 150,000 square foot converted mill, surrounded by his loving, attentive family. Or so it seemed at the time. Now Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team has discovered that almost nothing about that story was true. Nathan Lyon was actually Nick Bianchi from Providence, Rhode Island. His money came from Mafia-tainted sources. And his family now seems to be dying themselves and their deaths are now revealed to be murders.

As Gunther's team desperately works to uncover what is going on at The Mill, who is responsible and what they are trying to accomplish, Joe himself travels to Rhode Island to look into the original source of the money. While the police are doing their jobs, private investigator Sally Kravitz teams up with reporter Rachel Reiling to expose the truth behind this tangled and expanding web of duplicity, greed, and obsession. Having betrayed many, it's no surprise that Nathan Lyon was a marked man. But now Gunther has to figure out who, among the many, killed him, and stop them before their killing spree claims another.

My Rating: 1 star out of 5

Let me begin by saying that this is the FIRST book in the series that I have read. And sadly, for being the thirty-second book in a series, I felt that the main group characters felt very one-dimensional and under developed. I didn't feel like I had missed anything by not reading any of the other books either, which was very surprising. 

Sadly, for me this book was just too much. There were too many characters thrown into the pot to be able to keep track of them (much less care about them). In fact, I think the author even got confused as they bounce back and forth between Gene having been Monica's son that she gave up for adoption, then saying that Nathan was just a "donor" to Gene's mother. If the author can't keep their own characters straight, how am I as the reader? 

There were also too many story-lines, which I'm sure intersected at some point, and possibly even in a creative way, but after three days of trying to get through this story, I just couldn't force myself to pick it up anymore. 

I think a lot of this has to do with the overly lengthy descriptions we are given. In some areas, it felt more like I was reading from a history book than one meant to be entertaining, here is a passage from the story that I picked at random for an example, "As suggestive as that was of nineteenth-century sweatshops factories, spewing pollution and working women and children to death, the reality today was mostly modern American Bland - shopping malls, commercial strips, auto graveyards, and converted factories, closing around pockets of sedate, middle-class neighborhoods that stuck like barnacles to the river's banks"

There were a lot of instances of the author going on those long-winded tangents about the area, taking up page after page of things that (for me at least) seemed completely unrelated to the story or the characters. In fact, I found myself skimming a lot of these passages in an attempt to get back to the story itself, but in the end had to give up for the sake of my sanity. 

My best advice? If you're a long-time fan of the series, give it a shot. If you're looking for a fast-paced police procedural? You might want to skip this one. 

DISCLAIMER:  I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                                                             Marked Man is available from

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