Trace, Archer Mayor, 2017 

Mayor continues his series about Joe Gunther and the Vermont Bureau of Investigation with his 28th novel, and it feels like he’s running out of gas.  The usual cast of characters, Joe and his latest girlfriend, Dr. Beverly Holmstrom, the VT Medical Examiner, Willy Kunkle and Sammie (and their daughter Emma), and Lester Spinney take on three major cases at the same time that Joe has to go to St. Louis with his mother who has Lyme encephalitis.  Hard to believe?  You betcha.  At any rate, everyone does fine especially Mom.  Sammie catches the murderer and the slimy Albany, NY lobbyist; Willy catches the techie who is defrauding the US military with defective lithium batteries; Lester catches the multiple murderer involved in an old closed case of the killing of a policeman; everyone gathers for a cookout at Lester’s where Joe gives a pitifully soppy speech about their mission and they light candles with photographs of the 3 murdered innocents.  Pass the hot dogs, please.