• Paradise City

  • A Joe Gunther Mystery, Book 22
  • By: Archer Mayor
  • Narrated by: William Dufris
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (287 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Joe Gunther and his team at the Vermont Bureau of Investigation are alerted to a string of unrelated burglaries across Vermont. Someone, in addition to flatscreens, computers, and stereos, has also been stealing antiques and jewelry. Meanwhile, in Boston, an elderly woman surprises some thieves in her Beacon Hill home and is viciously murdered. The Boston police find that not only is the loot similar to what's being stolen in Vermont, but it may have the same destination. Word is out that someone powerful is purchasing these particular kinds of items in the "Paradise City" of Northampton, Mass....

Gunther, the Boston Police, and the vengeful niece of the murdered old lady convene on Northampton, eager to get to the bottom of the mystery and find the "responsible parties" - although each is motivated to mete out some very different penalties.

©2012 Archor Mayor (P)2012 AudioGO

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The Names of the Streets are Real

Archer Mayor's mysteries featuring Joe Gunther are "regionals" depicting life and crime in Brattleboro and other locales of the upper Connecticut River Valley of Vermont, along the Interstate 91 "ski-way." This installment takes Joe south down I-91, into the Western Massachusetts part of the Valley--which happens to be the region where I happily hang out. The action centers on Northampton, the self-proclaimed "Paradise City" of the book's title, which is generally regarded as the fine arts and fine dining center of Western Mass. (Snobs from Boston need not comment on that statement, thank you.)

I enjoyed reading the portrayals of Northampton, Amherst, Greenfield, and other haunts of my stomping grounds. Most of the places described are real--from Coolidge Cafe to the Summit House, from the abandoned Strategic Air Command post hidden inside Mount Tom to Amity Street and Potwine Lane, the accuracy of the locations was fun (at least for a "local" like me). The art and jewelry gallery that is crucial to the story is fictitious, but certain (noncriminal) elements of it were recognizable in real establishments.

Even though the "taste of home" kept me reading, I found the overall story less than compelling. I also found it very hard to follow the characters. We are introduced in rapid succession to Billie, Willie, Mickey, Bobby, Tony, Jimmy, Dan, and Ed, to name a few. One's a victim, some are cops, and the rest are bad guys. We also have Mina, Anna, Donna, Nancy, Sammie, and Lou. It was a relief to meet Li Anming, an artisan "smuggled in" from China and kept as slave labor, re-setting and re-crafting stolen jewelry; her character at least I was able to recognize readily.

I remember reading a couple of the early Gunther books, and that I enjoyed "Borderlines" and "The Skeleton's Knee." But the series never grabbed me, and there are 15 or 16 books in between "Knee" and "Paradise" that I never read; so it's partly my own lack that I didn't know the characters (beyond Joe Gunther himself) who are series regulars. But even discounting the regulars, the rather flimsy plot seemed overburdened with players. It's a fairly short read with some interesting scenes. Not awful, not great.

5 people found this helpful

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Well done episode in this series

Even though I prefer the original narrator of the series, Mr. Dufris is had congee in to his own in his marathon of characters we previously had only heard voiced by Tom Taylorson. He had done an impressive job at keeping the character of each of the main players consistent with the voices Tom endeared is to.

3 people found this helpful

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Really good Joe Gunther procedural

The narrator did an excellent job with all the voices—esp the female voices— except for Joe Gunther, who he made sound really elderly and different. If you can look past that it was a very good story, with different strands ghat came together. Much more embracing if diversity and accepting of LGBTQ than some of other novels in the series (or perhaps it’s just Gail’s friend Sue was so unlikable?). Really good and very interesting. Love the Willy and Sami storyline!!

2 people found this helpful

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PARADISE CITY

Good story but, once again, very poor performance by Mr Dubris. Please bring back Tom Taylorson!

2 people found this helpful

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bad narrator

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

no, the narrator ruins it. bad voices, wishes he was tom taylorson.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of William Dufris?

Tom Taylorson, he IS the voice of Gunther and Co.

2 people found this helpful

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The Narrator/Performer is very, very poor.

I wasn't able to follow the stories or characters and therefore lost interest because the narration was monotonous and annoying at the same time. If you want to try another of the same series definitely purchase the Tom Taylorson version. He is SUPERB. And the novel will come across as it was meant to.

1 person found this helpful

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What happened?

Why did this book make Joe sound like a 90 year old man? I enjoyed the story other than the way they portrayed Joe.
I fully enjoy the Joe Gunther series and can’t wait until the end of April when the newest book comes out on Audio

1 person found this helpful

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Grate book

Grate book. I have listened too almost all of the Joe Gunther series and have loved them all. They are of action and lots of suspense. The narrator is perfect for all of these books.

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Love this series!

Great story with well developed characters. Listen to books in order to follow the characters trials, challenges and growth. Thanks for the Plus Catalog.

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Just…no

I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a terrible narrator ever. Like EVER! It was awful!!! Couldn’t even get into the book because his voice was so distracting. Awful…did I mention it’s really, really bad narration yet?