Open Season, Archer Mayor

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I've been reading mysteries set in New England and just recently discovered Archer Mayor's books. Open Season, his first, is a terrific procedural, but with more insight and heart than one usually finds in the sub-genre. He has a wonderful description of his development as a cop as seen in his relationship with his gun:

"It also meant carrying a gun--the ultimate symbol of the simple answer to a complex world--and it gave me a chance, every once in a while, to do something "right," which by that time in my life was becoming an elusive quality... [But] most bad guys were usually regular guys with a screw loose--barring a few exceptions.... The gun lost its appeal as I began to rely more on my instincts than on its authority. I came to see if finally as the unreasoning thing it is: the admission of your brain's collapse under panic and impotent rage."

There is also a wonderful description of his mother that concludes with the perfect simile:

"Outwardly, she remained pleasant and good-natured, but I always sensed a tiredness there, as if she'd been asked to smile for the camera just one shot beyond her tolerance."

Most of all, I appreciate his subtle, careful handling of childhood abuse, which is able to convey indirectly. There is a brilliant scene in which he interviews the mother in a dark green living room he likens to an aquarium. It's an unusual image, but the metaphor of being underwater works so well in this context. The way the elderly mother keeps it and herself spotlessly clean while ignoring the incredible ickiness that has gone on in the house. There's a bit where she reaches down a collects a bit of fuzz off the carpet and puts it in the pocket of her cardigan. Completely real.