The latest in the long running series finds Vermont Bureau of Investigations agent Joe Gunther and his team working a case that hits close to home. Susan Raffner had been a close ally of the governor Gail Zigman. Now Susan has been brutally murdered and the governor is devastated. Someone killed her, cut the word “Dyke” into her chest and then hung her body above the interstate on a rocky cliff face along the Connecticut river. The same steel mesh that the company she keptprotected all below from falling rocks from the cliff face was used to hang her body to advertise the murder.

The murder of Susan Raffner rocks the political establishment. Was the murder a political statement, a personal vendetta, or something else? Not only was she a state senator she was a close ally of Vermont Governor Gail Zigman. A close ally that had secrets of her own that gradually come to life as they always do in a murder investigation. A firebrand that often was very public in her causes of which there were many, her history, and Susan’s relationship with the governor are just one of many twists in a complex case at work in The Company She Kept.

While billed as Joe Gunther Novel this read, like many in recent years, is less about Joe and much more about the team. Sammie, Willy, and Lester are a family and as they investigate the case and suspects, much is made of their individual daily lives as well as their past history. The result is a read where, for significant portions of the book, it seems like the case is on a backburner as the focus shifts to events with individual team members. This results in a slow moving read for portions of the book before things suddenly ratchet up to the abrupt conclusion. An ending that, despite some commentary in some reviews, does tie up all the loose ends as the book abruptly concludes.

For those who prefer their reads to focus mainly on the case or main premise of the story, they may be disappointed. Police procedures take a backseat to a lot of personal inner ruminations by way of various characters as the case gradually develops. For those of us who appreciate the complexity of characters that feel like family, The Company She Kept is another in solidly good read in the long running series.

The Company She Kept: A Joe Gunther Novel
Archer Mayor
Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Publishing Group)
September 2015
ISBN# 978-1-250-06467-7
Hardback (e-book and audio formats available)
305 Pages
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015

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