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Three Can Keep a Secret: A Joe Gunther Novel…

Three Can Keep a Secret: A Joe Gunther Novel

by Archer Mayor

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Not Mayor's best but still better than the average mystery. ( )
  TimDel | Feb 2, 2017 |
When Hurricane Irene slammed Vermont, it did more damage than the usual flooding, severely damaged buildings, electricity outages, and destroying roads and bridges. It opened up decades of mysteries.
As Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation, as well as police forces from throughout the state, try to help the storm victims, they are faced with some unanticipated situations. The flood raised coffins from some cemeteries. One of them got smashed and spilled out its contents: a bunch of rocks. The electrical failure in an old institution housing mentally ill people enabled one of the long-time residents, a woman called the Governor, to escape. All that was found was a shoe and a footprint.
Soon thereafter the body of a long-time state politician was found in his bed at his expensive nursing home. The doctor ruled the death to be from natural causes, but Joe has his doubts. Other deaths follow, all seemingly connected after an investigation.
Joe and his team begin to question the history of the missing patient and why she had been institutionalized for so many decades. They turn up a lot of history that some people would kill to keep hidden.
Archer Mayor paints a picture of Vermont, its scenery, structure, politics, and people. People who followed the 2016 primary election in the US would not be surprised to read that the residents are politically populist. Mayor explains why. He also acknowledges it’s most famous product: Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream.
The characters are well drawn and realistic. Each has his or her own, consistent personality. There are references to incidents in previous books but having read them are not necessary to fully appreciating this one. Most could have been omitted without any loss. The book is a fast read and the ending could easily lead to a sequel.
Interesting observation: “Joe awkwardly shifted his cell phone against his cheek and ear to hear more clearly. He’d once taken the ergonomics of old-fashioned phones for granted. Never again.” ( )
  Judiex | Sep 7, 2016 |
Archer Mayor, author, seems to have chosen an unlikely title for his book Three Can Keep A Secret published in 2013.
Since I can’t keep a secret, I’ll let you know that I was led off like a hungry trout seeking a fly on his red herring scene incorporating a coffin found after Hurricane Irene that was full of river rocks. For someone like myself who still takes Memorial Day seriously, that’s a big faux pas to have either robbed a grave or faked an interment.

Meanwhile, a secondary investigation into a missing persons case brings forth the detritus of a left-aside life from a woman who has been suffering stupor due to malice in administration of psychiatric drugs. The havoc brought by Hurricane Irene set her free. And brought to VBI Chief Joe Gunther a problem that was much more than search and rescue.
Right into the Montpelier Vermont State House among the political hacks, stealthy chaos enters. A disastrous group called “The Holy Three” are headed for trouble if the revelations of the past are brought forth. This plot has the reader smelling the malodorous fog of multiple obfuscations all the way from the swampy D.C. dens of those with too much found money. Of course, I have to be oblique in describing this plot because the villains in this book should be uncovered through the plot, not through my review.
This is a great description of the hurricane damage (which I’ve witnessed, at least in Killington Vermont) and the challenges of locating those who have chosen to hide from regular social life, or who have been forced to hide from regular social life. ( )
  darcette | Dec 22, 2015 |
Tropical storm Irene is bearing down on Vermont as Three Can Keep a Secret: A Joe Gunter Novel opens. For Joe Gunther and his team from the Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI) the storm means all hands on deck for anything and everything and that include them. It is only after the storm is over and the residents begin to recover that the teams’ investigative skills are put to work.

In one case a very long term patient known as “The Governor” who was housed at a mental health facility has apparently walked away from the place. In another a retired political bigwig who had ties “The Governor” has suddenly died. Not entirely unexpectedly as he had health issues, but the timing is a little strange. And then there is the uncovered coffin at a graveyard. A coffin that, while it does not contain a body, is completely filled with rocks.

As the residents struggle to recover despite the chaos and destruction caused by widespread damaging floods, Joe Gunther and his team move from lifesaving to investigating the various situations. Cases with no easy answers and in at least one case more deaths to come.

The latest in this long running series is another solidly good one. While billed as a “Joe Gunther Novel” as has been the case in recent books the read is just as much about the team as Joe Gunther. While some relationships between various long running characters are evolving, no new real ground is unearthed here in the 24rth book of the series. The primary focus, once one gets past the storm, is the various mysteries at work here in the complicated and very good book.

Three Can Keep A Secret: A Joe Gunther Novel
Archer Mayor
Minotaur Books
October 2013
ISBN# 978-1-250-02613-2
336 Pages

My supreme thanks to Lesa Holstine who provided the ARC after I was lucky enough to win it during a recent contest.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2013 ( )
  kevinrtipple | Dec 24, 2013 |
I found "Three Can Keep a Secret" to be a wonderful read.

Having gone to college in Vermont, many years ago, I believe that Archer Mayor depicts the life and area of Vermont so realistically that I felt that I was back in college and experiencing everything for the first time.

The book opens with police and disaster control employees preparing for Hurricane Irene and if the reader enjoys books about natural disasters, that is another reason to pick this book.

Water causes a disruption in a cemetery and some of the coffins are uprooted. In one, there is no body but a coffin filled with rocks.

In a secondary part of the story, a state hospital begins to be evacuated but one patient walks off on her own. She is a simple woman who remembers what was happening in Vermont long ago and it involved some prominent people who don't want the past brought back.

The characters are very real and it seems as if the reader is immediately immersed in the history of the state and Hurricane Irene's effect on the inhabitants. ( )
  mikedraper | Oct 12, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 125002613X, Hardcover)

Archer Mayor's New York Times bestselling Joe Gunther series returns with a complex case involving two corpses, one escaped mental patient, and a long-held secret that binds them together

“Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” —Ben Franklin

Joe Gunther and his team—the Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI)—are usually called in on major cases by local Vermont enforcement whenever they need expertise and back-up.  But after the state is devastated by Hurricane Irene, the police from one end of the state are taxed to their limits, leaving Joe Gunther involved in an odd, seemingly unrelated series of cases. In the wake of the hurricane, a seventeen year old gravesite is exposed, revealing a coffin that had been filled with rocks instead of the expected remains. 

At the same time, an old, retired state politician turns up dead at his high-end nursing home, in circumstances that leave investigators unsure that he wasn’t murdered.  And a patient who calls herself The Governor has walked away from a state mental facility during the post-hurricane flood. It turns out that she was indeed once “Governor for a Day,” over forty years ago, but that she might have also been falsely committed and drugged to keep her from revealing something that she saw all those years ago.  Amidst the turmoil and the disaster relief, it’s up to Joe Gunther and his team to learn what really happened with the two corpses—one missing—and what secret “The Governor” might have still locked in her brain that links them all.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:21 -0400)

When an old gravesite exposes a coffin filled with rocks instead of the expected remains, and a retired state politician turns up dead, Joe Gunther and his team follow the evidence to an escaped mental patient who holds the key to solving both cases.

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