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The Company She Kept: A Joe Gunther Novel…
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The Company She Kept: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series)

by Archer Mayor

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There is a decent story here, one of the Joe Gunther detective series from Archer Mayor, but I found the writing just a bit off and filled with a few too many superfluous details. Basic premise is a high-powered Vermont state senator is found dead along a highway, with a scene that stumps the Vermont Bureau of Investigation. Is it a political murder? a hate crime? Premeditated or well-planned? Lots of leads, but very little evidence that points in any one direction. If you read it, know that the book does get better in the second half. This is the first Joe Gunther book I have read -- and I would read others when I run out of other options. ( )
  Randall.Hansen | Mar 15, 2016 |
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 protected 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
http://www.archermayor.com
Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Publishing Group)
http://www.minotaurbooks.com
September 2015
ISBN# 978-1-250-06467-7
Hardback (e-book and audio formats available)
305 Pages
$25.99

Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Public Library System.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015 ( )
  kevinrtipple | Nov 26, 2015 |
Doug Nielsen and his wife Margie were returning from their winter vacation when they pulled into a scenic overlook in Vermont. However, it wasn’t quite the scenery they imagined when looking up they saw a lifeless body dangling from the metal meshing that was designed to keep the mountain rocks from falling onto the interstate.

Gilbert, Joe Gunther’s cat, was asleep on Joe’s chest, and Joe himself was deep in thought when the phone rang. The first words he heard were “Susan’s dead”, uttered by a stricken Gail Zigman, his former romantic partner and now governor of Vermont. The Susan in question is Susan Raffner, Vermont state senator and Gail’s political advisor, close friend and sidekick. When Joe, as a leader in the Vermont Bureau of Investigation gets a call from the Governor to head up the investigation, he has no choice but to comply regardless of what their past relationship might have been.

It’s old home week for us Joe Gunther fans as he gathers the normal VBI team of Sammie Martens, Willie Kunkle, Lester Spinney and chief medical examiner (and Joe’s current girl friend) Beverly Hillstrom, along with various other law enforcement officers. The problem is that, regardless of all the high tech equipment and analysis, the investigation (which is high profile) is dead in the tracks (pun intended) pretty soon. So Joe gets the idea of having the team plod through all the analysis, interviews and paper, with the exception of Willy Kunkle, a loner by nature, to whom he basically gives carte blanche…as long as he stays under the radar.

As all Joe Gunther mysteries, The Company She Kept has twists and turns. I did not guess the end…but I don’t typically. The characters have developed personalities over the years that readers can count on, and they don’t fail us in this endeavor. I like series in which the characters age and develop and you see that clearly in this book. Willie, always the rebel and outsider, is softening with the birth of his daughter. Joe has moved on from his first wife’s untimely death from cancer and his break up with Gail. Gail has progressed from real estate agent to gadfly to a politically savvy governor.

There’s not a lot of action in The Company She Kept. It’s enough to satisfy but not overload. There’s not a lot of forensic analysis either. Mayor has produced a more rambling, move slowly type of story. But that’s OK. In an Archer Mayor book it’s the characters that carry the story, not necessarily to murder. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Oct 19, 2015 |
The latest case for the Vermont Bureau of Investigation puts Joe Gunther squarely in the middle of a case involving Governor Gail Zigman. Tourists have found her close friend and confidante, state senator Susan Raffner, murdered and left hanging from the steel retaining mesh fronting the cliffs alongside the interstate. Thus Joe and his team find themselves involved in a challenging investigation made more difficult by a media blitz of publicity.

Some startling revelations come to light as the team delves into the murdered woman’s life, but when a break finally comes, it reveals an elaborate frame and leaves Joe, Willy, Sammie, and Lester wondering exactly what turned the senator into the target of a murderer.

As the suspense builds, readers will find much to appreciate in this satisfying twenty-sixth Joe Gunther tale. With more plot twists and turns than a rugged Vermont mountain road, this fast-paced story will grab the reader and keep those pages turning as it races along to its unexpected final reveal.

Highly recommended. ( )
  jfe16 | Sep 8, 2015 |
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