The Company She Kept: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series) by Archer Mayor


Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Company She KeptThis is a first time read for me by this author and I was pleasantly surprised. He really keeps the story moving, holding the reader’s interest all the way to the end. And I mean ALL the way to the end. Doubt that more than 2 percent of those reading this one will figure out who the murderer is until the last chapter. Great job.

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A man and his wife out taking pictures in the mountains alongside the Connecticut River find a purse lying on the ground that appears to be dropped by someone who was there prior to them. They start looking around to see what else is perhaps there and whoa! Looking up the side of the cliff beside their walkway is a woman’s body hanging from a rope. The rope was entangled in the wire mesh that was being used as a preventative curtain to keep the cliff from breaking apart and falling below.

Joe Gunther, a squad leader for the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, receives a phone call from Gail Zigman, governor of Vermont. She and Joe had been a romantic duo some years before and shortly after she had been raped. And also before she had become a politician and then become the governor. Gail tells Joe that Susan Raffner was the woman that had just been found on the mountainside and rather going through the normal channels Gail wants Joe to get into the investigation immediately.

Joe knew that Gail and Susan had been sidekicks forever having started out in politics together shortly after Joe and Gail had broken off their relationship. What he didn’t know was that Gail and Susan was a romantic pair. He had known from earlier meetings with Susan that she was gay but he didn’t realize that Gail had also chosen to follow that path. Regardless of his past feelings or current ones he immediately gets his group of investigators together and begins searching for the killer.

Joe’s group like in most stories is a mixed bag of tricks. One is an older guy who is a long time detective as well as former army sniper. He is married to Joe’s closest sidekick and although they haven’t been married overly long they do have a young baby. Those two are somewhat different as Willy, the guy, is pretty hard-nosed and set in his ways which quite often gives Joe and yes even gives Sammie, his wife, some problems. She however is learning more and more about the investigating business by being so close to Joe and Willy.

Many things happen as the investigation rolls along. As usual there are bad guys and also as usual anymore there are drugs involved. In actuality Wily and Sammie probably do as much in finding clues and narrowing suspects as does Joe.

Overall a really great read with no out and out sex and very little profanity. This was my first book of Mayor’s to read but I guarantee it will not be the last. He is good!!