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The Company She Kept: A Joe Gunther Novel    by Archer Mayor order for
Company She Kept
by Archer Mayor
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2016 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Company She Kept is the twenty-sixth in Archer Mayor's police procedural series that features the state of Vermont, as well as the ever rational Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team. Sharing the limelight with Joe are prickly, one-armed Willy Kunkle and his more balanced, tough wife Sammie.

It's winter in Vermont and a state senator, Susan Raffner, is brutally murdered, and left 'dangling halfway down a cliff.' The fact that she's also a close friend and associate of governor Gail Zigman ramps up the pressure on Joe and his team to quickly close the case. But the investigation goes nowhere fast (after a red herring detour that results in a death) until Sam (with Willy in tow) goes off the reservation pursuing a drug lead.

Series fans know well that this is an unusual action for Sam. It springs from her feelings of humiliation over a previous disastrous case in which she went undercover as a local drug dealer and got too close for comfort to her supposed partner, the smart and urbane Manuel Ruiz. They meet again in this episode and I expect there will be more interactions to follow.

But back to this investigation. Sam and Willy follow the weed trail until it peters out. And after several red herrings, the solution hinges on thorough policing ... and a gum wrapper. I always enjoy spending time in Vermont with Joe Gunther and his associates and I'm looking forward to their next case.

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