Archer Mayor’s THE COMPANY SHE KEPT opens with Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation called in to investigate an especially brutal crime: A woman’s corpse has been found hanging high above the interstate with a homophobic slur carved into it. The victim is soon identified as not only a state senator, but also as a close confidante of Governor Gail Zigman, and the publicity swirling around the crime starts to impede the VBI’s investigation.
Gunther, who is also close with Gail and who knew the victim, follows up on the initial clues, which point to a violent misogynist who, it turns out, doesn’t have a direct link to the killing. With the VBI’s investigators looking into every lead, including the victim’s personal life, Gunther begins to see that the killing may be something other than a hate crime. And whatever the reasons are for the murder, its reverberations will be felt across the state.