The demolition of the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor discloses a 40-year-old corpse and a mess of industrial-strength criminal waste for Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation to clean up.
Sharon Mitchell and her children always assumed that Henry ‘Hank’ Mitchell had simply run out on them. Both before and after her husband vanished, Sharon spurned the advances of his boss, Robert “B.B.” Barrett, the owner of Ridgeline Roofing. She might as well have capitulated, since Hank’s spent the past 40 years encased in the cement slab holding up the reactor. When Vermont Yankee is decommissioned and demolished, Hank’s suddenly back in the headlines. So is Ridgeline Roofing, especially after someone places three .22 slugs in a tight pattern in B.B.’s chest. The person of interest Joe’s most interested in is Johnny Lucas, Hank’s replacement as B.B.’s No. 2 man at Ridgeline. But Lucas has retreated to a gated compound and indicated that he has no interest in talking to the police. So Joe’s colleague Willy Kunkle, who’s long had a don’t-ask-don’t-tell relationship with offbeat burglar Dan Kravitz, politely asks him to sneak into Lucas’ place and take a look around. The law of unintended consequences takes over, and not just for the characters: Part 2 of this tale abruptly takes off in a new direction, with cat-and-mouse suspense replacing the procedural inquiries of Part 1.
Veteran Mayor (The Company She Kept, 2015, etc.) has no trouble making the two very different parts of his story work well on their own, but even he can’t make them mesh very convincingly.