Sweeping through Joe Gunther’s Vermont, Hurricane Irene leaves a lot more damage in her wake than power outages and floods.
It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good. Caspar Luard, the halfwit repeat criminal who’s being transported by a pair of cops not much brighter than him, is lucky: He doesn’t get drowned when they drive their cruiser into a puddle a little too deep. Carolyn Barber, the Vermont State Hospital patient whom everyone calls “the Governor” in reference to a years-ago, cooked-up publicity stunt that made her governor for a day, might seem even luckier: During the evacuation of her psychiatric ward, she gets separated from her caretakers, enters the warren of tunnels beneath the hospital and is seen no more. Joe’s ex-lover Gail Zigman, the state’s governor, comes out less lucky: She’s caught in a serious political bind after she fields an offer from right-wing activist Harold LeMieur, of Catamount Industrial, to provide direct assistance to families who aren’t eligible for FEMA loans or can’t wait for them. Unluckiest of all are Carolyn’s sister Barbara, Barb’s son William Friel, and ex–State Senator Gorden Marshall, all of them found dead under variously suspicious circumstances, in ways that make Joe and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation squad (Paradise City, 2012, etc.) wonder how much longer Carolyn’s got before her number comes up too. Nor can Joe forget Herb Rozanski, whose coffin Hurricane Irene reveals has actually been nothing but a box of rocks for 27 years. Wonder what he’s been doing in the meantime?
A deft mix of storm stories, political shenanigans, small-town procedural stuff and some pretty shocking buried secrets. One of Joe’s best.