The Price of Malice
Minotaur, Oct 6 2009, $24.99
In a wannabe hooker’s Brattleboro, Vermont apartment, the battered and shot several times corpse of thirtyish Wayne Castine is found. VBI police detective Joe Gunther leads the investigation by looking into the victim’s life. They find strong evidence that Castine was a sociopath with the most condemning allegation being he was a dangerous pedophile. The team also learns that Castine had an apparent lover who has a tweener daughter.
At the same he works that case, Joe's girlfriend and teammate Lyn Silva finds out more about her lost at sea father and brother; their boat vanished off the Maine coast. While Joe and the rest of the unit dig into the Castine murder, Lyn digs into her family tragedy as she learns her lobstermen family members might have been murdered by drug traffickers.
The two investigations rotate lead with much of the fun is in observing Joe being pulled by both cases, which makes him less effective than usual and somewhat inefficient to the point that his team’s loose cannon Kunkle is simply loose. The story line is not quite at taut as a typical Gunther Vermont police procedural. However it is as fast-paced and exciting as any series entry because of the hero’s somewhat unproductive balancing act as one inquiry has a host of happy people with Castine’s death and the other is personal with Lyn in the middle.