The man lies dead in the middle of the railroad tracks, head and hands amputated by an onrushing freight train. Dressed in tattered clothes, he looks like a vagrant. |
Yet Gunther is suspicious. Why would a bum in dirty rags wear crisp white underwear? And what's with the odd sores, which, according to the lab boys, come from exposure to toxic chemicals rather than poor hygiene? Gunther's doubts are soon confirmed when an abandoned vehicle turns up north of town leaking hazardous materials. Several witnesses surface, and all vouch that they saw three men in a dark sedan with no lights or visible license plates, and that the victim looked dead, drugged, or unconscious. None of them heard so much as a single sound. Not a shout. Not a shot. Nothing.
Even as Gunther begins to investigate, another grisly slaying rocks Brattleboro. First a thirtyish woman is savagely knifed to death. Then an anonymous phone call links a local politician to both the woman's murder and the killing on the rails.
At a loss, Gunther is reminded of an old philosophical adage-Occam's razor-which advises that too many theories can muddle clear thinking. But clarity's hard to achieve when you're grappling with homicides, an excess of crossover witnesses, and a grab bag of sleazy lowlifes, ruthless blackmail, a mysterious woman, and a political contest driven by a poisonous thirst for power that would do the Borgias proud.