Gabriel Ash is a man suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Once he worked for the government, in a behind-the-scenes computer job. But he apparently got too close to something and was warned to stop. When he didn't, he came home to find his wife and children gone. Disappeared without a clue. It's been four years, and he still doesn't know what happened to them or if they are alive.
He has been hanging on to life, just barely. His therapist suggested he get a dog, and the dog is helping him get better. He talks to the dog, and she talks back. It's a wonderful way of presenting someone coping the best he can under tremendous strain. The locals consider him the town idiot, calling him Rambles with Dog, but he's not an idiot. He is a highly intelligent man who has been broken.
Into this same village comes Hazel Best, a young police officer. A young man is beaten to death in a prison holding cell, and Gabriel Ash is the last person he speaks to. Hazel meets Ash in the course of the investigation and realizes that he isn't an idiot. She is the only one who believes him when he says that the youth knew he was going to be killed. Best and Ash get caught up in a conspiracy that reaches deep into the police department hierarchy. As they seek the truth and fear for their lives, they become friends.
Bannister is great at presenting characters of depth and interest, and she has done so again in Deadly Virtues. I can't wait to get started on Perfect Sins, the second book in the series!
The Galesburg Public Library owns 13 titles by Jo Bannister, including Deadly Virtues.