Joe Gunther and his team at the Vermont Bureau of Investigation are alerted to a string of unrelated burglaries across Vermont. Someone, in addition to flatscreens, computers, and stereos, has also been stealing antiques and jewelry. Meanwhile, in Boston, an elderly woman surprises some thieves in her Beacon Hill home and is viciously murdered. The Boston police find that not only is the loot similar to what's being stolen in Vermont, but it may have the same destination.
Across Brattleboro, Vermont, rich people (some with dark secrets) are waking up in their high security, alarm-equipped homes to find a Post-it note stuck to their bedside tables reading, “You’re it.” There is little sign of disturbance anywhere, nothing stolen (that anyone admits) and only a bit of expensive food eaten as a signature. The press loves the story and dubs the burglar the Tag Man. But who is he? And what’s he actually doing?
VBI (Vermont Bureau of Investigation) head Joe Gunther and his team are called in to investigate a series of violent deaths that appear unrelated until telltale clues reveal a linkage between them and that all of the deaths are, in fact, murders. However, apart from a single drop of unexplained blood left at each crime scene, there are no obvious connections between the victims or the cases. In the search for the elusive truth, the VBI must plumb the depths of every suspect's past.
Wayne Castine was found brutally murdered and the murderer remains at large. Castine, a suspected child predator, was killed in Brattleboro where he was involved with a tangled network of an extended family living in a local trailer park. Any member of the clan would have had the opportunity to kill him, and, as he was involved with both the mother and her 12 year old daughter, reason to commit the murder.
A deputy sheriff was shot to death during a routine traffic stop on a dark country road. From what can been seen on the cruiser's video recorder of the killers, it is believed that they were a couple of Boston-based drug runners who had been on their way from Canada down to Boston. That's what brings Joe Gunther and his team to the investigation - an attempt to shut down the major drug running operation.
When the body of a fast-living young stockbroker is found in a shallow grave, suspicion first falls on a cuckolded policeman. Lieutenant Joe Gunther investigates the increasingly bizarre details of the crime, but he's too far behind events to prevent a second murder. Indeed, whoever is responsible always seems to be a few steps ahead, as if there's a leak in the police force. Sweltering August heat does nothing to calm the increasingly agitated town selectmen, who demand results.
Lieutenant Joe Gunther is in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom investigating a minor embezzling case. It's a pleasant distraction and a chance to reconnect with old friends, but when a house fire reveals itself to be arson, compounded by murder, Gunther can't help but investigate. He quickly finds himself enmeshed in a web of animosity between put-upon townspeople, the state police, angry parents, and members of a reclusive sect.
During the height of a particularly brutal Vermont winter, a woman's body is found one morning hanging high above the interstate. The woman, found with the word dyke carved on her chest, is quickly determined to be the victim of a brutal murder. That alone is enough to bring in Joe Gunther and his Vermont Bureau of Investigation team.
An apparent accidental death turns out to be only the first of many murders. Ben Kendall was a troubled man. Coming back from Vietnam with PTSD and scars that no one else could see, he hid away from the world, filling his house with an ever-increasing amount of stuff, until finally the piles collapsed and he was found dead, crushed beneath his own belongings. But what on first glance looks to be the tragic accidental death of a hoarder maybe something much more - and much deadlier
Joe Gunther and his team - the Vermont Bureau of Investigation (VBI) - are usually called in on major cases by local Vermont enforcement whenever they need expertise and backup. But after the state is devastated by Hurricane Irene, the police from one end of the state are taxed to their limits, leaving Joe Gunther involved in an odd and seemingly unrelated series of cases. In the wake of the hurricane, a seventeen-year-old gravesite is exposed, revealing a coffin that had been filled with rocks instead of the expected remains.