Why haven't I heard about Louise Penny before? I absolutely love her storytelling. Distinctive characters portrayed with wit and insight into the human condition, a sense of community and place that made me feel I was there (and wanted to be there), a story line that kept me happily tuned in and guessing. My only negative was the narrator. I know, I know--everyone else gives him five stars. But initially I had a dickens of a time "hearing" him and figuring out which of the characters was speaking. I even tried listening to the audio book at half speed. I think it's the steady cadence of his speech and the fact that he seems to drop the last words of sentences. He seems to "read" rather than to act or portray the characters with different voices. I persevered (glad I did), and towards the last part of the book I began getting used to his style of speaking and could follow him better. I realized this required intense listening, rather than the more casual listening I can do when the narrator is using different, or at least more distinct, voices for each character. Now that I have this down, I may re-listen to the book because I know I missed things in the beginning.
So your in traffic, barely moving but a guy in a pick-up is tailgaiting you. Thank you audible! This book fits nicely in to that category of nice option to nervous breakdown with desire to slam on my breaks with hopes that he comes out worse (these are just thoughts, wouldn't/haven't acted on them). This is like spending time with the quirky part of your family that is fun, occasionally funny, but dependable without too many needs placed upon you. No life changing moments here, just good, solid, likeableness. I do like to make-up words. I like the series mystery where you know everyone, there are the somewhat stock characters,(i'm partial to the curmuggeonly Ruth) whose personality flaws can be overlooked due to their intense loyalty or aptitude with cooking or electronics or other unpleasantness, and the group combined seem to embody all that is needed to cope reasonably successfully with current unforeseen drama. This story is good, like the others, interesting, but no need to stay in the car to see what happens next. I must give high marks for the reader. His voice is an excellent match for the material. Disclosure: I give very few 5 stars, so my 3 could be someone else's 4.5.
I love audio and ebooks but only give them a 5 if they hold my attention. An avereage story gets a 3 . Thrillers & Crime are my favorites.
I have read this whole series and have come to enjoy all the characters. I feel like they are old friends. I do think listening in order is very helpful as this one resolved a number of issues/plot lines that have been developed since the beginning.
I found it highly engrossing as the story progressed. There were really two main themes this time; one was the murder of a woman who was a friend of the residents of Three Pines and the other focused corruption in the police department.
I don't want to write a spoiler, but I loved how it ended. Kudos to Chief Inspector Gamache!
I really hope this was not the last one in the series. Its way too much fun to listen to.
I am new to this series, so I read this book as a novel in its own right with no previous knowledge of the rest of the series. It was a mistake. From the reviews, I had the impression that each of the books could stand on its own, that the characters are truly amazing and unique, and that the plots are witty and intelligent. Although I saw a glimmer of these qualities, I have to say that it was unwise to read this novel on its own. Half the time I could not sort out who all the various characters were and had to consult online book reviews to get them all straight. The book frequently referenced past events which I was obviously not privy to, and so there were many times when I felt that I was fundamentally missing something. And although these factors definitely hampered my listening experience, they are not responsible for my 3 star rating because it was my own fault for listening to Book 9 in the series first. Mea culpa.
The publisher's description of this book is misleading. The major plot concerns a police conspiracy, and the story of the murdered woman is a subplot. The police conspiracy bit was dull, predictable, and and at odds with the subplot in nature and tone - they did not go well together.
The subplot about the murdered woman was engaging, unique, fun, witty, and inspired. I kept listening partly because I so much wanted to know how that storyline would unfold. Had more space been devoted to that story, I think the rest of the book would have been so much more enjoyable.
I had read in the reviews that the supporting cast of characters were unique and fun - and indeed they seemed to be. The problem (from my perspective at least) was that they barely featured in either of the story lines. I did not get a good sense of them, except to glimpse their potential.
Despite my criticisms, I did enjoy aspects of the book. I grew up near the Quebec/Vermont border and the geography and warmth of the story pulled me in and made me sick for home. Ralph Coshom's voice - while clearly aging and halting - reminded me of hearing stories from my grandfather. In spite of my disappointments, this book really touched my sentimental side.
I have just begun listening to the first book in the series, Still Life, as I should have done from the start. Perhaps by the time I work my way up to How the Light Gets In and get more information and a better sense of the characters, my 3 star rating will improve to 4.
Kudos to Ms Penny for an excellent book. From the dual mystery to the intrigue in the life of the main character, the detective Inspector Gamache, the story builds and builds, making it very hard to put down. I usually listen only on my commute, but with this book, I found myself pulling out my headphones and "reading" before going to sleep as well.
It's worth noting that I came to this book because I have read all of the other books in this series, which is based on the charming, yet flawed, Gamache, as well as the villagers living in Three Pines (a place Gamache visits both for business and pleasure). However, this story stands on its own and could be a place for readers unfamiliar with Ms Penny to begin. The primary downside of starting with this one is that you learn the conclusion of a storyline that provides a cliffhanger in a few of the other books earlier in the series.
After eight other books giving voice to these characters, the narrator is flawless, delivering a convincing performance and doing the accents besides (it takes place in Montreal and other parts of Quebec, so there is a nice blend of French and English).
Fantastic, per usual for Louise Penny. And the questions we have had have all been answered.
Definitely should read or listen to the books that preceded this one in order to fully follow the plot!
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
The entire story was well woven and the mystery remained a mystery for a long time.
The characters were people I knew from Louise Penny's previous books and altogether, this was a fabulous listen.
I had no books to compare this other than Louise Penny's previous books, as her writing style and material are uniquely Canadian. I found this the best listen yet of her books, though I loved the one about the monks.
I hate picking favourite scenes- just buy the book and listen.
No, I actually relished coming back to it over and over again.
This author is very talented and I am hooked on her! Inspector Gamache is someone I feel I know. I love Rosa the duck and crazy Ruth.
Addicted to books, both print and audio-.
I hesitated in buying this, because I didn't finish the last Gamache mystery; it just didn't interest me. This one, though, is gripping and nearly impossible to stop listening to. Louise Penny has done a beautiful job of plotting, weaving the two plots together, and cutting back and forth between them. She has struck a great balance of Gamache, the mysteries, and the Three Pines people. I love that Penny continues to develop the Three Pines characters. Going deeper into their pasts, as well as into the characters of Gamache and his team, is a major strength of the series.
This is the first Louise Penny mystery I've listened to; I read the rest of them, except for the last. Ralph Cosham is as close to a perfect narrator for these books as I can imagine. Now, of course, I need to see what else he has done. I love finding a great narrator!
Best Gamache yet!
Constantly! Louise Penny writes so that many possibilities exist for the situations in which the characters find themselves. The suspense builds throughout the book.
Over the course of the series, he has become Gamache to me. Louise Penny's words create the amazing pictures of the characters and Three Pines (also a character) but Gosham brings them to life.
All is not what it appears.
This is one of the best books I have read all year. I cannot recommend it enough. But don't start out reading this book. Start with STILL LIFE and experience the entire series. Louise Penny is brilliant!