Philadelphia, PA, United States | Member Since 2010
If you are unfamiliar with this series, stop NOW and start with the first book "Still Life." You must read these books in order.
The Chief Inspector Gamache novels are police mysteries that take place in or near a small village in Quebec. (There is a bit of French tossed in, but knowledge of the French language is absolutely not required.) A murder will be solved by the end of the book, and I always enjoy the "mystery" aspect of these books.
But the characters and the complex plots are just as important.
Louise Penny has created a world with characters I know well and care deeply about. She has developed a main character (Armand Gamache) who has quickly become one of my favorites, ever, and I am a life-long reader. And she has woven the intricacies of storyline from book one to book nine (book 10 is about to be released) in such a way that I have to believe she saw the entire tapestry right from the beginning.
Add to these accolades the perfect narrator (Ralph Cosham), and you can see why this series is so special.
These books have EVERYTHING! Excellent writing, humor, drama, fascinating characters, mystery ... Start this series today.
I know very little about WWI and the British world at that time. "Maisie Dobbs" filled in some of that knowledge gap, and for that I am grateful. However, there isn't much of a story here, and the pace is very slow.
I liked the characters, but I didn't love them, and if I never found out what happened to Maisie, that would be OK.
DO NOT READ THIS BOOK (or this review) WITHOUT READING PARTS I AND II FIRST.
I had to reread my reviews of part I and part II before I wrote this one. Of course, because the first two books eventually reveal the truth about the mysterious little town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, "The Last Town" does not have as much tension as the first two book, the tension that comes from doubt: "are the citizens being kept in, or is something being kept out? And why?"
"THE LAST TOWN" is about how the various characters respond to the truth. It also reveals a little bit more about the past lives of this group of people who seem to have been arbitrarily thrown together. I like seeing the final few pieces of the puzzle put into place, so that was satisfying.
A new problem is presented to the townsfolk, and the solution is a BIG surprise. (No spoiler here.) I applaud Blake Crouch's creativity, and I can't wait to watch the TV series that is supposed to air sometime this year on FIX TV.
Louise Penny (author) is truly gifted. She has written a series of books (this is book 8 of 10 ... so far) that intricately and naturally intertwines the lives of a myriad of characters, most of whom I love. She has created a town in Canada where I'd like to live, or at least vacation, and neighbors I'd like to live near. And yet there is always a murder.
Penny explains the number of murders associated with the town and/or with these characters in a way that is credible and interesting. She also has a way of pulling the rug out from under the reader; not in an abrupt way, but by ignoring what are normally accepted rules of story telling. For example - and this is not really a spoiler - in one of the books, a beloved, main character turns out to be the murderer!
Her primary character, Armande Gamache, is a brilliant detective, a man of integrity, and a wonderful husband and father. I miss him in between books.
I cannot recommend this series enough. READ THEM IN ORDER!
This is a good book; not great, not inspired, but good. Solid is the word that keeps coming to mind. I did want to see the good guy catch the bad guy, but I was not mesmerized by the story. There is virtually no suspense, and I LIKE the main character, but I did not love him. If you LOVE police stories and/or mysteries, read the Louise Penny Inspector Gamache stories or the Agent Pendergast books or the Onspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George. IN ORDER!
I would describe "Heft" as a character study laced with sweet sadness. lost opportunity and loneliness. There is a small mystery in the plot, and, of course, hope keeps the characters afloat and drives the story forward.
"Heft" is not at all my usual kind of selection, but I loved it and will remember two of the characters - Arthur Opp and Yolanda - forever.
This is historical fiction. Like other books I have read written by this author ("Exodus" and "Trinity"), "The Haj" educates the reader about real world events through the eyes of fictional characters who lived through those events.
This book's two primary characters are an Arab father and son, living in Palestine when the state of Israel is born. (The story begins at the close of WWII.) Uris's portraits of these two men are exquisite; I would recognize them if I met them!
Additionally, Uris tells the story in a way that manipulates my sympathies for the warring factions MUCH more than I expected, and in a way that brings me joy and heartbreak as the story unfolds.
Without spoiling anything, I will add that this is not a happy story. How could it be? The hatred and violence continue today.
I highly recommend this book. The narrator is fabulous!
I REALLY had high hopes for this book. I love courtroom dramas, and the narrator hooked me from the first few paragraphs.
the story (murder) leaves nothing to the imagination. All is known from the beginning; it is just a question of whether the lawyer can convince others.
The secondary story is a love story that leaves me cold.
Some of the secondary characters are well drawn, but overall, this was a snore.
I love mysteries, whether gruesome or tense or puzzling. I love well-drawn characters and a great story. This book has none of those things.
I figured out much of the "mystery," the characters were dull, many questions were left unanswered, and the narrator was dreadful.
I said this before, and maybe now I'll follow this advice, but I have to stop believing the "audible.com suggestions."
I bought this book because it was an Audible.com recommendation based on my previous purchases of mysteries and thrillers. I will be more careful about this in the future.
The narrator's skill is spotty; some of her accents were perfect, but the way she distinguished between the Boston cops was confusing (unclear) in some cases and embarrassing in others (caricature, cartoonish).
The main character, Sky Stone, is petite, rich, spectacularly beautiful, brilliant, intuitive, brave and a great chef ... blech! Again, unreal to the point of cartoonish. Although a brilliant and experienced police consultant, she agrees to meet a psychopath for dinner alone, never returns a phone call from someone who has urgent information about her case, and never tells her police partners about a dangerous man following her. I can handle a character who acts like a maverick periodically, but her extreme attitude is ridiculous.
Sky and her ex-fiance only scream at each other, but they have sex and live happily ever after. There is not one shred of likability in Jake's (the fiance's) character, and yet he is the guy she wants, and everyone else loves. Why?
The story was convoluted. I love a good mystery with twists and turns, but I object to an author adding information in the last chapter or two. In spite of the last minute add-ons, I still knew who was guilty and how it would all turn out because the story was so obvious and predictable.
Overall, I would say this is a formulaic book. Tiny, beautiful girl is tougher and smarter than the big rough policemen, and she saves the day.
One more comment - look at the cover. It looks like a bad James Bond illustration, and it should have warned me away from this book.
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