I've listened to well over 200 audiobooks and I like a good detective story. Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache ranks for me far above the jaded, violent, tormented creations in modern detective fiction that seem so much to be the current fashion.
The Inspector Gamache stories have evolved to be about more then just "the case". The lives of the villagers in 3 Pines have become as much part of any new installment of the series then the hunt for the murderer, especially in this installment. That gives the books an additional dimension, no silly filler stuff, no gratuitous violence or almost laughable sexual encounters to keep the readers interested between the different steps of the investigation, but sweet, sad, intelligent, stupid, infuriating, and because of all that interesting characters, exist in the space "between" and around the actual case story.
Ralph Cosham has become, at least in my ears, very much the voice of Gamache. In a way he has become as much the voice of the stories then George Guidall simply is Walt Longmire in the Craig Johnson series (another series that, while it is a very different environment, I believe you will like if you like Inspector Gamache) .
The story is really good and held my attention. Being of northern European origin I enjoyed especially the quite realistic portrait of the danish police force. However, the attempt to use danish accents was very odd to put it mildly, especially since it obviously caused Erik Davies quite an effort to do so, which left him narrating while running out of breath and getting a bit squeaky with the female voices.
On the other hand, the narration made me giggle a couple of times at places in the story that weren't funny, and that wasn't bad at all since the story has otherwise very little humor.
The Tapestry Trilogy was the only story by Guy Gavriel Kay that I had not read yet.
Because I really like all his other stories I own them in hardcover as well as audio, I don't quite understand what has happened to me with this one. It started with a figure rising out of a lake ... the description of the situation and the figure itself struck me as so, well, ludicrous, that I started to giggle. Then in the middle of a dramatic scene (tragic young man suffering heroically while tied to a tree) I found myself laughing out loud.
I don't know if it is intended, but the story is in part so ridiculously overdrawn that it strikes me almost, but not quite, like a parody of the fantasy genre ... the names are hilarious, the people behave a little strange and two dimensional, and the story hurtles forward with evil on steroids in the background (he does not burst forth, crumbles the mountain, or darkens the sun, or any such ... no, it blows the top off the world when evil makes its entrance into the story!).
I will finish it, and I probably will purchase the other two parts also ... just because.
I liked it, and I will purchase the next one in the series when it comes out. With that Justin Cronin has done what he likely enough, set out to do when he wrote this book, he hooked a reader into his story.
I usually do not read vampire books because I do not like the genre and I purchased this one (like other reviewers) because of Stephen King's recommendation. While I do not like all of Stephen King's books, he is still one of my all time favorite writers, and his opinions on the writings of another author appear rarely enough to still matter to me.
The book could have benefited from some additional editing, some passages were a bit very drawn out in my opinion (but there is that handy double speed button on my IPod for such instances), that is why I deducted one star. But the characters are well fleshed out and engaging, and I for one want to know how the story continues.
A wonderful, terrifying and yet magical world wrapped in a engaging story of one long summer. It kept the earphones glued to my head for a whole weekend. The narration does the book justice; the characters and the storyline come fully alive. Well worth your credit!
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