Hardly a day goes by when nine-year-old Laurent Lepage doesn't cry wolf. From alien invasions to walking trees to winged beasts in the woods to dinosaurs spotted in the village of Three Pines, his tales are so extraordinary no one can possibly believe him. Including Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, who now live in the little Quebec village.
But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true.
And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth. What they uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, leads to an old crime, leads to an old betrayal. Leads right to the door of an old poet.
And now it is now, writes Ruth Zardo. And the dark thing is here.
A monster once visited Three Pines. And put down deep roots. And now, Ruth knows, it is back.
Armand Gamache, the former head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, must face the possibility that in not believing the boy, he himself played a terrible part in what happens next.
©2015 Three Pines Creations, Inc. (P)2015 Macmillan Audio
"As Louise Penny explains in the introduction to her newest Chief Inspector Gamache mystery, Robert Bathurst had much to live up to when he was selected to succeed longtime narrator Ralph Cosham, who passed away last year. She listened to hundreds of candidates before selecting the British actor, best known to American audiences from "Downton Abbey." Be assured that her choice was right. Bathurst's pleasant light baritone and sensitive pacing suit the thoughtful series..." (AudioFile)
History, historical fiction and mysteries are my faves, but a fan of all genres.
Takes a while to get used to a new voice and the experience is different but that is to be expected. Story is excellent as per usual and really wish I good visit 3 Pines....maybe some small Quebec town will be in for a name change soon....;). I still recommend.
The story was disjointed, it didn't flow as most of the Gamache books do, and seems to have departed from the usual depiction of the characters. I added a star after listening to the interview with Ms.Penny at the end. Calling the rocket launcher a "big gun" was preposterous and amateurish, until I read that the story was based in fact! There really was a Project Babylon, the "supergun" weapon was really called a big gun! So I added the star.
But I really didn't care for the story. It hopped around among the characters, added a murder, touched a few wars - WW11, Vietnam, Iraq, sprinkled in some political notes - draft dodgers receiving asylum in Canada (with the aid of Ruth and Monsieur Belleveau no less - and was hard to follow. For that reason it also tended to lose my interest.
I also question whether or not Gamache is going in a new direction: does he perceive himself as having retired from the Surete because he lost his nerve? The story seems to suggest that he does, particularly in the passages where he's talking to the female spy.
Also, I couldn't understand what was so terrifying about the prisoner. The reason was never really presented, unless I missed it. What the reader sees is the Three Pines contingent of the Surete trembling as if he was Satan incarnate, but why? All he has to do is look at Gamache, and Gamache shakes in his shoes! Is this part of Gamache' new direction? It seemed uncharacteristic for the character up to this point.
Robert Bathurst has a tough row to hoe, following Ralph Cosham as the narrator. Bathurst isn't a bad narrator, nor is he a particularly good one, at least, not for this series. He doesn't do characters much, and when he does, they are harsh and rather guttural. Ruth and Gamache sounded the same in my ear. Where was Jean Guy Beauvoir? Because of the narraotor's style, Jean Guy was almost lost in the telling. The repetition of the discovery and presence of the "big gun" in sleepy Three Pines in his voice actually got on my nerves. Also, his British accent just was too jarring, it didn't fit either Canada or Quebec.
I hope another narrator is hired for the next book.
So, overall, despite the factual underpinnings for the story, this is the only book in the series that I didn't really enjoy, and was glad to finish. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone as an entree into Three Pines.
Long time married couple who share this subscription and find it enriches our conversations. We listen while commuting, cooking, working out, and often drifting off to sleep!
Page turner, maybe overwrought
This narrator does not, from my perspective, understand Three Pines or the people who live there, We need someone who loves the place, the people, not someone who understands Shakespearian overstatement
In the sense it was a page turner.
I am an Inspector Gamache fan. I have listened to the entire series. In the introduction to this latest novel Louise Penny introduces the new narrator for the series. She says they did a thorough search for the replacement for Ralph Cosham, who sadly passed away. I say look harder. Robert Bathurst is a terrible choice and nearly ruined the story for me. I read the second half of the book rather than listened.. He was annoying, read to fast and made no attempt to characterize voices. The story is another good one for fans but my advice is to read it and spare yourself the disappointment.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
The storyline is certainly not what I have come to expect from Louise Penny. Three Pines is as much or more a part of the story as usual, but the tie to war armaments and Saddam Hussain is unexpected. Still, the book is quite good and should please Louise Penny fans.
Due to his death last year Ralph Cosham is no longer Penny's narrator. Robert Bathurst does a nice job, but the voice of some of the characters is different from Cosham's.
If there were any better, well developed characters in a series, I cannot find them. I have enjoyed every single book and this one does not fail to keep me tuned in.
This simply cannot be limited to a single character. Throughout the series, each character is fully developed and given palpable weaknesses and strengths that endear them to the reader. Of course, Ruth with her profanity (and duck) always cause me to smile...
Mr. Bathhurst certainly applies himself, but the talents of the previous narrator (who we still mourn), Mr. Ralph Cosham, simply cannot be outdone. Missing are the slight pauses in the dialogue to hold or create tension, the exquisite plasticity of Mr. Cosham's voice as he read for Ruth in that sharp yet mildly tremulous manner, the softness of Madame Gamache, the slightly ditzy but sincere Clara, the strong/deep and calming Myrna. Mr. Bathhurst - please slow down a bit and let the story flow a bit more gently, and let each of the characters have a voice.
Such an amazing author and amazing series - I look forward to the next!
With Ralph Cosham, audio edition a great experience. New narrator gets in the way.
Typical Three Pines plot. These aren't really thrillers. More about the characters and they remain interesting.
Maybe if matched with the right book. His stiff, plummy British voice, with little distinction among characters, is out of place. His Gamache is no longer the kind, easy-going French Canadian. He's been turned into a cardboard tough guy. I don't think that's who he is supposed to be.
I love Louise Penny's books. A lot! I always pre-order her next book as soon as it's available. Her writing style, humo(u)r, and stories are brilliant. This book highlights all those things but I don't feel as in love with it as I have all the previous books.
I'm sure some of it has to do with the new narrator. I didn't hate him and I know it's impossible to recreate Ralph Cosham's magnificent work. But it wasn't the same and that took a lot of getting used to. I'm not sure I'm used to it even now.
The story was different. Much darker and deeper and disturbing. It's no spoiler to say it starts with the death of a child. That's always disturbing. There are world-wide consequences of what Gamache and the others find as a result of this child's death. Sadaam Hussein in a Three Pines story? Never expected that!
I had a hard time listening to this for any length of time. I was only able to listen in small doses because there was so much to comprehend. I usually finish these within a few days.
The characters are Penny's wonderful gift to us. The narration made them a bit "off" but that may change over time if Bathurst is kept as the reader. I agree with other reviewers that his depiction of Ruth was most difficult to accept.
This book was worth reading, of course. Not everything has to be part of a formula and I'm glad Louise Penny veered in a slightly different direction with this. It wasn't my favrorite but I'm anxiously awaiting the next book to learn about the next chapter in the lives of the residents of Three Pines.
And the last night was fantastic!
I have every Inspector Gamache Audible production. I also have read every book before I listen to the audio production. In this case I am so glad I do so as I am not sure I would have bought this book had I not. The book is wonderful, the audio production is not. Replacing Ralph Cosham would be a very difficult task. However, this is awful. The accent is so overly British it has no Canadian flavor. The voice is too high. The characters all sound as if I am listening to A Christmas Carol. I hope they will consider other narrators. I doubt I will order any more as this ruins a wonderful story.
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