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A Better Man: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

Chief Inspector Gamache/Three Pines Series, Book 15
Narrated by: Robert Bathurst
Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,146 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2019 Amazon.com Best Books of the Year

"Robert Bathurst's intelligent narration captures every nuance, every emotion, and each of Louise Penny's subtle revelations about the unique, completely engaging residents of Three Pines." (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner)

Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Sûreté du Québec in the latest novel by number one New York Times best-selling author Louise Penny.

It’s Gamache’s first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter.

As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.

Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel..., he resumes the search.

As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.

In the next title in this "constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves" (New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question.

What would you do if your child’s killer walked free?

©2019 Three Pines Creations, Inc. (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Enchanting...one of his most ennobling missions." (Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review)

"With an uncompromising eye, Penny explores the depths of human emotion, both horrifying and sublime. Her love for her characters and for the mystical village of Three Pines is apparent on every page." (Publishers Weekly starred review)

"The appeal of this series and especially of Gamache himself has always been Penny's ability to show her hero moving from the tangible, brutal facts of murder to the emotions within, the stories in the blood. There are multiple stories, often contradictory, to be found in the many-tentacled web of human tragedy and suffering that Gamache teases to the surface in this moving exploration of ties that both bind and destroy." (Booklist starred review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Gamache has become predictable

I loved the previous Gamache novels. Unfortunately, this one is tired and predictable. Gamache, as always, carries guilt, which I find boring. A little guilt is fine, but guilt over everything's is just plain boring. The story doesn't capture my imagination and the continuous "GET GAMACHE" from his supervisors is dragging the entire story down.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I never want to leave Three Pines.

Clichéd though it may be, to say it, finishing a Louise Penny book is like leaving home. Yes, sometimes Armand and Renne-Marié are a bit too saintly, not to mention omniscient. That said, I cherish the good people of Three Pines, even when they do the wrong things. The mysteries are well-plotted, and the frisson of danger to Gamache because of corrupt officials is well-played. I look forward to my next hot chocolate at the Bistro. But I'll never understand the licorice pipes!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not My Favorite

The series seems to be getting pretty dark. The constant attempt to diminish Gamache is getting so old that this has taken over the entire series. And now Clara has also become a target...it is just getting to dire. Where Three Pines used to be a magical place, the residents all seem to be suffering from a never ending depressive malaise. Always looked forward to the next book in this series but not at all sure that I will spend a credit on the next one. I do however appreciate this narrator and the difficult time he had overcoming his fabulous predecessor.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Tiring

I did not find this as compelling as the ones before. The story too forever to unfold as the officers talked it over and over and over and over. The domestic violence issue is important but the story turned into a melodrama, continually referring to the officers' thinking of their own families over and over and over. Still love the characters and the place not the story, not so much.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic novel in a fantastic series!!

Karin Slaughter and Louise Penny released modern detective series novels on consecutive weeks one based in Georgia and the other in Quebec. Life is good! I'm hard pressed to say which is better because both are a close to perfect as possible. A BETTER MAN is Book 15 in Louise Penny's Gamache/Three Pines series which is set in Quebec province of Canada especially in the small hamlet of Three Pines which is just north of the Vermont border. Armand Gamache is getting a bit long in the tooth but he is as sharp as ever. Frankly the publisher's summary tells too much. The incomparable Ralph Coshan narrated the first 10 novels in the Three Pines series. After Cosham's death Robert Bathurst took over series narration. Bathurst is not as good as Cosham but he easily earns 5 stars.

Each novel in this series stands alone quite well, but to appreciate the wonderful job author Penny has done with the development of the quirky Three Pines characters (and the less quirky ones) listening to some of the earlier series novels is recommended. If you have not done so in the past you owe it to yourself to give Louise Penny a try.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another fantastic novel, but....

I never tire of the characters of Three Pines. I’ve read the whole series. The sense of humor is so witty and the plot so interesting that I can’t wait for the next book to come out.

Louise Penny brings to the reader great insight into the emotional lives of the characters.
One suggestion; take a break from the conspiracy theories and paranoia of the upper echelon of the Surete du Quebec. The murder investigations themselves are fascinating. The plot doesn’t always need a corrupt leader under every rock. Maybe just under every other rock?

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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What Happened?

I'm a HUGE Louise Penny/Inspector Gamache fan. I will continue to be a HUGE fan. However, this book will play no roll in contributing to my enthusiasm. The story lines were thin, and repetitive. It's time to move away from the story line of everyone having it in for Inspector Gamache. And, although there will never be another Ralph Cosham, until "A Better Man..." Robert Bathurst was an acceptable narrator. But, his representation of the new characters in this book was truly difficult to listen to. In fact, his take on Ruth has always made me cringe. I still look forward to the next installment of this series. Louise Penny is truly a gifted writer who produces intellectually rich and interesting characters.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Becoming stale

It is time to stop beatifying Gamache and work on rounding out some of the other characters a bit more. What makes Three Pines so special is the interplay between its residents. Saint Gamache is a bit too perfect. I would like to read more about the more down to earth folks like Myrna, Ruth, Claire, Gabri, Olivier, and Rene-Marie.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Disappointing and redundant

After 14 books, the readers well know the denizens of Three Pines. We didn't need the old descriptions repeated over and over. Too many details felt tired and unnecessary. Bathhouse's interpretation was contrived to the point of seeming condescending. He reads the story as if to children. The story was at times intriguing, but Penny over-explains points that are already obvious. The narration did not bode well for several two dimensional characters who were so stereo typed that we cannot wait to be rid of them. Overall, this was certainly not the best in the series. Surely, we hope there will be another, but next time, perhaps the reader may be given a little credit for having some insight.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Tired Old Village

As much as I fell in love with Three Pines when I read the first of Louise Penny's Gamache mystery books, I've gotten extraordinarily tired of this series - tired of platitudes being repeated over and over again, tired of the cranky old rude poet, tired of hearing about videos and Gamache's heroism, and so tired of Reine-Marie and Armand sappy emotions, And did I mention that I'm tired of the tired old platitudes? Three Pines needs a good cleaning and more people need to just head to Paris.

I had hoped the early characters would be developed in interesting ways and we'd spend much more time with them. Instead we're taken to exhausting meetings at the Surete du Quebec headquarters. I'm beyond caring if Aramand is the head of it all - and so is Armand! Reine Marie is just a new form of Martha Stewart, sadly never developed beyond that. Ruth and Clara are doing the same schtick they've done for ten books. Gabri is tirelessly stoking fires and serving croissants. Three Pines is a tired old village. Part of me was hoping the flood would sweep it away, anticipating some fresh rebuilding.

Some of Penny's writing is so transporting, for example her description of waiting for winter to end in the north. She had me enraptured. Then she went right back to the same formula - and gave us the four rules for wisdom once again and again. It's as if she's telling us "I don't know" what to write about anymore. I hope Penny packs up the Latin, all the rulesy wisdom, and finds some real interest for this series. And please don't bring anyone back from Paris!

26 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Laura Læselykke
  • 09-04-19

my second least favorite of the series

I preordered this book three month before the release date. I was looking so much forward to it, I spend a book's time in Three Pines every year and have done so for many years. Personally I felt that the quotes and sayings were mentioned too often in this book, I was also a bit disapointed by the story and a little annoyed by all the feelings and thoughts in the story, a part I normally love, but here it feels fake and constructed, I think I also missed more story about Clara the painter. That being said I will of course be joining the friends in Three Pines again as soon as I possibly can.
(The beautiful mysterie is my least favorite book in the series) and all the rest of the series I give 5 stars!