I'm not a fan. Nothing happened in the first 150 pages except to establish, ad nauseam, the existence of a cobrador. Determined to finish despite my lack of enthusium I plodded to the end. I wanted more engagement to the characters, not blind devotion to the author.
Disappointing, using a "scary thing" as the crux of the story. Slow moving and repetitive with how Gamache "felt." The story was not captivating in any way unlike her first books.
One of the things I enjoy so much about a Louise Penny book is the way she incorporates her research into her books. An example is Beautiful Mysteries, which is about silent monks who make Gregorian chants a central part of their faith and worship. I became aware of the depth of her immersion into the research when she noted that the monks’ silence awakened them to an awareness of minuscule expressions and the thoughts they conveyed. That is not something she learned from Wikipedia. (This is as opposed to The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about a girl from a hill tribe in China, Akha. When I looked up Akha, I found an entry that included all the beliefs and practices that were related in the book. I got no insights that would have come from someone having actual experienced living those beliefs and practices.)
Anyway, the thing that was so interesting in Glass Houses was the Cobrador. It is derived from the Spanish practice involving El Cobrador del Frac — a debt collector in a top hat who follows the debtor around silently, with the aim of shaming him/her into paying the debt. Penny created something different and more sinister by claiming it to be an ancient practice, and by making its purpose be to collect on moral and ethical debts as well as financial. I was disappointed to learn that she made that part up, and like the book a little less when I learned it was not true. I know; that’s not really fair.
I've read this entire series. The early books were quite good (at least in my memory) but the last few have become overly cutesy, stuck in the same repetitive motifs, and verging on silly. This is the worst of the lot with surface characterizations and overly convoluted hackneyed plot lines. Any character descriptions and insights are repeated and repeated and repeated.......I begin to suspect Penny has a Three Pines program and just slots in new sentences here and there. I doubt I will read another.
I really enjoy her books. While reading the 1st one, I thought it was more of a young readers book. Found myself by going back for another. Then another. Fell in love with Armand, Henri, the city of Quebec, and the Eastern townships all over again. Her books may not have you biting you nails while perched on the edge of your seat, but they are very enjoyable reads. Keep writing, my dear Ms Penny. And thank you!
This is a good addition to the series. Certainly recommended to series readers but probably not to "outsiders". For those who are tired of the citizens of Three Pines it's probably time to stop reading but to those of us who fantasize about living there it's wonderful. This is a drugs story as well as a murder mystery. I thought that aspect was very timely since the opioid epidemic is front and center of the news almost daily.
A new book by Louise Penny is always a treat. This is not the best or the worst of them. It has all the usual characters and themes, but the vaguely threatening thing seemed a bit forced, and the plotline with Gamache's police business I didn't particularly enjoy. You could read this without previous books : you probably don't appreciate the village characters unless you've read a couple of previous books because their token appearances don't go into depth this time, and there's mild spoilers for previous books since those characters are (or aren't) still alive. Still recommend the book!
This is Hillary Clinton's favourite author, and the reason that
the Clintons holidayed in Quebec recently.
I liked the book and I've read all of the series. I read these because they are pure escape for me. However, this time I thought the book would never come to an end. For fun I checked a couple of her books 312 and 320 pages - this book clocks in at 400. Reading the book I wondered if she was now copying Scandinavian mysteries because the ones I've read are quite wordy. This book could have done with a little more editing. I also wasn't wild about the drug story in general. Yes, drugs are everywhere but when I read the Gamache series I just want to enjoy the company of everyone at the Bistro with a little murder thrown in.
Another terrific Gamache novel. I enjoyed the split time line which wove in and out of the testimony Gamache gives in the summer about events the previous November. Without giving too much away, I have to say I don't always love the way Penny describes people on drugs, as though all drugs have the same effect and all addicts turn into monsters. Or the idea that a war on drugs can ever truly be "won." Other than these minor points this is another great story that uses repeated imagery and language to pull together the threads that are more like fuses, drawn into one explosive climax. If you already like this series this installment will not disappoint.
Louise Penny just keeps getting better and better. Her writing has become much tighter and certainly more suspenseful. Like previous comments, I usually shy away from books using flashbacks, but, for the most part, Penny does this well. The dialogue still needs a little cleaning up and Ruth, well, you can't help but love her.
Louise Penney just does not disappoint! Can't wait for the next one to come
One of my least favorite writing styles involves flashbacks or alternative chapters with different points of view. In this novel, these techniques meld into the story line. Often I felt a little left out of the details about what had happened. However, these are slowly revealed, but always, it seemed, amidst a cover of obscurity, something Penny is good at. Readers may guess who is to blame, after all the list of characters is few, but only Penny could supply their motives. The plot revolves around drugs - suppliers, sellers, victims - and the on going efforts of the police to stop this growing illicit trade. As the novel comes to the end, the tension and action increase. It is then that the book becomes a page turner. Best not to leave too much down time between readings as some of the important details will escape from memory.
What I find annoying about Penny's novels are her frequent use of words that don't form sentences and short words given a paragraph format - a seemingly popular writing style adopted by several American authors of thriller novels. Any paragraph with Ruth's name in it I just skim over quickly as it is "fill material".
A tiny bit repetitive and could do without the oui, non, merci and désolé peppered about, but perhaps they added color. It helps to start a list of characters for referencing. All in all, a great read by a fine mystery writer, written at a very difficult time for her personally. Worth your reading time!
In this tightly plotted mystery, the 13th Gamache novel, Louise Penny, has created a story within a story, and it’s not until the violent end that the reader learns why the murder trial testimony is played out the way it is. Sure, there are hints through the book, but Penny crafts such a well-planned book, that few readers will understand the situation before Penny explains it.
I love this series and this is one of the best. Louise Penny never disappoints.
Not even close to the best book in the series. I'm tired of hearing about the Gamache's animal, Ruth's duck and Clara's hair. Much too much filler in this novel. The plot had the usual twists and turns of a Penny novel. Too much foul language when not necessary. Not sure I'll read another of her books.
This is one of the best in the series. I would echo what others have said, this is not the title to begin with, if you are new to the series. It really is best to begin with the first in the series. I’m sure the author and her editor would say that you don’t *have to* read the books in order, but it certainly is easier if you do.
One of my favourite authors! She weaves together a crime novel and a cast of characters that almost defy description but are made to come alive in her books. I've read them all, and loved them all. In this one, however, I found it a little too hard to "suspend belief" . It was a little over the top.
Still, I can't wait to meet Armand, Reine Marie, Gabri and the gang again next year!
An absolutely wonderful novel. It has a plot with a murder, guilt, courtroom drama and justice hopefully being served not by the courts but by 'the court of conscience' which supersedes all other courts and a final heroic battle with the drug cartels. Gamache, never losing sight of his goal and his very ambitious plan to "burn the ships", develops a complex and brave strategy and puts his entire career and life in jeopardy with some startling results. One of Penny's best novels, suspenseful and an amazing finale.
I love Louise Penny's books and this one didn't disappoint. It kept me guessing all the way through. My only disappointment, and it is slight, there wasn't much story devoted to the townspeople. That is one of my favorite aspects of her novels.