Louise Penny is one of my favorite fiction authors at this point. I can’t think of another author that has managed to keep my attention 16 books into a series. I am been reading far too few fiction books lately. There are many reasons for that, but I do believe that fiction is essential. It is how we understand parts of the world that are not our own as well, giving words to help us make sense of the elements of the world that are our own. I was thrilled that Netgalley has started offering audiobook to review. I was desperate for a change of pace, and while a crime thriller isn’t what I would call relaxing, it was the change of pace I needed. I finished the 14-hour audiobook in three days. I would not recommend jumping into the 16th book in the series; there are too many details that you will miss.
Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie are visiting their two children and their families, both of whom now live in Paris. Armand inherited a small apartment from the woman that raised him after his parents died when he was 9. And his godfather, recently introduced in the past couple books, also has an apartment here. His godfather is now a mostly retired 95-year-old billionaire who was once an impoverished German teen who reportedly worked with the French underground during WWII. Through his excellent business sense and a sense of justice, Stephen Horowitz brought down companies and became wealthy.
Walking home from a family dinner, celebrating being together as a family and impending birth, Gamache sees, but cannot stop, a hit and run accident that Gamache believes intentionally targeted Horowitz. That starts a series of events that are not only personal because of his relationship to Horowitz, but events that seem to be deliberately targeting his gathered family.
Louise Penny writes mysteries that are intentionally psychological. These are about what is happening inside Gamache and others. The books attempt to see the darkness that lies inside all of us, but also explores what character means. These are not mysteries that you try to figure out; although there are plenty of clues dropped, a number of them are false ones.
This is a series that I have mostly listened to on audiobook. The original narrator, Ralph Cosham, passed away between the 10th and 11th books, and Robert Bathurst, I think, has done an excellent job coming into the series late into the game. I continue to believe these books are as good now as the early books, which is unusual in my mind for a long series. And my only real complaint is that I think the crimes tend to be too big and the bigness of them can be distracting at times.