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The Nature of the Beast

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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. But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have bee 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. 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. A monster once visited Three Pines. And put down deep roots. And now, it is back.


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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. But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have bee 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. 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. A monster once visited Three Pines. And put down deep roots. And now, it is back.

30 review for The Nature of the Beast

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    Three Pines, Quebec is a town that should emanate peace and tranquility. But seriously, this town must have the highest per-capita murder rate in all of Canada! Yet I’d still move there in a heartbeat! Even in retirement, Armand Gamache can’t escape the intrigue of a murder investigation. And certainly not - now that it’s right at his front door, here in lovely Three Pines. When a young boy is hit by a car and left for dead on the side of the road, Armand knows there may be more to this than a si Three Pines, Quebec is a town that should emanate peace and tranquility. But seriously, this town must have the highest per-capita murder rate in all of Canada! Yet I’d still move there in a heartbeat! Even in retirement, Armand Gamache can’t escape the intrigue of a murder investigation. And certainly not - now that it’s right at his front door, here in lovely Three Pines. When a young boy is hit by a car and left for dead on the side of the road, Armand knows there may be more to this than a simple hit and run. Maybe someone wanted to silence a boy with a vivid imagination? Or maybe his adventures became all too real? I absolutely adore all the wonderful characters brought to life in these ingeniously crafted stories by Louise Penny. The town and its people come to life within her books. While I’m reading I can imagine myself sitting by the fire in the Bistro sipping my cider twirling my cinnamon stick! Can’t you just see it!? As always, I am looking forward to reading the next installment. Luckily I am behind and have a few more sitting (not so) patiently on my shelf.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Note from the author: "The Nature of the Beast is a book I’ve been waiting a long time to write. The circumstances had to be just right for all the characters in Three Pines, for it all to come together. In this book we find out many things about the villagers, including who hurt Ruth Zardo, once, ‘so far beyond repair.’ Some readers, I think, will find it a departure for the series, but the fact is, I try hard to make each book different from the last. So that the characters, the series, and I gr Note from the author: "The Nature of the Beast is a book I’ve been waiting a long time to write. The circumstances had to be just right for all the characters in Three Pines, for it all to come together. In this book we find out many things about the villagers, including who hurt Ruth Zardo, once, ‘so far beyond repair.’ Some readers, I think, will find it a departure for the series, but the fact is, I try hard to make each book different from the last. So that the characters, the series, and I grow. One of the huge dangers in writing books with essentially the same characters and the same setting, is inadvertently writing the same book, over and over. Instead I try to make each book different, to explore different themes, but also different ways of telling a story. Some lean more toward a traditional mystery, some toward a police procedural, some are like thrillers. But, I find that more and more often, each of the Gamache books incorporates elements of each. The more books I write, the more I believe this idea of ‘sub-genres’ or even genres is just not valid. I am proud to write crime fiction. But that’s a starting point, not a limitation." Ok, that's it from the author. The rest is me. Shortly after I originally marked "The Nature of the Beast" to-read, I came across the author's comments on the book somewhere, so I pasted them here because I thought they'd be interesting to come back to when I eventually read the book. I had no idea so many other people would be interested in them too. I enjoyed the book. I like that Jean-Guy is in a good place again and that his relationship with Armand is stronger than ever. I tend to enjoy the books in the series that are set in Three Pines the most, and that was the case here. Weapons of war aren't usually my first choice for a read, but the story was interesting, especially since it's based on fact. Some of it got repetitive, though. The guns were described over and over, and the mysterious nature of Professor Rosenblatt, Mary Fraser, and Sean Delorme, and the mistrust of the Professor towards the other two, and vice versa, were repeatedly hammered home. It seems like there were some loose ends there, so we may be seeing more of them.

  3. 4 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    4.5★ “In the beams of their flashlights, Gamache could see [x]’s face. His eyes. Bright, but not overexcited. He seemed almost calm, in control. This was his natural environment. The belly of the beast. This was where [x] belonged.” This is the eleventh of Penny’s wonderful Chief Inspector Gamache series, and true to form, it has the same remarkable balance between good and evil, peace and chaos. No person, no place is entirely without fears and flaws. Good people live and love and thrive, but good 4.5★ “In the beams of their flashlights, Gamache could see [x]’s face. His eyes. Bright, but not overexcited. He seemed almost calm, in control. This was his natural environment. The belly of the beast. This was where [x] belonged.” This is the eleventh of Penny’s wonderful Chief Inspector Gamache series, and true to form, it has the same remarkable balance between good and evil, peace and chaos. No person, no place is entirely without fears and flaws. Good people live and love and thrive, but good people also suffer and die. She spares us the gory details, but our hearts break a little with Gamache over the losses. Unlike the previous investigations, this book finds the gentle but determined, Chief Inspector retired from his position as head of homicide in Canada’s Sûreté du Québec and settled quietly in the hidden village of Three Pines in Québec’s Eastern Townships. With him is his beloved wife, Reine-Marie. The usual suspects are here: Ruth, the wicked, foul-mouthed old poet with her pet duck; Gabri and Olivier, the gay couple who run the B & B and Bistro; Clara, the frumpy, wild-haired, still grieving, brilliant portrait painter; Myrna, the retired psychologist who now owns the local bookshop, which Ruth insists on calling a library as she helps herself and ‘borrows’ books. Gamache has taken early retirement, recovering from trauma after cleaning up the extensive rot in the Sûreté. The department has eradicated the poisonous infestation, removing officers from top to bottom. Life in Three Pines is what he needs. The height of activity in the village at the moment is tryouts and rehearsals for a play from an old script a villager found in her late uncle’s trunk. It looks good, it’s funny, and everyone is enjoying taking part. However, Gamache has been quietly offered the role of Superintendent. He tells Reine-Marie he was asked if all he really intends to do next is just sit and mellow in a quiet village. “What next?’ Next? Reine-Marie had thought when he’d said it a week ago. And she thought it again now, in the bistro, with the murmur of conversation, like a stream, flowing by her, around her. That one bedraggled word had washed up on her banks and set down roots, tendrils. A bindweed of a word. Next. When Armand had retired and they’d moved from Montréal to Three Pines, it had never occurred to her there’d be a next. She was still surprised and elated that there was a now. But now had bled into next.” Before there is time to think about “next”, a hyperactive local boy stirs things up, not for the first time, by racing into the bistro, gesturing wildly with the stick he always carries. It is a wand, a sword, or a gun, depending on his imagination. “Grabbing Gamache’s hand, he tried to pull the large man out of his chair. . . The boy was bedraggled, like something the woods had coughed up. There were moss and leaves and twigs in his hair, his clothes were torn and he clutched a stick the size of a cane in his scratched and filthy hands. ‘You won’t believe what I found in the woods. Come on. Hurry.’ ‘What is it this time?’ Gabri asked. ‘A unicorn? A spaceship?’ ‘No,’ the boy said, looking annoyed. Then he turned back to Gamache. ‘It was huge. Humongous.’” With that, young Laurent Lepage, aged nine, waves his stick through the air and sweeps all the glasses off a nearby table. Gamache decides to limit the damage by giving him a ride home. As he loads Laurent’s bike into the back of his car, Laurent again describes his find. “‘The gun was really, really big, patron, . . . as big as this building. And there was a monster on it. With wings.’” Later, a body is discovered. Gamache cannot sit and quietly mellow. So much for retirement. The new Chief Detective and others descend upon Three Pines, and Gamache is careful to defer to them in his new role as Monsieur Gamache. Of course, he’s consulted, of course he sees things others don’t, of course he has his suspicions, and of course, I didn’t guess the perpetrator. It’s a slowly evolving story, and I was surprised to read in the author’s note at the end, that this seemingly preposterous tale is all based on real people and real events! I think I’d have enjoyed it even more had I known that first, which is why I’m sharing that here. If you read it, I think you’ll know what I mean. If I have any criticism (why isn’t it 5 stars for me?), I think it’s that the story is so slowly evolving, to the point that some things feel repetitious, but because I enjoy spending time in Three Pines and in the company of her characters, I still love her books. p.s. I enjoyed listening again to Neil Young's 'Old Man' song that's referred to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An2a1...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    I do so love this series and I am really sorry that I am gettting close to the end of what is currently available. I will miss my monthly meeting with Armand Gamache et al. The Nature of the Beast is a great read, full of the atmosphere of Three Pines. I must admit I always like the books set in the village the best. The mystery seems a little outrageous at times, just a little unbelievable, until you get to the end and discover that the events are factual. Gerald Bull was a real man and really i I do so love this series and I am really sorry that I am gettting close to the end of what is currently available. I will miss my monthly meeting with Armand Gamache et al. The Nature of the Beast is a great read, full of the atmosphere of Three Pines. I must admit I always like the books set in the village the best. The mystery seems a little outrageous at times, just a little unbelievable, until you get to the end and discover that the events are factual. Gerald Bull was a real man and really invented the items around which this story is based. Gamache seems to be getting back to his old self in the last two books and I am hopeful that he will come out of retirement very soon. I would like to see him back at the top pulling strings and influencing people like he used to.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Louise Penny carves new pathways towards success in her well-established Canadian police procedural series, taking the reader in directions previously unimagined. The town of Three Pines is gearing up for its next theatrical production, set to open in a few short weeks. Armand Gamache is interested in seeing the production, but all that sours when he learns who’s penned this play, discovering a truth its director had hoped to keep under wraps. When a young boy rushes into the Bistro to tell of a Louise Penny carves new pathways towards success in her well-established Canadian police procedural series, taking the reader in directions previously unimagined. The town of Three Pines is gearing up for its next theatrical production, set to open in a few short weeks. Armand Gamache is interested in seeing the production, but all that sours when he learns who’s penned this play, discovering a truth its director had hoped to keep under wraps. When a young boy rushes into the Bistro to tell of a ‘monster gun’ in the woods, he’s dismissed for his verbal flights of fancy. However, all this changes when the boy is discovered days later, dead after an apparent bicycle accident that does not add up. Gamache leads the townsfolk on a search of the area for a key piece of evidence that he is sure will point towards foul play. What he finds, hidden under some camouflage netting is much more confusing, a massive gun that could only have been used to launch some form of missile. After some poor treatment at the hands of new Sûreté du Québec graduates, Gamache seeks to have members of his former Homicide team take over the investigation. With Interim Chief Inspector Isabelle Lacoste taking the lead, she and Inspector Beauvoir begin to untangle some of the keys related to this mysterious gun. It would seem that a retired professor has at least some of the answers, though he remains somewhat coy about the specifics. He speaks of an arms dealer, Gerald Bull, who sought to peddle his wares to anyone with enough money, making this ancient looking machine a weapon of the future. Before long, two bumbling members of CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, are crawling around Three Pines, trying to learn a little more about the recent find. While Gamache is keen to learn all there is to know about this weapon, he is completely baffled as to why someone chose rural Quebec to develop and hide it. When a second body is found, all eyes turn to someone wanting to keep the weapon a secret, but whom. It is then that talk of ‘Project Babylon’ enters the discussion, an End of Days idea based on use of this weapon to bring the world to the brink. Gamache cannot help but wonder how high the secrets go and if Three Pines might be forever transformed by all that is revealed. With a murdering somewhere in Three Pines and the plans to bring this gun to life out there, all eyes turn to a serial killer who has been isolated for years. Might he hold the answers everyone needs? Penny does a great job adding new angles and perspectives to her series with this novel, which takes readers well outside the box. Highly recommended to series fans who have a great handle on the characters and writing style. I hold firm in my suggestion that new readers begin where the series began and progress accordingly. On this major Louise Penny binge, I have come to see a great deal of development in the series. Some are critical of such a major undertaking, reading/breathing nothing but Armand Gamache for a long time, but I prefer it. I can see some of the nuances in the series that are lost when a reader only gets annual instalments of the progress all characters make. Armand Gamache has surely grown throughout the series, as the attentive reader will see. Gamache has changed significantly over the past few novels, having taken a step back into private life, through there are remnants of his masterful sleuthing seen throughout the pages of this book. Penny has surely helped create a great contrast from much of the earlier books when it comes to the retired Chief Inspector’s character, which attentive (and binge) readers will notice as the series progresses. I am still trying to get a feel for post-Gamache character development when it comes to Jean Guy Beauvoir and Isabelle Lacoste, both of whom have been present, but not as ‘present’ in the past few novels. One can hope that these two will appear and offer more of themselves, though I cannot help but wonder if Beauvoir’s spiral in the middle of the series might have been Penny’s way of pushing him out of the limelight. There are a number of interesting secondary characters introduced for this novel and while they won’t stick around long-term, their presence enriched the story and left me quite curious. Penny has pulled some interesting angles of the Canadian legal/political system in with this novel, something that adds to the story rather than detracting. She does so in her own way, so as not to make it look like a carbon copy of the US or UK systems, thereby further individualising her work. The story was intriguing and went in some especially interesting directions, particularly looking at when it was written. It leaves me to wonder a little more about Canadian and international military projects, as well as the future of armed conflict. I can see where some might be turned off by the series as it looks deeper than trying to solve a murder, but I found this piece to be quite interesting, looking at things from within the Canadian perspective. Kudos, Madam Penny, for always keeping me entertained, no matter the mystery. I will push through these next few novels before queuing up alongside your other fans for the next novel’s release. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    Every year it becomes harder to summarize Louise Penny's exceptional books. While How the Light Gets In may have represented a culmination of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache's fight against good and evil, even in retirement in Three Pines, he continues to take part in the ongoing battle. And, Gamache, representing Everyman, stands as witness to the knowledge that we all have the potential for evil, the potential for good, and, in The Nature of the Beast, the awareness of our own cowardice in the Every year it becomes harder to summarize Louise Penny's exceptional books. While How the Light Gets In may have represented a culmination of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache's fight against good and evil, even in retirement in Three Pines, he continues to take part in the ongoing battle. And, Gamache, representing Everyman, stands as witness to the knowledge that we all have the potential for evil, the potential for good, and, in The Nature of the Beast, the awareness of our own cowardice in the face of evil. It's mid-September in Three Pines, when the weather is so beautiful it's hard to imagine that anything evil can invade the small community. But, Gamache and his wife, Reine-Marie are present at the bistro when nine-year-old Laurent Lepage runs in, shouting that he had found a winged monster as big as a house. But, Laurent had warned the villagers before, of an alien invasion, of a fire at his house. The boy's stories and hoaxes only grew more elaborate. And, Gamache and Reine-Marie were in the bistro when Antoinette Lemaitre introduced the play she was directing at the local theater, a play called She Sat Down and Wept by an unknown playwright named John Fleming. It's only Gamache that recognizes that John Fleming may not be unknown in Canada. So, when nine-year-old Laurent Lepage goes missing, the search reveals that the darkness had reached Three Pines. Poet Ruth Zardo is one of the first to acknowledge that monsters still threaten the world. It's a small circle of friends, acknowledging how the villagers are preparing pitchforks and torches, who call on Gamache. Bookstore owner, Myrna, sees it, and Clara calls. "Nature, she knew, abhorred a vacuum, and these people, faced with an information vacuum, had filled it with their fears. The line between fact and fiction, between real and imagined, was blurring. The tether holding people to civil behavior was fraying. They could see it, and hear it and feel it coming apart." And, Gamache and the police who once formed his homicide team step in to do battle again, in the face of terrible evil. Penny seamlessly weaves together the multiple storylines, with the kind of climax she's known for, one that leaves the reader breathless. At the same time, she once again forces Armand Gamache to face his own fears and nightmares. His close friend, Therese Brunel, knows why Gamache retired early from the Sûreté de Québec. "He had finally staggered under the emotional burden. He'd had enough of corruption, of betrayal, of the back-stabbing and undermining and venal atmosphere. He'd had enough of death." But, Armand Gamache is our Everyman, the one who steps up in the face of his own fears. He's the man who knows that monsters exist, even in the Eastern Townships, even in Three Pines. Louise Penny brings back characters from the past, introduces new ones, and leaves us with a new threat. As in all of her books, though, Gamache and his friends unite to face the shadows, the shadows of the past, and the shadows of threats. And, they use light and knowledge and literature to combat monsters, as people always have. Gamache is our Everyman in Louise Penny's new masterpiece, The Nature of the Beast.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    I love Louise Penny. Every late August, she publishes a new book in the Inspector Gamache series, which means that I get to spend Labour Day weekend with this great cast of characters in Three Pines or wherever she sets the story in Quebec. At number 11, The Nature of the Beast is another great addition in the series. This one is set in Three Pines, where Gamache has now retired with his wife Reine Marie. There are two parallel mysteries, one involving the death of 9 year old Laurent who claims I love Louise Penny. Every late August, she publishes a new book in the Inspector Gamache series, which means that I get to spend Labour Day weekend with this great cast of characters in Three Pines or wherever she sets the story in Quebec. At number 11, The Nature of the Beast is another great addition in the series. This one is set in Three Pines, where Gamache has now retired with his wife Reine Marie. There are two parallel mysteries, one involving the death of 9 year old Laurent who claims to have seen a giant gun in the forest and the other involves a play to be produced in Three Pines that turns out to have been authored by a notorious killer. And I won't say more about the plot to avoid any spoilers. But -- really -- for me the plots in this series are often besides the point. In fact, oftentimes the plots verge on being a bit over the top. But I would follow Louise Penny to the moon and back. Well -- not quite -- but I will suspend disbelief for Louise Penny and follow her to Three Pines or any part of Quebec to be in the presence of Armand Gamache and the other residents of Three Pines. For me, this series is all about the characters and the setting. Her depiction of Quebec, with its mix of English and French, although a bit romantic, is so close to the mark and a lovely aspiration. And the characters are charming and quirky, but all with at least a few dark corners. Although I preferred the previous one in the series a tiny bit more than The Nature of the Beast, this one nevertheless made for a great Labour Day weekend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I listened to the audiobook for the eleventh in Louis Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series, as I usually do, and really missed narrator Ralph Cosham. I was surprised the author chose a British actor to replace Cosham after he passed away. One of the joys of listening to this series for me was Cosham's wonderful French Canadian accent. As Chief Inspector Gamache is French Canadian it only makes sense to keep the narrator with the same accent. Tough to listen to was Ruth's voice. The Nature of th I listened to the audiobook for the eleventh in Louis Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series, as I usually do, and really missed narrator Ralph Cosham. I was surprised the author chose a British actor to replace Cosham after he passed away. One of the joys of listening to this series for me was Cosham's wonderful French Canadian accent. As Chief Inspector Gamache is French Canadian it only makes sense to keep the narrator with the same accent. Tough to listen to was Ruth's voice. The Nature of the Beast is more centered around the finding of a weapon of mass destruction in the Three Pines forest rather than indepth character analysis. Interesting that this is based on historic events as it seems so outlandish. I did enjoy seeing some of the town's long-buried secrets come out. Not a favorite, but still a big fan of the series. 4 out of 4 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cathrine ☯️

    3.75★ Update 6/6/18 Please note the * and bold print line turned out to be total trash talking. No fake news was ever sooooo wrong! Book #11 in a most beloved series. I recommend this to anyone familiar with the previous installments. Definitely start from the beginning for more thorough enjoyment. I keep thinking that as much as I love Penny’s world of Three Pines there must come a time when the series has run its course. The last one, #10, was probably my least favorite so I went into this a bit 3.75★ Update 6/6/18 Please note the * and bold print line turned out to be total trash talking. No fake news was ever sooooo wrong! Book #11 in a most beloved series. I recommend this to anyone familiar with the previous installments. Definitely start from the beginning for more thorough enjoyment. I keep thinking that as much as I love Penny’s world of Three Pines there must come a time when the series has run its course. The last one, #10, was probably my least favorite so I went into this a bit skeptical. Somehow she manages to keep it going because of the characters we fans love and do not want to lose. *Still, it must be admitted that the best of their stories have come and gone. That said, please LP, keep writing because even their winter years are still worth my reading time. When you’re in love with a fictional character you don’t care if his best days are behind him. Once again the author has spun a tale based on a real person and events out of Canada which made the main subject matter far more interesting and readable than if she had made it up. Another example where truth is stranger than fiction. I can’t imagine. Really! But she can, and I’m so glad. I confess that I like to think of Three Pines as a real place that I can retire to someday soon and sit in the Bistro drinking a wine that Gabri has recommended while reading a great book I bought at Myrna’s store. Anyone who loves mysteries with great characters would love this series. If you’re Canadian, it should be required reading in that genre because Louise Penny must be considered one of your national literary treasures.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Maybe it was the change in audiobook narrator (RIP Ralph Cosham!), maybe it was the fact that the book was set in Three Pines but barely went into any depth with the reoccurring characters that are native to that town, or maybe it was the emotional reactions that felt 'off' throughout the book. Either way, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would. I rated the prior book 3 stars too, so I am really hoping this is not a downward trend for a series I have otherwise really enjoyed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    In this 11th book in the 'Chief Inspector Armand Gamache' series, Gamache is retired and living in the Québec village of Three Pines. There he gets involved in a situation that has dire international implications.....and costs a child his life. The book provides enough background information to be read as a standalone. ***** Chief Inspector Armand Gamache was once head of the homicide department at the Sûreté du Québec. After spending years rooting out corruption at the Sûreté, and having recover In this 11th book in the 'Chief Inspector Armand Gamache' series, Gamache is retired and living in the Québec village of Three Pines. There he gets involved in a situation that has dire international implications.....and costs a child his life. The book provides enough background information to be read as a standalone. ***** Chief Inspector Armand Gamache was once head of the homicide department at the Sûreté du Québec. After spending years rooting out corruption at the Sûreté, and having recovered from a gunshot wound, Gamache has now retired to the Québec village of Three Pines- which isn't far from the Vermont border. Gamache, his wife Reine-Marie..... and their German Shepherd Henri..... are happily ensconced in the picturesque town, which is filled with endearing and eccentric people. One of the most imaginative residents of Three Pines is nine-year-old Laurent Lepage. Laurent loves to explore the woods on his bicycle - with his trusty 'rifle' (stick) for protection - and always reports seeing otherworldly creatures and the like. So no one pays much attention when Laurent runs into the bistro one afternoon, with a story about seeing an enormous gun in the forest - manned by a monster. The next day young Laurent is missing, and a feverish search reveals the boy's dead body in a ditch, presumably the result of a bike accident. But the scene looks 'iffy' to Chief Inspector Gamache, and Laurent's ever-present 'rifle' is missing. Gamache organizes a hunt for the stick, and lo-and-behold it's found beside a heavily camouflaged missile launcher - as big as a house - with a picture of a monster etched onto it. Moreover, the barrel of the enormous gun is pointed toward the United States. What the hell??!! 😮 It's now pretty clear that Laurent was murdered, and that his body was moved to prevent discovery of the hidden armament. Gamache no longer has authority to investigate homicides, so the Sûreté sends Chief Inspector Isabel Lacoste and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir (Gamache's son-in-law) to look into Laurent's death. Moreover, the missile launcher attracts the attention of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), which deploys two agents to Three Pines. The CSIS employees - a dowdy woman and a nondescript man - claim to be paper pushers when they're at home.....and they're plainly not '007.' But appearances can be deceiving..... Before long there's another murder in the village, and it becomes clear that someone is desperate to find the plans for the missile launcher, perhaps to sell them to a third world dictator. The police suspect that the current mayhem in Three Pines harks back to a time, decades before, when a number of Quebecois - including several from the village - worked in the weapons industry. Most of these former munitions people seem to be dead, so the homicide cops and intelligence agents have their work cut out for them. It's not going to be easy to catch the killer and safeguard the plans for the super-gun. Gamache helps the investigation from the sidelines while he contemplates his future. Among other job offers, the Chief Inspector has been offered a position with the United Nations, and has also been asked to return to the Sûreté - as head of the whole shebang. (This would probably be a good move, since some rude and disrespectful detectives - who were trained during the era of corruption - need ousting!!) Louise Penny's 'Chief Inspector Gamache' novels tend to be hit or miss (for me), with the best ones combining a great mystery with lively interactions among the populace of Three Pines - accented by fun conversations, good food, and amusing scenes with Henri (the German Shepherd). This book has a compelling mystery with international implications. Unfortunately, the characters don't shine in this story.....though Henri does gaze lovingly at his crush, Rosa the duck (which always cracks me up.) Though this isn't my favorite Louise Penny book, it's an okay mystery. I'd recommend it to thriller buffs, especially fans of the 'Three Pines' series. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Armand Gamache, formerly Chief Inspector of the Quebec Sureté is now retired in the idyllic village of Three Pines. Idyllic that is until a young boy finds something monstrous in the woods and a day later is found dead. Of course when Gamache's old colleagues arrive to investigate he is pulled into the search for the killer and the origins of the monster in the woods. It's good to be back with these old friends in the cosy village of Three Pines (which nonetheless seems to have a somewhat high cr Armand Gamache, formerly Chief Inspector of the Quebec Sureté is now retired in the idyllic village of Three Pines. Idyllic that is until a young boy finds something monstrous in the woods and a day later is found dead. Of course when Gamache's old colleagues arrive to investigate he is pulled into the search for the killer and the origins of the monster in the woods. It's good to be back with these old friends in the cosy village of Three Pines (which nonetheless seems to have a somewhat high crime rate - a bit like those other well known village hot spots - St Mary Mead and Midsommer): Clara the artist, still mourning the loss of her husband Peter, irascible old Ruth the poet and her duck, Gabri and Olivier who run the B&B and serves as village gossips as well as Gamache and his kind, understanding wife Reine-Marie. The plot and villains involved seemed somewhat far fetched but according to the author is based on actual facts which is quite remarkable - like something you might expect from from a James Bond type evil villain. Gamache's old proteges Isabelle and Jean-Guy are handling the investigations which move along somewhat slowly as the case becomes multi-layered but all comes to a high tension head as the various threads are pulled together at the last moment. There are hints that Gamache might be wondering what next? Retirement is pleasant but he is clearly itching to be more involved in the world again, so it will be interesting to see where the next book takes him.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I had so hoped that Penny would return to what she does so well, detailing the relationships and psychology of her Three Pines characters. Alas, she once again seems to find it necessary to bring in the huge outer world, this time the world of international terrorism and arms dealers. Although the "super gun" and its creator were real, the idea that an actually-built example of it being found in the wilds of Quebec would be an earth-shaking event and that it would endanger the lives of "hundreds I had so hoped that Penny would return to what she does so well, detailing the relationships and psychology of her Three Pines characters. Alas, she once again seems to find it necessary to bring in the huge outer world, this time the world of international terrorism and arms dealers. Although the "super gun" and its creator were real, the idea that an actually-built example of it being found in the wilds of Quebec would be an earth-shaking event and that it would endanger the lives of "hundreds of thousands" is simply laughable. It would be dreadfully inaccurate and almost impossible to keep hidden. And there are so many much simpler ways in which, if one had one, to deliver a nuclear or biological weapon. Also ridiculous is the idea that without the plans it would be impossible for anyone to build another such gun. And the idea that Gamache would countenance the extra-legal freeing of a psychotic serial murderer on the chance that he would lead them to the plans can only make one wonder what Gabri's been putting in his coffee. I think this is where I leave the series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol Jean

    I used to like the books in this series a lot more. This one begins promisingly with the question of whether a work of art should in any way be judged by the actions of its creator. But then it meanders off into a long story about a megagun which, frankly, lost my interest almost immediately. Penny's descriptions of her characters' emotional tizzies have always struck me as a bit melodramatic, and that flaw persists. There are some excellent tensions among the villains, but over all the book just I used to like the books in this series a lot more. This one begins promisingly with the question of whether a work of art should in any way be judged by the actions of its creator. But then it meanders off into a long story about a megagun which, frankly, lost my interest almost immediately. Penny's descriptions of her characters' emotional tizzies have always struck me as a bit melodramatic, and that flaw persists. There are some excellent tensions among the villains, but over all the book just didn't engage me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    As always, Gamache is in charge (even after he retired) and the complex story moves with increasing pace and urgency. Gamache's interview of a serial killer is a tense classic. Three Pines is a very scary place full of fascinating characters. The premise is bizarre, except that it is apparently based at least in part on a true incident.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    In the village of Three Pines there once was a boy who cried wolf. Nine year old Laurent Lepage told tall tales. Alien invasions, walking trees, dinosaurs spotted in the village. Hardly a day went by where he wasn't telling the residents of Three Pines one of his stories. And like the boy who cried wolf no one believed him. Including the story of a gun bigger than a house. When Laurent disappears and is later found dead retired Chief Inspector Armand Gamache questions whether this time Laurent's In the village of Three Pines there once was a boy who cried wolf. Nine year old Laurent Lepage told tall tales. Alien invasions, walking trees, dinosaurs spotted in the village. Hardly a day went by where he wasn't telling the residents of Three Pines one of his stories. And like the boy who cried wolf no one believed him. Including the story of a gun bigger than a house. When Laurent disappears and is later found dead retired Chief Inspector Armand Gamache questions whether this time Laurent's story is true and his death is not the accident it appears to be. Isabelle Lacoste, now Chief Inspector, and Jean Guy Beauvoir, Gamache's former second in command, are called in and begin their investigation. Of course Armand is involved. Lacoste and Beauvoir keep him informed as a courtesy. As for Gamache himself he questions whether in dismissing Laurent's story he may have played a part in the tragedy that followed. When a "supergun" is found in the woods outside the village the story takes a turn from a simple murder investigation to espionage and arms race. Even Saddam Hussein has a part in the story. The core characters in most stories in this series are there and there are some new characters including a retired professor and a couple of file clerks with Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Not everyone is who they first appear to be. After all everyone has a past and their secrets. Unlocking those secrets may be key to solving what happened to Laurent and how a supergun wound up in the woods behind Three Pines. One of the things that I love about a Louise Penny story is that we learn a little more about the residents of Three Pines in each story. In this story we learn more about our favorite mad poet Ruth Zardo, including who hurt, once, "so far beyond repair". Another resident that we learn more about is Monsieur Beliveau, the grocer in Three Pines. What I didn't know was that this story was based on fact. There really was a "supergun" and that Gerald Bull was a real person. And that he was assassinated in Brussels on March 20, 1990. According to investigative journalist Gordon Thomas, the assassination of Bull had been sanctioned by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Nahum Admoni sent the three-man team to Brussels, where the Mossad agents shot Bull at his door-step. Another terrific read from Louise Penny that explores human nature and why a person may be driven to commit such an act as murder. The nature of the beast?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    After the artwork descriptions of the last book, I didn't think it could get any worse. It did. For me, it certainly did. The death of a 9 year old starts the story. But this time the real core is atrocity and super weapon descriptions par excellence in verbose exactitude. Always tied in with our Fleming (pat serial killer) history, Bible quotes from Revelation and sundry negatives of numerous past associations all around. Jolly good time. NOT! I'm afraid that no amount of feel good high end eats After the artwork descriptions of the last book, I didn't think it could get any worse. It did. For me, it certainly did. The death of a 9 year old starts the story. But this time the real core is atrocity and super weapon descriptions par excellence in verbose exactitude. Always tied in with our Fleming (pat serial killer) history, Bible quotes from Revelation and sundry negatives of numerous past associations all around. Jolly good time. NOT! I'm afraid that no amount of feel good high end eats at the Bistro or comfy deeds of Clara or Myra is going to bring me back to 3 Pines again. What a shame. And now we are down to parsing the meaning of "evil" and representations for it while rewriting historical events, on top of it. What a bizarre and unnatural direction has been taken. Frankly, if I had witnessed half of what the last 3 books have demonstrated as status quo? Well, I certainly would not be sipping coffee or wine and leaving all the doors unlocked. And these people are supposed to be smart and elite with experience? 3 Pines has now gotten somewhat crossed with the town "Under the Dome" or Stephen King has somehow possessed Louise Penny. Or perhaps the current characters are mere physical clones of the real people who used to live there and will soon reveal their alien psyches in the next installment. Can you tell how mad I am at this supposed "recoup" for 3 Pines? Probably not, because I am more disappointed than even angry. How could you make that town into such a level of cartoon that has resulted? Why oh why oh why does not ANYONE tell Louise Penny the truth? MONEY, that's way.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I loved this one too. I can’t get over the fact that this crazy plot line has some basis in Canadian fact. The eleventh book in the Armand Gamache series, The Nature of the Beast almost needs no introduction—I assume if you're reading this, you're mostly familiar with the world and series. BUT in case you're not, shoo! Spoilers! Go read the others and come back! The beginning of this book was one of the weirder ones for me, which feels odd to say as i At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I loved this one too. I can’t get over the fact that this crazy plot line has some basis in Canadian fact. The eleventh book in the Armand Gamache series, The Nature of the Beast almost needs no introduction—I assume if you're reading this, you're mostly familiar with the world and series. BUT in case you're not, shoo! Spoilers! Go read the others and come back! The beginning of this book was one of the weirder ones for me, which feels odd to say as it takes place in the familiar setting of Three Pines. Theoretically, it should have felt familiar as we have been in Three Pines for many novels, and the ones that leave Three Pines tend to be the "weirder" plots. But The Nature of the Beast is a weird one. I never thought I'd be reading about a "Supergun" in a Penny novel. At times fantastical, at times unbelievable, I read this entire novel going, "oh dear, Penny, this is just absurd." Then I read the author's note at the end of the novel—where it turns out there WAS a "Supergun" plot in Quebec—and I had to reevaluate my opinion. Penny's novels tend to have a tiny thread of the unbelievable (Three Pines is too idyllic on purpose) but it's always been easy to see a version of it in fact. I was enjoying this one less due to my opinion that it had gone of the rails and ventured into crazy-land...but nope, that was on me. As always, I love these characters. I love their stories. I love Three Pines. I save these novels for a rainy day because it feels like a warm hug to enter this world. There's always a seat at the table in Three Pines. Blog | Instagram

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    The death of a vibrant, imaginative young nine-year-old boy in the small village of Three Pines was shocking. An accident they said. Was it only recently retired Chief Inspector Armand Gamache who could see it was more than that; that it was murder? Superintendent Isabelle Lacoste and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir soon arrived in Three Pines and the investigation began. Their discovery deep in the forest not far from where the boy’s body had been found was astounding. Apart from realizing that youn The death of a vibrant, imaginative young nine-year-old boy in the small village of Three Pines was shocking. An accident they said. Was it only recently retired Chief Inspector Armand Gamache who could see it was more than that; that it was murder? Superintendent Isabelle Lacoste and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir soon arrived in Three Pines and the investigation began. Their discovery deep in the forest not far from where the boy’s body had been found was astounding. Apart from realizing that young Laurent had spoken the truth, they knew the danger of what they saw. Decades old secrets, betrayals and monsters – had they visited Three Pines? Was it possible the village had been tainted by the evil that had occurred? Gamache and Beauvoir, along with Lacoste needed to get to the bottom of it all before it was too late. The Nature of the Beast is the 11th in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and it was riveting. A captivating mystery, steeped in intrigue and hate, and although Armand is retired, it’s easy to see how much he wants to be back amongst it all. The village of Three Pines is serene and peaceful, except when murder comes to town. Who better than Armand to solve the mysteries? Highly recommended - #12 here I come!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    It is always a pleasure to return to Three Pines in Quebec. The characters are my old friends, and I feel right at home. I am welcomed by the season, the weather, the food and drink, the fireplace. It's great to see how the characters' lives have changed with time, or to look back in a life to see what experiences that character had lived through. There is always something new revealed about them. Given the comfort I felt with the location and the recurring characters, the murder story created t It is always a pleasure to return to Three Pines in Quebec. The characters are my old friends, and I feel right at home. I am welcomed by the season, the weather, the food and drink, the fireplace. It's great to see how the characters' lives have changed with time, or to look back in a life to see what experiences that character had lived through. There is always something new revealed about them. Given the comfort I felt with the location and the recurring characters, the murder story created the opposite feeling. And the author's note at the end was chilling.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    The historical aspects in this book are based on real events, as far-fetched as it might seem. Despite the freedom and democracy that the New World ensured its inhabitants, lethal evil also got a foothold in our hearts and mind. Not all people sought goodness and peace. Some forms of power-abuse culminated in monstrous atrocities. Terrifying, awe-inspiring and hopeful. This is the only words tumbling into my keyboard right now to explain the essence of the plot in the book. Back in Three Pines ag The historical aspects in this book are based on real events, as far-fetched as it might seem. Despite the freedom and democracy that the New World ensured its inhabitants, lethal evil also got a foothold in our hearts and mind. Not all people sought goodness and peace. Some forms of power-abuse culminated in monstrous atrocities. Terrifying, awe-inspiring and hopeful. This is the only words tumbling into my keyboard right now to explain the essence of the plot in the book. Back in Three Pines again, with all the beloved characters as kind and quirky as ever, a young boy disappears, throwing a grotesque door open on the peaceful existence of the inhabitants. There was a dark side to some of the inhabitants that simmered for years and their secrets were guarded just as effective as creepers and vines that covered the interior of the surrounding forests. It always bothered me that I took so long to catch up with the entire series, since I had all the books for months now. But finally I am up to date and loved the experience. I don't know any writers who could equal the goodness and evil in the same way as Louise Penny did in this series. Her delightful wit threads through this series in such a refreshing and honest way. Ruth and Rosa undoubtedly played a big part in it and became one of the highlights of this long and slowly unwinding tale which spreads over this series. It seems as though the concluding saga in this series has not been written yet, as was expected. Perhaps more people, our beloved friends of Three Pines, will start passing away as part of the ongoing ageing process and I am not sure that I want to experience it. I really hope they are not going to be murdered one by one! :-)) So we will have to see. I'm rating it five stars for the brilliance of the plot, the historical elements used in the book, as well as the Goodness of Three Pines. But for now I had enough.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Unbelievable!! I do not want to put any descriptors about the storyline in this review. It will spoil the end (and I mean the end-end, the author's note). I thought this storyline was a bit far-fetched. What and why was Louise Penny writing about this? That's just a crazy idea. Again, the author's note answered my questions, made me give this 5 stars, and caused me to shake my head and declare: unbelievable!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    This is a wonderful series mostly set in the lovely scenic, idyllic and peaceful (did I say peaceful?) village of Three Pines in Quebec. Three Pines has a village cast of mixed characters and personalities, which all interact with each other. Our beloved and retired Armand Gamache and his wife now live there. Those who’ve read the series know about their past history and how and why they’ve come to reside in this quaint little village. This story begins with a young boy, Laurent, who is a rather This is a wonderful series mostly set in the lovely scenic, idyllic and peaceful (did I say peaceful?) village of Three Pines in Quebec. Three Pines has a village cast of mixed characters and personalities, which all interact with each other. Our beloved and retired Armand Gamache and his wife now live there. Those who’ve read the series know about their past history and how and why they’ve come to reside in this quaint little village. This story begins with a young boy, Laurent, who is a rather creative but mischievous, rough sort of child. Think of the fairy tale of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and that’s Laurent. He sees aliens, dreams of monsters and the sort and while the kid creates them in his head and believes them, no adult does. It’s gotten to the point the village folk and his parents are just tired of hearing his outlandish stories. So when he comes running into the cafe telling of finding a huge, huge gun/machine in the forest, people do not take him seriously and are quite annoyed with him and even with his parents, for not controlling him better. But when Laurent turns up dead soon thereafter and that’s not a real bicycle accident, but instead murder, then it starts to be taken seriously and the investigation begins and the village townsfolk start to worry about what exactly is in the forest. And of course, Armand is involved and investigates, but discreetly knows his place, now that he’s retired. But his thinking skills and strategy synapses are still top notch. I like his style. The man has still got it! I think it’s in his blood and certainly in his character. This super gun dates back to past years and while the investigators and various consultants are called in, we can’t determine what its purpose was for, who built it, why Three Pines, etc. There is another death in the village which is relative to this Supergun situation as well as some other outside connections. As is the style of these books, facts and the truth eventually come out, but other info is shuttered only to be slowly and expertly teased out. And Armand and the Police are so good at this. I like that the various people in the small village are close and involved and voice their opinions and assist in their own ways with the case. There’s a lot of conversation as well as quiet thinking and strategy going on in this book so it makes you actively think as well. As if you and Armand were sitting by the fire with a brandy or a croissant and discussing your viewpoints. This was not the best of Louise Penny, but it was still good. And I got a chance to revisit with Armand and friends in Three Pines, which is always lovely.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    A boy may cry wolf time and again, but that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a wolf actually the village’s edge. Laurent Lepage, a 9-year-old so suffused with imaginary exploits that no one takes him seriously, disappears from Three Pines, a beautiful but tiny village in Canada’s Eastern Townships. Armand Gamache may be enjoying a well-deserved retirement from his position as chief inspector of the Sûreté du Québec in the same village, but his clever mind and resourcefulness are as sharp as ever. A boy may cry wolf time and again, but that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a wolf actually the village’s edge. Laurent Lepage, a 9-year-old so suffused with imaginary exploits that no one takes him seriously, disappears from Three Pines, a beautiful but tiny village in Canada’s Eastern Townships. Armand Gamache may be enjoying a well-deserved retirement from his position as chief inspector of the Sûreté du Québec in the same village, but his clever mind and resourcefulness are as sharp as ever. Gamache wonders, could one of Laurent’s fairy-tale adventures have featured a real-life monster? The last tall tale Laurent spun was of a giant gun being ridden by a monster. Gamache begins there. I welcomed being reunited with Gamache, his clever wife Reine-Marie, (view spoiler)[the bereaved (hide spoiler)] Clara Morrow; Clara’s best friend, the psychiatrist-turned-bookstore owner Myrna Landers; the odd couple of Gabri Dubeau and Olivier Brulé, the irascible poet Ruth Zardo, and Gamache’s erstwhile colleagues, Isabelle Lacoste and Jean-Guy Beauvoir. How I’ve missed my Three Pines friends! Slipping back into Three Pines was as comforting as slipping into bunny slippers after a long day on your feet. Don’t pretend you don’t want a pair! Lastly, over 10 novels in the Audible format, Ralph Cosham was unmistakably “the voice of Three Pines,” as Louise Penny says in her introduction to the 11th novel, The Nature of the Beast. But, sadly, when Cosham died in 2014, Audible needed a new narrator. He is Robert Bathurst, an English actor best known from the television series Downtown Abbey. I think that Jim Dale, who has voiced the Harry Potter audiobooks and more closely resembles Cosham’s voice, would have been a better choice. Bathurst’s very different, more British-sounding voice, proved jarring at first, but, eventually, I became inured enough to Bathhurst’s voice became serviceable.

  25. 5 out of 5

    ☮Karen

    Sometimes censorship is justified. What? This coming from Armand Gamache in the opening chapters is quite a shocking statement; and rather than give out too many details of what prompted this, I'll just say that this part of the book was something I've given some thought to in the past. Would you read a book (here its a play) if it was written by a convicted criminal for profit, or should it never have been published at all? Reviews influence what you will and will not read, but do you actually Sometimes censorship is justified. What? This coming from Armand Gamache in the opening chapters is quite a shocking statement; and rather than give out too many details of what prompted this, I'll just say that this part of the book was something I've given some thought to in the past. Would you read a book (here its a play) if it was written by a convicted criminal for profit, or should it never have been published at all? Reviews influence what you will and will not read, but do you actually criticize -- prejudge -- something before you read it for yourself? This part of the story then takes a backseat to the murder of a young boy and what he found in the forest, and then another murder. For my liking, I thought this book was a bit far fetched, yet Penny manages to pull it off. Come to find out, it's a far-fetched-based-on-fact story, which makes me understand why she was able to pull it off! Of the books in this series that I have read, all but the first was on audio, my preference mainly because they were read by the incomparable Ralph Cosham. He gave such personality to Armand Gamache, such strength. This is the first of the audio books read by Robert Bathurst, and frankly, I had difficulty finding Armand's voice among all the others. Armand's voice was always the star of the audiobooks, along with Three Pines and its occupants, of course. Now it is indistinguishable. Now it seems Jean Guy is Cockney. To be fair, maybe I "prejudged," maybe I told myself no other could equal Cosham. Maybe I'll get used to the new guy, even if it now seems like a huge change impossible to accept. That's a lot of maybes. Looking forward to listening to the next!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wyndy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 stars. I don’t know how she does it, but Louise Penny has written yet another intelligent, suspenseful, historical mystery set in the tiny village of Three Pines, Canada. Nine-year-old Laurent Lepage, a sweet boy with a wild imagination, has died from a bicycle accident. But his favorite, ever-present stick/wand/sword, engraved with his name and given to him by his father, is missing. This fact, and several other inconsistencies, lead Armand Gamache to suspect foul play. Inspector Jean-Guy Be 3.5 stars. I don’t know how she does it, but Louise Penny has written yet another intelligent, suspenseful, historical mystery set in the tiny village of Three Pines, Canada. Nine-year-old Laurent Lepage, a sweet boy with a wild imagination, has died from a bicycle accident. But his favorite, ever-present stick/wand/sword, engraved with his name and given to him by his father, is missing. This fact, and several other inconsistencies, lead Armand Gamache to suspect foul play. Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir and Isabelle Lacoste, now serving as Chief Inspector of the Sûreté following Armand’s retirement, have set up camp in Three Pines to investigate Laurent’s death and another incredible discovery found hidden in a cavernous natural room deep in the dark, dark forest. Add to this mix a bit of intrigue regarding a play entitled “She Sat Down And Wept,” with ties to a terribly depraved author - a person all too familiar to Armand from his days at the Sûreté, and the stage is set. There’s no place in fiction quite like Three Pines (especially the body count 😉). I’d love to spend a summer at the B&B, sampling a maple-smoked ham, apple and Brie sandwich, on a pain de campagne with Gabri and Oliverier, browsing through Myrna’s used bookstore, sitting by the crackling fire with Armand and Reine-Marie and Henri, smelling the wonderful scents from the boulangerie, and sipping scotch with Ruth and her duck. 5 stars for the ambiance and residents of Three Pines and 2.0 for the fairly outlandish, meandering storyline (even though partly based on a true story, which is discussed in Penny’s Afterword) leaves me with 3.5 very good stars. Just couldn’t quite give this one a four, but I’ll be back for #12 in the series. I like that Penny left all my favorite series characters in a pretty good place.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lilisa

    Was so looking forward to the 11th Armand Gamache book. Notwithstanding the fact that I still love Louise Penny’s beautiful writing style and the characters she’s developed, this plot around which the story is woven seems a bit farfetched for the village of Three Pines and the threads don’t quite hang together. A young boy is murdered after he’s supposedly discovered something dreadful in the forest. No one believes nine-year old Laurent Lepage who is prone to wild imaginings and tall stories. B Was so looking forward to the 11th Armand Gamache book. Notwithstanding the fact that I still love Louise Penny’s beautiful writing style and the characters she’s developed, this plot around which the story is woven seems a bit farfetched for the village of Three Pines and the threads don’t quite hang together. A young boy is murdered after he’s supposedly discovered something dreadful in the forest. No one believes nine-year old Laurent Lepage who is prone to wild imaginings and tall stories. But this time he’s right and when he doesn’t return home, his disappearance sets in motion a series of events that involves the inhabitants of the village of Three Pines. Not Louise Penny’s best, but still worth the read. However, on further reflection I changed my rating from 4 stars to 3 stars. Not one of her best - I enjoyed some of her other books a whole lot better -- How the Light Gets In, The Beautiful Mystery, Bury Your Dead and The Brutal Telling and others. I'd definitely recommend her other books.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    It pains me to give a book in this series a 2 star...but it was not my cup of tea. My least favorite of the bunch.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I have read all the Louise Penny books set in the charming village of 3 Pines. Having enjoyed and even loved most of them, I was very excited to hear this would be published in late August and preordered it. Her writing is exquisite when she describes the village and gets deep into the hearts and minds of those who live there. I can't say I enjoyed this book as much as some of the previous ones. I thought the plot was overly complicated and too many new characters were introduced. Some parts be I have read all the Louise Penny books set in the charming village of 3 Pines. Having enjoyed and even loved most of them, I was very excited to hear this would be published in late August and preordered it. Her writing is exquisite when she describes the village and gets deep into the hearts and minds of those who live there. I can't say I enjoyed this book as much as some of the previous ones. I thought the plot was overly complicated and too many new characters were introduced. Some parts became boring to me in this convoluted story, and there was very little new added to our understanding of the personalities of the main characters. I wanted to like it more and give a higher rating, but by the end I didn't much care about the solution to the mystery or the identity of the main villains.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joe Jones

    Grab a seat by the fire and have Gabri bring you a warm croissant and apple cider as murder once again comes to Three Pines. The stakes are higher than ever as old secrets threaten to tear about our favorite fictional town and maybe much more. Louise Penny once again tugs on our heartstrings in another stellar entry in this series.

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