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A Better Man (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #15) Everytime I start reading a Louise Penny novel I am confronted with a dilemma Do I read it quickly because really I don t want to put it down, or do I read it slowly because I don t want it to end How does she do it This is the 15th I the Three Pines series and it keeps getting better and better In this one, I my opinion, she outdid herself, combining some important issues of the day, with an outstanding, difficult to solve mystery The issues of climate change, abuse and the devastation it causes, and the good and bad of social media All combined seamlessly in the lives of various members of the community we have come to love She shows us the many depths of personality that can live inside one person Characteristics based on the past, the present, life experiences that make us the people we are She shows us friendship, love, respect, integrity, compassion, kindness and the struggle to know when to hold on and when to let go Ratchets up the tension and then fits in some appropriate humor that makes us laugh Oddly enough a new character comes to Three Pines and affects the future of one member This was a particularly emotional entry in the series as one chapter closes and a new one begins And now I am resolved, as I await the next in this stellar series That twisted reality, until malice and truth were intertwined and indistinguishable ARC from Minotaur books. Louise Penny really generates some great crime fiction and I enjoyed this book The continuing characters are once again solving a murder in Three Pines, Quebec, Canada This time a young woman married to a known abusive husband, is killed Jean Guy Beauvoir is in charge of the investigation Gamache is working with him, but was demoted from and is now in charge of Homicide The usual Three Pines residents are still around, Ruth Zardo, the foul mouthed poet Claire, the artist Reine Marie, Gamache s wife and others Oh, and there s a major flood happening and threatening the town It s an interesting investigation and the quirky characters make it fun.I m glad I discovered Louise Penny s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series This is the third book I ve read, but I plan to read them all Thanks to Louise Penny and Edelweiss for an advance copy. There WILL be a new Inspector Gamache book 15 coming out in August. Our date came a bit early this year, Armand, which makes it bitter sweet Sweet because I got to catch up with you and our friends in Three Pines a little earlier in the summer than usual Bitter because our time together is already over until next year.I found this year s dose of Louise Penny got off to a slow start Armand Gamache is struggling, as usual, with his place in the Quebec police, and the mystery at the centre of A Better Man focuses on a seemingly straightforward missing person case And I must admit that the story itself didn t really grow much in intensity for me Armand continued to struggle The people of Three Pines were thrown into turmoil because Clara s paintings are getting bad reviews And I quickly guessed what was meant to be a not so obvious resolution to the missing person plot.But for true fans of Louise Penny, like me, the plot is often beside the point As usual, Armand, his family, his colleagues and his neighbours make up for any plot weaknesses It s hard not to be enthralled by these deep feeling and thinking characters, who are also equipped with a good sense of humour and a love for the good things in life Despite the murders and carnage, Louise Penny presents an inspiring and warm world view of human connections I can t believe I just wrote that sentence, but I can t think of any other way to express it But because this was not my favourite of Penny s books, I thought I should probably be fair and give it 4 stars rather than my usual 5 stars And then I read her afterword, and I knew I couldn t rate this one any less than 5 stars Penny explains why she named one of the dogs in the book Fred, which made me teary Then she explained that these books are about community About love and belonging And the great gift of friendship Indeed So the afterword pulled me over the 5 star line not for the first time and it s another five stars for me Because, despite the plot s weaknesses, these are the feelings I walk away with each year after I finish Penny s latest offering.So, goodbye for now, Armand I hope you re planning something good for next year In the meantime, enjoy your family and friends, and don t get into too much trouble Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me access to an advance copy. She has done it again With a vengeance Take the same backwater in Qu bec, the same core of main characters, and write fifteen crime stories with that You will probably end up with predictable plots But Louise Penny doesn t Not ever A Better Man is here to prove it Once.Lovers of this series will also enjoy how the author integrated elements of previous books And of course, we meet the same characters Including the poet Ruth And her duck Rosa featured with short refrains, another nice little touch that helps keep all the threads together Reading another book by Louise Penny is like spending some annual time with good old friends And age and experience have the potential to make them better The only bitterness to it, is that we ll have to wait next year to meet them again.My full review will be live in August, near release day Her best one yet Review to come. 4.5 starsA Better Man by Louise Penny is the 15th in the Detective Armand Gamache Three Pines series First, let me thank Edelweiss, the publisher Minotaur Books, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All opinions are my own Series Background Warning May contain spoilers from previous books Armand Gamache and his wife Reine Marie moved to the small village of Three Pines a few years ago, where they have found peace from their daily struggles, and have found a home among the locals who often play a large part in the mysteries that surround Gamache While Armand Gamache was the head of the Surete du Quebec, he made a lot of enemies He was on a lofty mission to rid the police force of the corruption that had enabled the drug cartels to take over, and he was building a new police force Unfortunately, a large amount of the deadly drug carfentanil escaped his net, and although he got it back, the powers that be held him accountable His suspension has now ended, and he is going back as Chief Inspector of Homicide.My Synopsis No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions It is spring in Quebec, and it looks like it s going to be a nasty one The banks of the St Lawrence River look like they will flood, which means tributaries will also Decisions have to be made Three Pines stands in the path of the potential flood, and already the banks of the Bella Bella river are rising Residents have been sandbagging, but they may not hold.But there is no rest for the police force On the request of one of his officers, Armand, Jean Guy, and Isabelle are looking into the case of Vivienne Godin, a missing pregnant woman Her father is sure that her abusive husband has killed her, but evidence is scarce The the team digs, the circumstantial the case becomes Just trying to keep the woman s father calm is almost than they can handle The flooding is not helping matters, and they are starting to question the little evidence they have.Meanwhile, Armand is again being blasted in the media, and it becomes evident that someone high up has started a campaign to discredit him yet again It seems to be working Ruth has an idea that she feels may help.Armand is not the only one getting a bad rep Clara s newest artwork is not having the response she had hoped for While she feels all the negative tweets are unfounded, even some of her friends have doubts Again, Ruth has an idea that she feels may help.My Opinions Louise Penny is amazing Even after 14 books, she continues to add details to the characters, and put them in new and interesting albeit dangerous scenarios Really, her characters ARE the books Yes, the plots are always good, but the characters are what make the books good.I am, however, getting a little tired of Armand always having his integrity questioned, it s getting old Just having him solve crimes would be okay, instead of always being under pressure to fight for his reputation I still love him, but it s a bit exasperating, hence this book loses 1 2 a star However, all the characters continue to have a place in my heart The last two books have dealt, in some way, with Jean Guy and Annie moving to Paris, and his reasons were really explained in this book I will pray for their return.This book is about how far a father would go to protect his daughter, it is about questioning your own morality, your own judgement, your own conscience It is about speaking your truth, whether it will hurt someone or not, and then living with those words or actions But overall, it is about love, between families and friends.Three Pines is one of the happy places in my head It is there that I relax, grab a cup of coffee and curl up with a good book You should join me Thank you Louise Penny A build up of trouble that had broken its banks, thought Reine Marie And the young woman was taken at the flood After a slightly disappointing previous entry in Penny s series, this is much better but still perhaps not up to her best it s hard to keep characters in play and developing over so many books and here the Three Pines stalwarts provide some quirk but are effectively side lined much of the time which is a shame At the centre of the book is case of a missing adult daughter which brings together Gamache, Jean Guy and Isabelle with a previous police character and a potentially interesting new one but I d spotted the denouement about a quarter of the way in and it s a long haul waiting for our heroes to catch up There are places where this tips too much into repetitive sentimentality, though generally Penny steers on the right side of that line.Long time fans, of which I am one, will want to read this but I fear the best of this series is in the past it s still a delight to revisit Three Pines and there s an interesting development at the end which might shake up the dynamics of the books Despite some qualms, Penny is still a force to be reckoned with in the area of police procedurals with high emotional intelligence 3.5 stars rounded up.Thanks to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley. Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Surete du Quebec in the latest novel by 1 New York Times bestselling 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 novel 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 I have enjoyed every book in this series, but some of them felt like coming home to Three Pines than others, and this one was like that for me This book is set back in Three Pines with the villagers with moments in Montreal, as always Some of the aspects that I love the most in this series were especially present in this book 1 A lot of time with Gamache, Beauvoir, and Lacoste as a team especially pertinent in this novel as things might change for them all moving forward 2 Themes of bettering oneself as a person, struggles with morality, questions about what one would do in a similar situation3 The unexpected conclusion to the central mystery 4 Side stories with the villagers including Clara, Myrna, and Reine MarieDespite enjoying all of the Inspector Gamache stories, some of them have taken me a bit longer to sink back into This was not the case with this book Louise Penny s writing in this novel felt like I was sitting down among friends Gamache is at his best in so many ways here and such a character to look up to in times of uncertainty I don t know how she does it, but I m so grateful that she does Fans of the series will love this new addition Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Edelweiss and St Martins Press Minotaur for the ARC of this book.

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