Tag: Louise Penny

All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny

Book Summary

On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life. 

When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art. 

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades. 

A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized. 

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” — Shakespeare

Let me say this, if Agatha Christie is considered to be the Queen of the Whodunit, then Louise Penny truly is (IMHO) the undisputed Empress of this genre. There is no doubt in my mind that Penny is the master of her art, as we can see quite clearly in ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE, her 16th book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. 

From the opening sequence of a near tragic event to the closing paragraphs at the end, we are taken on an exploration and plumb the depths of human nature and emotion. From what makes people do what they do, to who they are, and what—throughout their lives—shape them. Penny has a finger on this pulse and exposes raw nerves and brutal emotion with carefully written prose, cleverly weaving so many seemingly random threads and events together that we’re never sure who is on the side of the angels, and who—exactly—all the devils of the book’s title are.

Masterful is not a word I use lightly, but Penny has gone from strength to strength with this series, building upon her characters with every book. So that in All the Devils are Here, we reach what felt like, a culmination of all her hard work. She’s created a world so utterly believable, we’re absorbed in to it on so many levels. It feels real, these characters feel real and, because of that, we connect with the unfolding events and the people caught up in them, in a very intimate way. 

From the moment we see the truck hit Gamache’s godfather, Stephen, after the family’s celebratory dinner, we know we are in for one hell of a roller coaster ride of torn emotions, frayed nerves, revelation, and genuine terror. 

We have to trust in Penny to guide us, along with Gamache, through a politically charged minefield of lies, corruption, and trail of murders stretching from the days the Nazis captured Paris through to the present day. And here is were—for me at least—her skill shines above the rest. Her ability to set the stage, carry us along at a blistering pace, absorb us into the tangled web of deceit and conflict, to blindside us as we try to figure out what’s going on, and then, up the ante by putting Gamache’s life on the line, so that it almost breaks us into tiny little pieces, emotionally and mentally.

Heart stopping, raw, emotional, this cleverly written whodunit is an outstanding and thrilling read on so many levels. Truly, Louise Penny at her utter best!

ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE
Chief Inspector Gamache #16
Louise Penny
Minotaur Books, Sept 2020
Hardback, 448 pages
Mystery | Suspense

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Reads of 2020

As this hideous year winds down, and we look back at the books we’ve read this year—or, in my case, since I refocused my website towards crime fiction this past summer—we celebrate our favourite and the best of the year as this week’s Top Ten Tuesday from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Given I haven’t read that many books since the summer, and of those that I did read, a lot are from previous years, this list is strictly going to be less the best of and more what my favourites were.

So, in no particular order, here’s the books and series I’m raving about:

BLOOD ON THE TRACKS by Barbara Nickless

A young woman is found brutally murdered, and the main suspect is the victim’s fiancé, a hideously scarred Iraq War vet known as the Burned Man. But railroad police Special Agent Sydney Rose Parnell, brought in by the Denver Major Crimes unit to help investigate, can’t shake the feeling that larger forces are behind this apparent crime of passion.

In the depths of an icy winter, Parnell and her K9 partner, Clyde―both haunted by their time in Iraq―descend into the underground world of a savage gang of rail riders. There, they uncover a wide-reaching conspiracy and a series of shocking crimes. Crimes that threaten everything Parnell holds dear.

As the search for the truth puts her directly in the path of the killer, Parnell must struggle with a deadly question: Can she fight monsters without becoming one herself?

Crime Fiction | Suspense | Mystery : Thomas & Mercer, 2016

FALLOUT by Sara Paretsky

Before there was Lisbeth Salander, before there was Stephanie Plum, there was V.I. WARSHAWSKI. To her parents, she’s Victoria Iphigenia. To her friends, she’s Vic. But to clients seeking her talents as a detective, she’s V.I. And her new case will lead her from her native Chicago… and into Kansas, on the trail of a vanished film student and a faded Hollywood star.

Accompanied by her dog, V.I. tracks her quarry through a university town, across fields where missile silos once flourished — and into a past riven by long-simmering racial tensions, a past that holds the key to the crimes of the present. But as the mysteries stack up, so does the body count. And in this, her toughest case, not even V.I. is safe.

Crime Fiction | Detective | Suspense : William Morrow, 2017

AND FIRE CAME DOWN by Emma Viskic

Caleb Zelic used to meet life head-on. Now he’s struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours.

But when a young woman is killed after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. And the trail leads straight to his hometown, Resurrection Bay. The town is on bushfire alert and simmering with racial tensions. As he delves deeper, Caleb uncovers secrets that could threaten his life and any chance of reuniting with Kat. Driven by his demons, he pushes on. But who is he willing to sacrifice along the way?

Crime Fiction | Suspense | Noir Mystery : Pushkin Press, 2018

THE KINGDOM OF THE BLIND by Louise Penny

When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder.

None of them had ever met the elderly woman.

The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?

When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing. But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing.

Crime Fiction | Suspense | Murder-Mystery : Minotaur Books, 2018

BAD DAY AT THE VULTURE CLUB by Vaseem Khan

The Parsees are among the oldest, most secretive and most influential communities in the city: respected, envied and sometimes feared.

When prominent industrialist Cyrus Zorabian is murdered on holy ground, his body dumped inside a Tower of Silence – where the Parsee dead are consumed by vultures – the police dismiss it as a random killing. But his daughter is unconvinced.

Chopra, uneasy at entering this world of power and privilege, is soon plagued by doubts about the case.

But murder is murder. And in Mumbai, wealth and corruption go in hand in hand, inextricably linking the lives of both high and low.

Crime Fiction | Murder-mystery : Mulholland Books, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want To Reread

Today’s challenge from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, is books we might want to reread. Which is funny, because this January it’s #VintageSciFi month and I was planning on delving into my somewhat extensive library and digging out a few sci-fi books to reread. But when it comes to murder-mysteries or thrillers? Hmm, I don’t know about you, but my wish list is as long as now until eternity so there’s not much chance of me actually rereading anything any time soon.

That said, I can tell you about 10 books I would love to have time to reread, and those include in no particular order:

  • BURY YOUR DEAD by Louise Penny — yes, I know, another Louise Penny, but hey, she’s one of my favourite authors. And I love this one not because it’s a riveting story, but because it is set here, in the beautiful city where I live: Québec City. And, it was the first Louise Penny book I ever read.
  • COLD STORAGE by David Koepp — this one will be one of those books I would enjoy rereading because of the characters, the situation with an outstandingly creepy opening, and one of the best throw away lines I’ve ever read in a book, “the deer just took the lift!” Very funny.
  • DEJA DEAD by Kathy Reichs — this was the first book by Kathy Reichs that I ever read, way back when, and started me reading her series. Back then the books were thicker, had more story depth, and had a whole other Temperance Brennan than emerges in later books. Back at the beginning she was still fighting her alcohol addiction, and was much more of an interesting character.
  • DEEP DOWN DEAD by Steph Broadribb — another great series by another talented author, writing about a female bounty hunter with plenty of grit, this is the book that started it all rolling. Like burnt rubber on the asphalt, this one leave the adrenaline pumping.
  • THE DEFENCE by Steve Cavanagh — still my favourite and the first Eddie Flynn and, I believe, the first book by Steve Cavanagh. This one, like most of Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn series, is packed with clever twists, action, and devious villains. This one is fun, fast and will always have a small space on my nightstand.
  • THE DIME by Kathleen Kent — another first novel in a series that caught my attention because of a kick ass female detective, and a twisty, clever plot that grabbed me from the get go. Another well-written book that’s a fast, pounding read.
  • THE DRY by Jane Harper — not really a full-on series yet, nonetheless, THE DRY kicked off Harper’s rise to fame and if you read this one you will see why. Her writing, setting, sense of place and characters make for an outstanding read. So hot it made my skin blister!
  • RESURRECTION BAY by Emma Viskic — like all of the above this is one I can read and read again because the author has crafted such a great character and put him in such a unique setting, that I read this one in just a couple of sittings. Another thorough well written series that needs shouting out about.
  • THE MISSING INFORMANT by Anders de la Motte — written by a Swedish ex-jurno, set in Sweden, featuring another super flawed but absorbing character delving into a very clever mystery that starts with a dead man, and then? Spirals into a huge cover-up and conspiracy with such a clever and twisted ending you will never see it coming.
  • A GRAVE TALENT by Laurie R. King — the first in the Kate Martinelli series from another skilled author with a talent for clever plots, artful mis-direction, and a character you are drawn too.

So there you have it, ten excellent reads that stayed with me long afterwards so much so I’m happy to say I would reread them in a heartbeat. And you? What books would we find on your list? Leave a comment and a link so we can find you.

My Latest Book Haul

Oh, I do love to go book shopping and because I love to buy books as much as I love to read books, I have to temper myself. And while I haven’t actually set myself a budget, I do try to only order 3-4 books a month, given that’s usually how many I read. That said, however, because of this damn virus, and all but being housebound, I am reading more, and yes, therefore, buying more.

What can I say, we’re all probably as bad as one another and why not. Who needs an excuse but hell, I’ll take this one and run with it. So this latest book haul includes:

All The Devils Are Here — Louise Penny

This is Louise Penny’s latest, and the sixteenth Three Pines Mystery (Sept, 2020) featuring the redoubtable Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. And, Toto, we’re no longer in Québec this time around, but the city of eternal light, Paris.

“On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life.
When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades.

A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.”

Slow Horses — Mick Herron

Oh, how I love me a good spy novel. I gobbled up a ton of John Le Carré back in the day, and then for dessert, consumed nearly all of Len Deighton’s series of books, Hook, Line, and Sinker. And then Game, Set, and Match. So I was happy to discover Mick Herron and the Slough House series.

“London, England: Slough House is where the washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers. The “slow horses,” as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated here. Maybe they messed up an op badly and can’t be trusted anymore. Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them. Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle—not unusual in this line of work. One thing they all have in common, though, is they all want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there─even if it means having to collaborate with one another.

River Cartwright, one such ‘slow horse,’ is bitter about his failure and about his tedious assignment transcribing cell phone conversations. When a young man is abducted and his kidnappers threaten to broadcast his beheading live on the Internet, River sees an opportunity to redeem himself. But is the victim who he first appears to be? And what’s the kidnappers’ connection with a disgraced journalist? As the clock ticks on the execution, River finds that everyone has his own agenda.”

Bad Day At The Vulture Club — Vaseem Khan

Another favourite series of mine is the Baby Genesh Agency books by Vaseem Khan. Funny, whimsical, clever, and oh so endearing, not only because our erstwhile hero, Inspector Chopra─who has an elephant for a sidekick─but because the stories, set in Mumbai, India, are so very different to the usual run of the mill for a crime series.

The Parsees are among the oldest, most secretive and most influential communities in the city: respected, envied and sometimes feared.

When prominent industrialist Cyrus Zorabian is murdered on holy ground, his body dumped inside a Tower of Silence – where the Parsee dead are consumed by vultures – the police dismiss it as a random killing. But his daughter is unconvinced.

Chopra, uneasy at entering this world of power and privilege, is soon plagued by doubts about the case.

But murder is murder. And in Mumbai, wealth and corruption go in hand in hand, inextricably linking the lives of both high and low.

So, what do you think? Three more excellent reads to look forward to. And you, dear reader, what are you reading or looking forward to reading next?