Review: Kingdom of the Blind – Louise Penny

Kingdom of the Blind

Kingdom of the Blind

A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery

Louise Penny

Hachette Australia

Little, Brown Book Group

Sphere

ISBN: 9780751566598

 

Description:

The new Chief Inspector Gamache novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

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.

The investigation into what happened six months ago—the events that led to his suspension—has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip though his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception.

Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner city Montreal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers.

As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hiding there.

 

My View:

Once again I am transported to Canada; I am hearing the French accents clearly as I read, I see the snow, the storm, the isolation, and the quirky, unique characters. I try my best to solve the many mysteries that are presented to the reader. Before the conclusion I have actually discovered one of the secrets here…I congratulate myself and keep reading.

 

This is a wonderful exploration of complex relationships, moral dilemmas and the misery of drug addiction.  This is satisfaction guaranteed reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Tumbled Graves – Brenda Chapman

When you turn the last page and are disappointed there is no more – 5 stars!

Cover Tumbled Graves

Tumbled Graves

A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery

Brenda Chapman

Dundurn

ISBN: 9781459730977

 

Description:

A missing child. A dead mother. Kala Stonechild is about to discover what one betrayal can lead to.

 

When Adele Delaney and her daughter, Violet, go missing, Jacques Rouleau is called upon to investigate. However, struggling with the impending death of his ill ex-wife, he sends Kala Stonechild and Paul Gundersund instead. Stonechild has been trying to adapt to life as her young cousin Dawn’s guardian, and even though Gundersund has offered support, Stonechild is at risk of losing custody.

 

On the second day of the investigation, Adele’s body turns up, dumped on the shoulder of the highway with no sign of her daughter. Her husband, Ivo, denies any involvement with either his wife’s death or their child’s disappearance, but not everyone is convinced. As the investigation unfolds, Stonechild learns that Adele was once entangled with a Montreal biker gang and heads to Quebec to investigate further.

 

As Stonechild and Gundersund juggle personal troubles and a complicated, dangerous case, they find themselves piecing together a chain of disasters leading back to a single betrayal.

 

 

My View:

If you are looking for characters that fully developed, with interesting backgrounds, that do not rely on sex appeal and physical features to get your attention (not that any of the main characters are ugly, physical beauty just isn’t the focus of these books), if you are looking at an adult read full of real people, with plenty of drama but little melodrama, plenty of action without a million dollar special effects budget, with plenty of human interest and exploration of the human psyche, then this book and this series is for you.

 

If you want to  read a crime fiction/mystery that makes  you think, relate, feel, than this book is for you.

 

I love this series. This is a series that relies on the author’s profound ability to tell interesting stories with diverse characters, with an intelligent and thoughtful female protagonist who somehow, through her story, through her words, competencies and actions makes me feel calm and that she is in control and will solves the crimes (how does a character in a book do that?), what more could you want? Stonechild is a brilliant protagonist – I love every word on every page – nothing is superfluous to the needs of the narrative. Tension is embedded in every chapter. A great read. Bring on book four.

 

 

 

Post Script: Butterly Kills – Brenda Chapman

A great sequel to Cold Mourning – written with a passion you can feel.

Butterfly Kills: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery

Butterfly Kills: A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery (Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery #2)

Brenda Chapman

Dundurn Group

ISBN: 9781459723153

 

 

Description:

Jacques Rouleau has moved to Kingston to look after his father and take up the position as the head of the Major Crimes department. He’s been trying to track down Kala Stonechild, who quit the Ottawa force and has been in the bush. One hot week in August, university student Leah Sampson is murdered in her apartment; in another corner of the city, Della Munroe is raped by her husband. At first, the crimes appear unrelated, but as Sergeant Jacques Rouleau and his new team of officers dig into the women’s pasts, they discover unsettling coincidences. When Stonechild suddenly appears in Kingston, Rouleau enlists her to help. As the detectives delve deeper into the cases, it seems more questions pop up than answers. Both women were hiding secrets that have unleashed a string of violence. Can Stonechild and Rouleau discover the truth before the violence rips two families apart?

 

 

My View:

I am a great fan of this series. I loved Cold Mourning and I really enjoyed the quiet, calm and respectful protagonists Stonechild and Rouleau and the peaceful ambience of the locations; refreshing elements in this genre.

 

The narrative is complex and at its core is an issue that is eventually revealed and that ties all the threads together; it will pierce the heart of even the most world toughened reader (sorry no spoilers here, you will have to read and discover this issue yourself). Brenda Chapman writes with a passion that is obvious and when you do anything with passion it shows!

 

But don’t be mistaken by the general ambience, there is plenty of action, great plot twists and turns as crime goes on the rampage in this small town setting. I cannot wait to read the next instalment in this series – thank you Brenda Chapman, your writing is amazing.

 

Post Script: Cold Mourning – Brenda Chapman

Cold Mourning

A Stonechild and Rouleau Mystery

Brenda Chapman

Dundurn

ISBN: 9781459708020

 

Description:

It’s a week before Christmas when wealthy businessman Tom Underwood disappears into thin air — with more than enough people wanting him dead.

New police recruit Kala Stonechild, who has left her northern Ontario detachment to join a specialized Ottawa crime unit, is tasked with returning Underwood home in time for the holidays. Stonechild, who is from a First Nations reserve, is a lone wolf who is used to surviving on her wits. Her new boss, Detective Jacques Rouleau, has his hands full controlling her, his team, and an investigation that keeps threatening to go off track.

Old betrayals and complicated family relationships brutally collide when love turns to hate and murder stalks a family.

My View:

A well written and engaging police procedural that starts with an impressive hook that is guaranteed to set your heart racing whilst you chew on your finger nails; for a few pages I was unsure of whether I would be able to proceed any further so horrified was I by the heinous acts that were unfolding before me. I managed to hang in there and was rewarded with a narrative that flowed flawlessly and characters that were empathetic and engaging.  I did not guess the ending.

Kala Stonechild is a character I want to see more of. I loved the quiet yet determined manner she used to conduct her interviews and her public life; she was well meaning, competent, acted with grace, humility and determination. This does not mean that Stonechild is a pushover, in her work she is forthright and strong, has great intuition and people reading skills and is able to influence others – good traits for a detective.  In her personal life – she is learning to forgive herself for past misdemeanours.

Detective Jacques Rouleau is a respected police officer who is the victim of office politics; he deserves better and hopefully this is what he will get when the next books appear –  I am banking on this!

All in all a fast paced, action packed work of crime fiction that subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) raises many social issues for discussion, and I look forward to future books by this author.