Glass House (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #13) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: August 29, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Surete du Quebec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montreal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.

In Glass Houses, her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.

Review –

I love this series,The Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series, because of the  group of close knit quirky characters and the quaint village of Three Pines where they reside. Within the characters there is a baker, a painter, a book seller, a B&B owner, a bistro owner,  an old, no holds barred poet and Armand Gamache, now chief of the Sûreté du Québec.

There is a murder in the village caused in part by the emergence of a Black Robed Figure (the conscience) stalking someone in the hamlet.  But did the dark thing come for a villager or for one of their guests? The appearance of the black thing coincides with the visit of four out-of-town guests. They are friends from the Université de Montréal who meet for a yearly reunion at the B&B in Three Pines, usually in August but this year it happens to be November first.

All of this is being related by CI Gamache, on the  witness stand in a horribly hot Summer, explaining how over the course of a few days the masked man grew into a fixture on the village green and morphed slowly into an omen.

Conscience is an overarching theme in Penny’s latest Gamache novel, seeping into the courtroom narrative as Gamache grapples with an enemy much larger than the dark thing, a war on drugs and two separate drug cartels, he took on as the new Chief Superintendent. His victory depends on the outcome, and the path, of this murder trial.

While certain installments in Penny’s bestselling series take Gamache and his team to the far reaches of Québec, others build their tension not with a chase but instead in the act of keeping still—this is one such book. The tension has never been greater, and Gamache has sat for months waiting, and waiting, to act, with Conscience watching close by.

Fantastic story and on the edge of the  seat suspense  and a lot of tears when I feared that a favorite character might have met their end in  gun battle that occurred in the bistro. Thankfully, at the end of the book the character in still in critical condition in the hospital with brain damage but I have every faith in the author, Louise Penney, that she will bring this character back to us in the next installment of this series, which comes out in August of this year.

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The Sentry (Elvis Cole #14, Joe Pike #3) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: January 11, 2011

Format: Audio

Dru Rayne and her uncle fled to L.A. after Hurricane Katrina; but now, five years later, they face a different danger. When Joe Pike witnesses Dru’s uncle beaten by a protection gang, he offers his help, but neither of them want it — and neither do the federal agents mysteriously watching them.

As the level of violence escalates, and Pike himself becomes a target, he and Elvis Cole learn that Dru and her uncle are not who they seem — and that everything he thought he knew about them has been a lie. A vengeful and murderous force from their past is now catching up to them… and only Pike and Cole stand in the way.

Review –

As you know, Joe Pike is one of my favorite fictional character and I had high hopes for him with this book, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

In previous books Joe Pike hid behind sunglasses he never took off. He usually wore a  gray sweatshirt with the sleeves ripped off to show tattoos of red arrows (pointing forward, of course) on his biceps. He owned a gun shop and drove a Jeep he kept spotlessly clean and always had Cole’s back in a jam. The most emotion he showed was when the corner of his mouth twitched after Cole said something particularly funny.

He’s loyal to his friends, especially Cole, and his lonely side is coming out over the last few books. It’s making him behave oddly and get involved with people he’d never bother with in the past, like the seemingly innocent man and his niece whose sandwich shop gets attacked by Mexican gangbangers in Venice, Calif., at the start of “The Sentry.”

Pike makes quick work of the gangsters, of course, and sparks fly with Dru Rayne, the hot young niece from New Orleans. They go on a friendly little date and all sorts of trouble results. Dru Rayne and her uncle aren’t what they seem, the FBI and the Mexican mafia and a scary hit man sent by some South American drug lords are all in the mix, with Pike in the middle and Cole watching out for him for a change.

Even when Joe finds out Dru is real Rose and was playing him, he still insists on helping her out of the jam she’s in. Does he love her? No, I don’t think so, but could he have loved her? Yes, definitely  and that  would take Joe way outside his comfort zone.

I’ve rarely seen Joe Pike this vulnerable, this unsure of what the truth is. For Joe things are absolute, either black or white. It’s hard to read about him floundering a bit in the murky gray.

By the end of the book, which did not end well for “Dru” and “Wilson”, Joe is bouncing back. It will take time but he will rally. He always does!

Fantastic read.

Five stars!

 

 

The Watchman (Elvis Cole #11, Joe Pike #1) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: February 27, 2007

To pay back an old debt, Pike is coerced into protecting Larkin Barkley, a hard-partying young heiress whose life is in danger after a “wrong place wrong time” encounter that quickly escalates and spins out of control. The enemy is shadowy, violent and relentless—but the fierce, focused Pike, one of the strongest characters in modern crime fiction, is equal to the challenge. The breathless pace and rich styling are sure to appeal to readers of hard-boiled fiction in general, but since up to now Pike has mostly remained in the background, some fans of the Elvis Cole series (The Forgotten Man, etc.) may find the explicit picture that emerges of Pike at odds with the image they’ve constructed for themselves.

Review –

I’ve read six other books in the Elvis Cole series but I had no idea this was the first one where his partner, Joe Pike, took the lead.

I love the character of Joe Pike. He’s a big brute of a man, with red arrow tattoos on his biceps, wears sunglasses all the time, even at night, rarely says more than a couple of words at a time and is the best guy to have on your side if you’re in trouble.

Larkin needs such a man to protect her from men in an Ecuador drug cartel and protect her he does. Never before have we seen emotion from Joe but we do in this book and at one point he admits to having fallen in love with Larkin, although he does not tell her or anyone else.

I love this series and again I wish had started reading them in order.

Give this series a try.

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