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The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Hardcover – August 25, 2015
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“Penny sustains her high-wire act, creating characters of remarkable depth in an exhilarating whodunit.” ―People
“Louise Penny is unsurpassed at building a sense of heart-stopping urgency. Sometimes the stakes are personal: a marriage, a character's sanity. Sometimes the threat is to the village, a culture or even to the province of Quebec. This time Penny manages to create a threat that could truly be worldwide, and to place its future in the hands of our friends in Three Pines.” ―Salem Macknee, The News & Observer
“[M]agical....[T]he perfect reminder of the dark side of human nature, but that side does not always win out. Penny is an expert at pulling away the surface of her characters to expose their deeper-and often ugly-layers, always doing so with a direct but compassionate hand.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred) on THE NATURE OF THE BEAST
“A strong sense of place, a multilayered plot, and well-crafted (and for Penny's fans, familiar) characters combine for a thoughtful, intriguing tale. More than a simple mystery, Penny's novel peels away the emotional and psychological layers of the inhabitants of Three Pines.” ―Library Journal, (starred) on THE NATURE OF THE BEAST
“Three Pines again proves no refuge in Penny's stellar [The Nature of the Beast]...fans will delight in [her] continued complex fleshing out of characters they have come to love.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred)
“[A] compelling mystery that leads to an exciting but tantalizingly open-ended finale.” ―Booklist on NATURE OF THE BEAST
About the Author
LOUISE PENNY is the author of the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling series of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (six times), and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian culture. Louise lives in a small village south of Montréal.
Top customer reviews
Days after reading the book, I'm still puzzled by Louise Penny's choice to go in a direction so different from her trademark style. I was just reading an interview with her in Book Page, where she confirms that her books are about the exploration of human nature and says that what she's interested in is "what would make a real-life human being do something like that." I wish she'd stuck with that mindset in this case. She does spend time exploring the very human problems of some of the central cast of regulars, but not a lot and, to be frank, I thought her insights into Ruth Zardo's issues seemed murky and didn't make a lot of sense.
This novel is more toward the thriller than mystery, even though it's set in the bucolic village of Three Pines. Penny can do thriller; I'm thinking of the extreme tension in How the Light Gets In, for example. But this doesn't measure up to that. The pacing was off and the impending disaster didn't seem very believable. (And yes, I know that the thriller aspect of the plot is based on real events.)
Those are the disappointments. But it's not all bad news. All the Three Pines regulars are there, as well as Jean-Guy Beauvoir and Isabelle Lacoste. And, what I've always wished for, we get to see more of Reine-Marie. Penny also shows us some possibilities for future books, which is intriguing. I am hoping she will consider future stories featuring Beauvoir and Lacoste even more strongly than in this one.
All in all, for me this was a fair-to-middling book in the series. OK, but not truly engrossing or a page-turner, for the reasons I discuss above, and I will be disappointed if Penny continues in this vein. I'm hoping the next time we get more of her superb character studies that explore the heights and depths of what it means to be human.
I was interested to read the note at the end about the factual nature of the big gun; it might have helped to have read it first.