(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for How the Light Gets In, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier Armand Gamache mysteries. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.
"Three Pines, he knew, was not immune to dreadful loss. To sorrow and pain. What Three Pines had wasn't immunity but a rare ability to heal" (117).
Things are not going well for Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec. Jean-Guy Beauvoir, Gamache's faithful protegé, has left his mentor's side in a fit of anger, choosing a life of addiction and alliance to a corrupt leader over service at the side of the man he's always thought of as a second father. Most of the Inspector's loyal detecting team is also gone, leaving him with untested, disrespectful rookies. With the Sûreté's higher ups calling for Gamache's dismissal, the decorated policeman's sterling reputation may be tarnished beyond repair. Exposing corruption within the Sûreté is the only way to save his job, but does he have the guts to take on his most powerful enemies? Is it worth losing everything—and everyone—that matters to him?
In the midst of this personal turmoil, Gamache receives a call from Myrna Landers, owner of the used bookstore in Three Pines. She's worried about a friend who failed to return to the tiny village as expected. Myrna's reluctance to expose the woman's identity puzzles Gamache until he learns that 77-year-old Constance Pineault was once a very famous woman, a household name not just in Canada, but all over the world. Who killed the reluctant celebrity? And why? It's up to Gamache to find out.
Juggling the case in Three Pines as well as a major internal crisis decades in the making, Gamache may be in over his head. Especially without his loyal subjects by his side. Will the Chief Inspector emerge triumphant? Or will his brilliant career come to a tragic, shameful end?
It's no secret how much I love Louise Penny's immersive mystery series set mostly in the unforgettable hamlet of Three Pines. I adore it for many reasons, but mostly because of the kind, intelligent man at its center. Armand Gamache is a character like no other, one who inspires admiration from both his fictional colleagues and leagues of real people who enjoy reading about his exploits. It's tough for a raging fangirl like me to see the great man suffer, so How the Light Gets In—the ninth installment in the series—was a bit of a painful read for me. And, yet, I think it's my favorite Gamache novel so far. It's tense, exciting, fascinating, funny, and tender. I loved it, from its first sentence to its last (especially the last). I can't wait to see what's in store for this beloved cast in the next book, The Long Way Home. That title sounds kind of ominous, actually ... should I be worried?
(Readalikes: Other books in the Armand Gamache series, including Still Life; A Fatal Grace; The Cruelest Month; A Rule Against Murder; The Brutal Telling; Bury Your Dead; The Hangman [novella]; A Trick of the Light; The Beautiful Mystery; The Long Way Home; The Nature of the Beast; A Great Reckoning; and Glass Houses)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language, violence, and blood/gore
To the FTC, with love: I bought a copy of How The Light Gets In from Changing Hands Bookstore with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.