Series: #11 in the Armand Gamache (Three Pines) series
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Publication Date: 2015
Length: 12 hours, 42 minutes
Narrated by: Robert Bathurst
From the publisher:
Hardly a day goes by when nine-year-old Laurent Lepage doesn’t cry wolf. From alien invasions to walking trees to winged beasts in the woods to dinosaurs spotted in the village of Three Pines, his tales are so extraordinary no one can possibly believe him. Including Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, who now live in the little Quebec village.
But when the boy disappears, the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true.
And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth. What they uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, leads to an old crime, leads to an old betrayal. Leads right to the door of an old poet.
And now it is now, writes Ruth Zardo. And the dark thing is here.
A monster once visited Three Pines. And put down deep roots. And now, Ruth knows, it is back.
Armand Gamache, the former head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, must face the possibility that in not believing the boy, he himself played a terrible part in what happens next.
This series has long been one of my favorite series to experience via audiobook. The combination of Louise Penny’s characters and stories with Ralph Cosham was a match that worked wonderfully. Even though the books are not told in the first person Ralph Cosham became the voice of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache to me.
Before this book was published, Ralph Cosham passed away. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to listen to this book narrated by someone else. When Robert Bathurst was announced as the new narrator I decided to give it a try. I listened to the sample clip before purchasing the book and figured I’d give him a chance. Then I let the book sit unheard on my iPod for months.
After finishing my last audiobook I decided it was time and started this one. I spent the first quarter of the book being angry at Ralph Cosham for having the utter gall to up and die on us while Louise Penny was still writing the series. Then I spent almost that much being irritated at Robert Bathurst for not being Ralph Cosham.
Then suddenly I was too wrapped up in the story to notice that Bathurst was not Cosham and somehow his voice worked. He’s still not the voice of Armand Gamache to me but since the books aren’t told in the first person I can accept him as the narrator. He’s good. He’s not great and probably needs to develop his own voices for the recurring characters but I expect that will improve as he narrates more of the series.
The story is interesting but I’m not sure I’d call it plausible even though at least part of it is based on a real person. It had elements of the things I love about this series but it also had elements that really just didn’t work as well. It felt like she tried to put too many things into one story.
3.5/5 for the book
3.5/5 for the narration mostly because I’m still a little annoyed that he’s not Ralph Cosham