Book Review: Glass Houses

GLASS HOUSES | Louise Penny
(Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #13)
05.01.2018 | Minotaur Books
Rating: 5/5 stars

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A mysterious figure cloaked in all black and wearing a mask has shown up in Three Pines. They’re standing in the middle of the village, not talking, just watching. This figure doesn’t move, no matter the rain or sleet that may come. No one knows who they are or what they are doing there. Armand Gamache can feel the darkness radiating from this figure and believes that they are there for a dark purpose. Gamache is lost for what he can do to stop this figure or make them leave the village. One night the figure seemingly vanishes, until daylight brings the revelation that a body has been found.

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November was the transition month. A sort of purgatory. It was the cold damp breath between dying and death. Between fall and the dead of winter.

Fast forward a few months into the future and Armand Gamache is gracing the courtroom as a witness in the trial against the possible murderer of this strange figure. There seems to be an unspoken tension between Gamache and the prosecutor, when in reality they should be working together to bring justice for the dead. There appear to be many secrets swirling around this court case, which will slowly be revealed as Gamache tells his side of the story in court. Is the person on trial truly the murderer?

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We’re used to the film versions of psychopaths. The clearly crazies. But most psychopaths are clever. They have to be. They know how to mimic human behavior. How to pretend to care, while not actually feeling anything except perhaps rage and an overwhelming and near-perpetual sense of entitlement. That they’ve been wronged. They get what they want mostly through manipulation.

Louise Penny drops the reader straight into the court trial at the beginning of GLASS HOUSES and slowly and methodically replays the events that brought Gamache to the witness stand. It is through his flashbacks that the reader is able to learn about this dark figure, where they came from, what their purpose was, and who they actually were. The reader is also given a parallel storyline dealing with a Canadian-based drug cartel and their apparent connection to Three Pines. In typical Louise Penny fashion, this book is about so much more than the crimes. Gamache and several characters experience battles of the conscience and morality that they must work through. We’re also given back the villagers we have built such firm relationships with in Three Pines. GLASS HOUSES has everything I look for in a Louise Penny/Armand Gamache novel! There is intrigue, familiarity, and most importantly heart. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t tear up at several points in this book. Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is truly a standout series, not only for it’s crime fiction aspect, but also for the ability to truly connect a reader to the cast of characters in these books. I can’t believe that I have made it to the end of my #pennypushers journey. I will be eagerly waiting for KINGDOM OF THE BLIND to hit shelves in November!

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