Book Review: Kingdom of the Blind

KINGDOM OF THE BLIND | Louise Penny
(Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #14)
11.27.2018 | Minotaur Books
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Armand Gamache has received a mysterious letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse on the outskirts of Three Pines. The former head of the Surete du Quebec soon learns that he has been named as an executor on a will. Making matters more interesting, Gamache has never heard of the woman who the will is for. He finds himself, along with Myrna, a fellow Three Pines resident, and a young man named Benedict trying to determine the requests of a woman who referred to herself as The Baroness. When a dead body is found in connection to the mysterious will situation, Gamache must turn his investigation on the dead woman’s family.

At the same time, Gamache is also dealing with the repercussions of a decision he made in the previous novel that brought about his suspension. In order to rectify a series of bad decisions that have put many in danger, Gamache will stop at nothing and no measure is too extreme or dangerous. There are secrets woven into each situation and at the root of this book Gamache must uncover them all.

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Things sometimes fell apart unexpectedly. It was not necessarily a reflection of how much they were valued.

Louise Penny kicks off KINGDOM OF THE BLIND right where the previous book, GLASS HOUSES, left off. The entire sub-story happening behind the main case in KINGDOM OF THE BLIND is a continuation into a situation that Gamache is personally tied to having let happen, which ultimately led to his current suspension. This underlying tension and feeling of guilt drive his character throughout not only this secondary situation, but also in solving the mystery surrounding the will and the linked dead body. Penny consistently throughout this series has made the reader genuinely feel whatever emotions the characters are experiencing and this book is another example of that coming to life.

The characters of this book are certainly the main driving force behind this book, as well as the entire series. This series is always one I recommend reading in order and think KINGDOM OF THE BLIND is a perfect example of why this is necessary. Without my previous understanding of the situation in GLASS HOUSES I would have been lost on the details to the carryover story. I also don’t believe that I would feel as deeply connected to the cast of characters living in Three Pines or working for the Surete without having read about them previously and feeling connected through their various parts in the previous books. For example, there is a small love story building in the background for one of the Three Pines residents and even though I’m not a romantic reader, I felt myself really cheering for the characters relationship to work. I don’t think that bond would be as strong for someone stepping freshly into the Gamache world with this book.

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It was always what you couldn’t see that hurt you.

I cannot recommend enough this series to mystery/crime fiction fans. It’s not dark, it’s not an edge-of-your-seat thriller, but it is extremely human. The emotions that people feel for each other, tragic situations, death, etc. are all incredibly genuine throughout these books that I feel a sense of home each time I read these books. I also strongly encourage listening to the books in audiobook format, as the narration is top notch.

Disclosure: A special thank you to Minotaur Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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