Review written by Carolyn Melvin, SiCCO Treasurer
One of my all-time favorite mystery authors is Louise Penny. I eagerly await each of her releases with great anticipation, and I have never known her to disappoint. The Nature of the Beast, the newest in her Chief Inspector Gamache series, is a different, in that it is a bit more thriller than mystery, but for me, it was still among her better efforts.
Armand Gamache, retired from his position as the head of homicide for the Surete of Quebec, and his wife, Reine Marie have moved to Three Pines, an almost magical Quebecois village across the border from Vermont. Among his circle of friends, Gamache befriends nine year old Laurent Lepage, an out-going boy with a vivid imagination. Each day Laurent races home from his adventures exploring the woods near his home with stories of alien invasions, wild beasts and other amazing creatures. When he arrives home one afternoon insisting that everyone should come to see something extraordinary that he has found, no one takes him seriously, including Gamache. When Laurent disappears, and is later found dead, Gamache becomes involved in the investigation with his former colleagues from the Surete.
The usual cast of quirky characters is back, and, as always, I love the dialogue and the humor. Penny is unsurpassed in her ability to build a sense of heart-stopping urgency. In her earlier books the stakes were more personal. This time, Penny creates a threat with potential world-wide impact. I highly recommend this book.