A Better Man

A Better Man

Book - 2019
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It's Gamache's first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter. As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.
Publisher: New York :, Minotaur Books,, 2019
Edition: First U.S. edition, First International edition
Branch Call Number: FIC Penny
Characteristics: 437 pages ; 25 cm

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s
suzski
Dec 04, 2019

Can't wait for the next book - I want to live in Three Pines. Foodies winter paradise.

PimaLib_ChristineR Dec 03, 2019

Have you ever had a word you didn't even know you knew, pop into your head? While I was reading A Better Man, the word "twee" kept floating around in my brain. I looked it up. It is actually a word and means, according to the Collins Dictionary, "excessively sentimental, sweet, or pretty." And unfortunately, it fits A Better Man to a T. Along with "plotless" and "tired."

In the opening pages we are subjected to a "Gamache moment" that encompasses the increasing problem of his character. First someone will misunderstand how brilliant, compassionate and faithful Gamache is. Then that person will be set straight by others, or circumstances, to realize that yes, Gamache really is that brilliant, compassionate and faithful, with a side of rose and sandalwood. Only this time it isn't just one person, it appears that the entire internet is ablaze with hate for Gamache. They misunderstand him. They doctor videos of him. Is there any resolution there? Any lesson to be learned? There is not. And it isn't only Gamache. The entire village of Three Pines is varnished with the same saccharine brushstrokes. These characters and places we love have become caricatures of themselves.

The murder mystery itself is pretty good and would have made quite an interesting short story, but there was so much else going on, that I actually had to go back and reread the denouement because I had already forgotten who had done it and why. Most of the book feels like rabbit trails. An analysis of social media? Dropped. Clara's art career? Handled almost as unbelievably as the drug situation in her last novel. The flood of the century? Disappears mid-novel with no further mention. Looking back at my thoughts on the book, I think it is fair to say that her editors allowed Penny to wallow in every overly-sentimental trough to which she has been drawn in the past, and it didn't do her any favors. The first moment she decided she wanted to use an excerpt from Moby Dick as her running motif, the editors should have pulled hard on the reins. Instead we're left with this overdrawn, overblown story, the inverse of Clara's hated miniature portraits. I can only hope that like Clara, Penny will realize she's put out a novel unworthy of her talents and correct course.

2
21221018293347
Nov 28, 2019

What isn't there to like about Armand Gamache, Beauvoir, and the team, as well as favourite inhabitants of Three Pines. Right when you think the story will end, there is another 1/2 book more as evidence is thrown out of court. Back to the grindstone for our favorite homicide detectives. Engaging, fast paced, and room for another book to follow as Beauvoir and Annie make plans to move to Paris.

d
DeltaLady
Nov 13, 2019

I got through the book but with all the short, choppy, non-grammatical sentences I almost felt short of breath reading it. So annoying.

l
lpreston214
Nov 03, 2019

Several reviewers didn't like this installment in Penny's Inspector Gamache series. I thought it was one of her best. While there was some politics etc. Most of the time spent on an actual crime and trying to solve it. I did figure out who had dunnit but there were lots of twists and turns getting there. I loved it. Kind of getting back to basics. I love the author's aphorisms. In this book we learned three questions you should ask yourself before speaking: "is it true?" "is it kind?" "does it need to be said?". Wise words. Also as for how it turned out I could not help thinking of Captain Kirk's decision to take a demotion so he could be captain of the Enterprise again. It leaves a feeling that all's right with the world.

t
therapymutt
Oct 26, 2019

didn't finish. was slow and too many random french words just to point out that french is spoken in quebec

k
kvanmooresma
Oct 23, 2019

I was SO disappointed by this book. I have loved this series, and have been looking forward to "A Better Man" for months, and it was just such a let-down.

Her writing style seemed to change, and this book is filled with sentences. Broken up. Into multiple sentences. For no reason. So, so many sentence fragments. I do that occasionally, in texts, to emphasize a point, but doing it constantly throughout the book makes the technique lose all sense of emphasis and just gets really annoying.

Also (and this is maybe just me?), some of the story line just didn't make sense. Yes, having a young woman who's pregnant get abused and then killed is terrible, but it is not remotely the most terrible thing that these cops have seen. And yet, they all immediately take it personally and see it as something so horrible that they are unable to be unbiased. It just didn't seem to be in character.

It was a fine book. If I hadn't read any of her other books, I would probably have not been as annoyed and disappointed. I just expected so much more.

m
maryebarr
Oct 22, 2019

Another great trip to Three Pines at the beginning of a major flood. Parts of the plot just did not make sense to me. The discussion of the deterrent of the flood province wide was not followed up. I could do with less duck and foul language, but enjoyed the story.

m
midori_hon
Oct 18, 2019

louise penny makes me want to go out and get a dog (high praise for those who know me and that I inadvertently was adopted by a cat.) some other reviewers had issues with the murder, some with the sentence structure, I was still enthralled with the people and their deep affection for one another. wouldn't have minded more meal descriptions, though.

s
sloanelCPL
Oct 17, 2019

With Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache/Three Pines novels, even when a book is not my favourite in the series, it's still a 5-star. I read this in two sittings and loved it. The characterization is so compelling one is drawn into relationship with the members of the team and the residents of Three Pines. To paraphrase Penny, "How lucky we are to live in Three Pines. IN every way. With you. We are never alone."

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