How The Light Gets In by Louise Penny

How The Light Gets In Book Cover How The Light Gets In
Louise Penny
Little Brown Books
August 27, 2013

Struggling to maintain the Homicide group during the holiday season in the wake of interdepartmental estrangements, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache quietly investigates the disappearance of a once-famous mad poet while seeking a safe haven for his loyal colleagues in an increasingly hostile town.

I’d not come across Louise Penny or her characters before so I was pleased to be able to try something that was fresh for me. The first chapter grabbed me immediately. There seemed to be an old-fashioned,  timeless feel to the characters and writing which is appealing. I found it a great antidote to the modernity of current cop thrillers, guns and chases. However I also found the plot ingenious and well worked. There are a number of cleverly woven story lines. For all the feel of something gentle, both in the setting of Three Pines and the character of Gamache, the story still manages to create a high degree of tension.

On one level it certainly is a cop thriller type story however I found it vastly superior to a number of books that are marketed in that way. The thriller aspect is very good and well paced however even catching the series at this late stage I found wonderfully well rounded and interesting characters revealed to me. Their flaws and their qualities are nicely balanced and portrayed and I can easily understand some of the reviews of fans of the series. There is a sense of comfort, of meeting an old friend even for someone who has only just met these characters and Three Pines (which is a character itself). I found it a deeply satisfying read and it had that familiar feeling you get with all really good books as you approach the end – you are desperate to know how it will end but you don’t want the story to finish. I’ve now bought some of the earlier books in the series and will look forward to getting to know some of the people better. For those who have not come across Louise Penny’s work before I would highly recommend it however you may want to start a little earlier in the series than this. If you decide not to don’t worry – you will want to read the earlier ones by the time you finish. For those who know the characters you don’t really me to tell you just how good this story is – you will probably be buying it anyway and rightly so.

Note – I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review