Book Review: The Brutal Telling

BrutalTellingjpgAuthor: Louise Penny


Genre: Mystery

My Rating: A+

Twenty minutes ago I finished reading The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. I should probably wait to tell you my thoughts because they aren’t very coherent. I’m at a WOW! phase. I feel as if I should do nothing but tell you to just go read her books, but I’ll try to be a little more with-it.

This is book number five in her Chief Inspector Gamache series. Originally, fellow bloggers told me to read her books and they were so right. I swear that each book is better than the previous one. The Brutal Telling had the complex plotting I’ve come to expect, but went way beyond my expectations for a rich story. Let me share a summary of the story:

“. . . a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness.

No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him?

As Olivier grows more frantic, a trail of clues and treasures from first editions of Charlotte’s Web and Jane Eyre to a spider web with the word “WOE” woven in it lead the Chief Inspector deep into the woods and across the continent in search of the truth, and finally back to Three Pines as the little village braces for the truth and the final, brutal telling.”

As you can see, the story still features this series’ usual cast of characters: Chief Inspector Gamache, Beauvior, Clara and Peter, Ruth, Gabri and Olivier. Each book in this series has focused around a different person in the village of Three Pines. In The Brutal Telling the author introduced us to some very interesting newcomers that added so much to the story such as a new member of the team, the new owners of the old Hadley house and a very classy superintendent of the Suerete who is very knowledge about art.

In addition to the plot and characters, we are given other things to think about. For example, there’s the subject of Down’s Syndrome, homosexuality, priceless art taken from Nazi Germany, and the interpretation of murder vs. manslaughter.

For me this is the ultimate in what I want from a good book:

  • an intricate, believable plot
  • multi-faceted characters that mimic real people
  • something serious to think about.

This is now my second A+ book of the year. I’m having a good reading year, aren’t I? Louise Penny has a new book coming out the end of August. I have three more novels to go before then. It’s my goal but its not a hardship. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

If you haven’t read any of Louise Penny’s books, seriously, change that. Start with her first book, Still Life, and you’ll want to go on through them all. You’ll thanks me later for insisting that you do.

Louise Penny’s beautiful website is here: Louise Penny

This entry was posted in A+ Books, Audiobooks, Mysteries and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Book Review: The Brutal Telling

  1. I haven’t read Penny’s work yet and it sounds like I’ve really been missing out. I will have to remedy that soon!

  2. Ti says:

    I love the wow phase. I have yet to read one of her books but there are at least two on my Goodread’s list. I love, love, love the cover of this one.

  3. Mystica says:

    I’ve read some of her work but this is a new one for me. Thanks for the post.

  4. MaryR says:

    I love Louise Penny’s books and second your advice that anyone who hasn’t read them should do so immediately. I have read all but her most recent Three Pines novel and they do keep getting better. You are in for a treat in one of the upcoming ones (I forget which) there is another perspective given on Olivier’s story from Brutal Telling which is fascinating.

  5. I listened to Still Life on audiobook a few months back – while on the treadmill at the gym. Loved it!! I love her characters and her plotting. I will look for this one, too! 😉 -beth

  6. Staci says:

    I love your 3 things that make a book a good book!! I am loving this series and if it hadn’t been for your review of book one I would not have read them at all. I want to get caught up for her newest release too!!!

  7. FleurFisher says:

    Wow! An A+ this far into a series is impressive, and clearly its time for me to catch up. I think I’m at book 3, but I drifted away because the UK publishers atarted changing titles and I kept thinking I’d found a new book and then discovering I hadn’t.

  8. I do thank you! (I hope I already did!). And thank you so much for letting me know she has another one coming out…I’ll go to Amazon and see if I can pre-order. Have fun catching up… I actually envy you having some more of her to read.

  9. Beth F says:

    Once I get past my busy season, I’ve got to make a promise to myself to read one of her books.

  10. Gunnar says:

    I am reading the Murder stone by Louise Penny and the Brutal Telling will be the next. I think she writes a little bit like Caroline Graham’s Midsomer Murder. I don’ t know if you agree.

  11. kelley says:

    Another new to me author from your lips to my ears 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *