Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dark Mysteries Abound in Recent Audiobooks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dark Mysteries Abound in Recent Audiobooks

Article excerpt


by Louise Penny

Read by Robert Bathurst

Macmillan Audio; 13 hours and 32 minutes

A new Inspector Gamache book is a much-anticipated event for Louise Penny fans, and "Glass Houses" is no exception. Book 13 in the series quickly and deservedly became a best seller.

But "Glass Houses" is something of a departure for Penny, beginning in the midst of a trial, with Gamache on the stand. The weather is broiling hot, but that's not the only reason Gamache is sweating.

The usually cool French Canadian cop, now boss of the Surete de Quebec, the provincial police force, is fighting a plague of drugs and organized crime, most flowing north over the U.S. border. The situation is dire, and the possible solution may require Gamache to "burn our ships," instituting a plan from which there is no return, and test his conscience along the way.

The story goes on to jump from present to past, trial to Three Pines, the beyond-charming Quebec village at the heart of the series. For a long time, we don't know who was murdered (Penny loves to wrap her mysteries in enigmas), why or how.

Newcomers to the Gamache series shouldn't start with "Glass Houses." I made that mistake with the previous entry, "A Great Reckoning," not realizing it was the 12th in a series, and then went back to start at the beginning, with 2007's "Still Life."

But "Glass Houses" is less typical for the series than its predecessor, featuring both a grimmer premise and more action, including one scene that caused me to shout "no, no, no!" and another that made me miss my highway exit.

Possible distraction while driving isn't the only reason "Glass Houses" might be a better read than a listen. The time jumps and gradual revelations can be confusing, and being able to flip back a few pages would sometimes be helpful. Reader Robert Bathurst, though, puts us right inside Gamache's head, always a joy.

Those who follow the Gamache series for its mysteries (anybody?) will likely be happier with "Glass Houses" than those who read for the characters and quirky humor. I probably could never get enough of scenes in the bistro and bookstore, in Clara's art studio or the Gamaches' cozy kitchen, and although there is some of that in "Glass Houses," I would gladly have sacrificed some of the police work for even more.



by Ruth Ware

Read by Imogen Church

Simon & Schuster; 13 hours and 39 minutes

Four former roommates at a British boarding school reunite two decades later, after an emergency call from one, in a new mystery from the author of "The Woman in Cabin 10." What did these girls, now women, do that has them keeping a dark secret all these years later?

Ware is very good at creating believably annoying characters, as she proved in her previous thriller. In "The Lying Game," she gives us several, but also a solid protagonist in Isa, a lawyer and new mother who brings her baby along to the remote coastal marsh where her friend Kate still lives along in a crumbling mill. …

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