All the Devils Are Here (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #16), by Louise Penny

Nine stars

This was my first NetGalley audiobook and I hope it is not the last. I loved it!

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Louise Penny, and Macmillan Audio for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Louise Penny returns with the sixteenth novel in this gripping series, which takes the reader out of the comforts of Three Pines. There is, however, no lack of action or intrigue in this book, as Armand Gamache is as sharp as ever. Having traveled to Paris to witness the birth of his granddaughter, Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache have organized a family dinner. Alongside the Gamaches and their respective spouses, is Stephen Horowitz, Armand’s godfather and a billionaire financier. When Stephen is run over as they leave the meal, he is rushed to the hospital, though Armand Gamache feels this is anything but a random accident After Armand and Reine-Marie make their way to Stephen’s apartment, they discover the body of a recently murdered man, with the killer’s lingering cologne still in the air. Armand brings his former second-in-command and current son-in-law, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, into his inner circle and wonders if he might be able to help. Burdened with his own job, Beauvoir will do his best to assist in the informal investigation, though he is already juggling his job with an engineering firm, still baffled as to how he landed the position. While the authorities take charge, the investigation spans most of Paris, as Gamache soon discovers that nothing is quite as it seems and that no one can be trusted. In a case that has many twists that reveal countless layers, Armand Gamache will end up neck-deep in the investigation, though he is supposed to be on holiday. The deeper he trolls, the more he learns, though some of it will surely be secrets he wishes he had never unearthed. As Stephen Horowitz clings to life, someone lurks in the shadows with a motive to snuff out the life of this elderly man. Who that is will come out in the most telling of ways. Penny outdoes herself again with this piece, which will keep the reader riveted until the final reveal. Recommended to those who love this series, as well as readers who cannot pass up a superbly crafted mystery.

I got hooked on these books when someone recommended I try the first one and have not been able to stop. While they are surely binge-worthy, Louise Penny writes in such a way that reading one and spacing them out works just as well. Even though the bucolic setting for the story has drastically shifted, there is no lack to the action of key characters. Armand Gamache is back in his role of protagonist, as sharp as he’s ever been. There is a great deal of backstory and personal growth that the reader will witness throughout this piece, beginning with some key flashbacks to set the scene between himself and Stephen Horowitz. There are also some key points throughout where Gamache spends some face to face time with his eldest child, Daniel, as they discuss the deterioration of the relationship and how it might be mended. Penny keeps the Chief Inspector in his role effectively, even though he is out of his jurisdiction, and the reader can revel in the magic of the detective work. There are others who play a key role in the story and their presence flavours the tale. The reader is sure to enjoy the many names and characters used to add depth to the plot’s development. I was a tad concerned when I realised that the story would not be in Quebec, but the busy streets of Paris. This was soon allayed as Louise Penny was able to craft something that pulls the reader into the middle and develops a mystery that would not fall flat. There are so many layers to this piece and the reader will have to sift through a great deal, but the final prize is worth the effort. With a mix of chapter lengths, there is no telling how the twists will emerge or what awaits within the pages, but Penny does not skimp at any point, offering series fans with something they have waited to see for many novels. Crisp, poignant, and without fillers, Penny delivers and provides fans proof that she has much more to say with this series. Here’s hoping she sticks with it, as I know she has many who adore her work! Robert Barthhurst remains a stunning narrator and I cannot say enough about his clear and crisp delivery of the story.

Kudos, Madam Penny, for another stellar piece. Please keep the ideas coming and know you have many who hang on your every word.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: