A Better Man

A Better Man

Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Surete du Quebec in the latest novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny. 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-G...

DownloadRead Online
Title:A Better Man
Author:Louise Penny
Rating:
Edition Language:English

A Better Man Reviews

  • Diane S ☔

    Everytime I start reading a Louise Penny novel I am confronted with a dilemma. Do I read it quickly because really I don't want to put it down, or do I read it slowly because I don't want it to end? How does she do it? This is the 15th I the Three Pines series and it keeps getting better and better. In this one, I my opinion, she outdid herself, combining some important issues of the day, with an outstanding, difficult to solve mystery. The issues of climate change, abuse and the devastation it

    Everytime I start reading a Louise Penny novel I am confronted with a dilemma. Do I read it quickly because really I don't want to put it down, or do I read it slowly because I don't want it to end? How does she do it? This is the 15th I the Three Pines series and it keeps getting better and better. In this one, I my opinion, she outdid herself, combining some important issues of the day, with an outstanding, difficult to solve mystery. The issues of climate change, abuse and the devastation it causes, and the good and bad of social media. All combined seamlessly in the lives of various members of the community we have come to love.

    She shows us the many depths of personality that can live inside one person. Characteristics based on the past, the present, life experiences that make us the people we are. She shows us friendship, love, respect, integrity, compassion, kindness and the struggle to know when to hold on and when to let go. Ratchets up the tension and then fits in some appropriate humor that makes us laugh. Oddly enough a new character comes to Three Pines and affects the future of one member. This was a particularly emotional entry in the series as one chapter closes and a new one begins. And now I am resolved, as I await the next in this stellar series.

    "That twisted reality, until malice and truth were intertwined and indistinguishable."

    ARC from Minotaur books.

  • Linda

    "He knew that few people would look at him and imagine the wreckage he'd crawled out of not all that long ago."

    Louise Penny shifts the current in A Better Man with our beloved Armand Gamache not as sure-footed, not as dynamic, not as on top of his game as in previous novels. Indeed, it's a turnabout that was difficult for the readers to embrace in the beginning portion of this book. I felt that things were a bit unsteady for the community of Three Pines in which I consider myself a c

    "He knew that few people would look at him and imagine the wreckage he'd crawled out of not all that long ago."

    Louise Penny shifts the current in A Better Man with our beloved Armand Gamache not as sure-footed, not as dynamic, not as on top of his game as in previous novels. Indeed, it's a turnabout that was difficult for the readers to embrace in the beginning portion of this book. I felt that things were a bit unsteady for the community of Three Pines in which I consider myself a card carrying member.

    Perhaps it was just time for all of us to consider that nothing, over time, stays the same. We are all products of the crap storms we are caught up in in this life......some brought on by our own actions and some at the receiving end of that dirty stick handed to us by others. You can't lean against a zebra without feeling his stripes.

    And so it is with Gamache who hardly recovered intact from a horrendous drug bust in the last novel in which he and Jean-Guy nearly lost their lives. The weight of his decisions in regard to the raid cost him his superb title and rendered a demotion that he drank from a bitter cup. But Gamache stills serves his people with dignity, a bit tarnished, but with dignity.

    Agent Lysette Cloutier, a newer member of the team, has brought a missing persons report to the attention of Gamache and Jean-Guy. Vivienne Goudin has not been seen for days and her husband is under suspicion. He claims that she just took off on her own. The police are not buying what this guy is selling. But in the course of the investigation, the banks of the Bella Bella River are overflowing and the dam may well be, too. Our well known groupies of Three Pines are sandbagging as fast as they can.

    Louise Penny reminds us in A Better Man that no human on Earth is left untouched by the sepsis of social media, Mother Nature's wrath, and people refusing to put down their urns of hate. We feel the sting either directly or indirectly, but it's always there. Three Pines, although a beacon of hope and comfort, finds itself caught up in the harsh winds of change that can leave destruction in its path.

    The mystery element in this one was a slow building one and much unlike previous novels by Penny. But as we traveled the ascending arc of these actions, it soon became a search for discovery like the many zippered pockets and compartments of a traveling bag. There was far more to this one than what initially meets the eye.

    And I always savor the Author's Notes at the end by Louise Penny. There was far more to the character of Fred than what we imagined as well. Perhaps that's what one beholds in A Better Man. In a constantly darkening world in which the "take down" reigns, don't ever check your heart at the door. It's a necessity now more than ever. Don't leave home without it.

  • Esil

    Our date came a bit early this year, Armand, which makes it bitter sweet. Sweet because I got to catch up with you and our friends in Three Pines a little earlier in the summer than usual. Bitter because our time together is already over until next year.

    I found this year’s dose of Louise Penny got off to a slow start. Armand Gamache is struggling, as usual, with his place in the Quebec police, and the mystery at the centre of A Better Man focuses on a seemingly straightforward missin

    Our date came a bit early this year, Armand, which makes it bitter sweet. Sweet because I got to catch up with you and our friends in Three Pines a little earlier in the summer than usual. Bitter because our time together is already over until next year.

    I found this year’s dose of Louise Penny got off to a slow start. Armand Gamache is struggling, as usual, with his place in the Quebec police, and the mystery at the centre of A Better Man focuses on a seemingly straightforward missing person case. And I must admit that the story itself didn’t really grow much in intensity for me. Armand continued to struggle. The people of Three Pines were thrown into turmoil because Clara’s paintings are getting bad reviews. And I quickly guessed what was meant to be a not so obvious resolution to the missing person plot.

    But for true fans of Louise Penny, like me, the plot is often beside the point. As usual, Armand, his family, his colleagues and his neighbours make up for any plot weaknesses. It’s hard not to be enthralled by these deep feeling and thinking characters, who are also equipped with a good sense of humour and a love for the good things in life. Despite the murders and carnage, Louise Penny presents an inspiring and warm world view of human connections. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence, but I can’t think of any other way to express it.)

    But because this was not my favourite of Penny’s books, I thought I should probably be fair and give it 4 stars rather than my usual 5 stars. And then I read her afterword, and I knew I couldn’t rate this one any less than 5 stars. Penny explains why she named one of the dogs in the book Fred, which made me teary. Then she explained that “these books are about community. About love and belonging. And the great gift of friendship.” Indeed! So the afterword pulled me over the 5 star line – not for the first time -- and it’s another five stars for me. Because, despite the plot’s weaknesses, these are the feelings I walk away with each year after I finish Penny’s latest offering.

    So, goodbye for now, Armand. I hope you’re planning something good for next year. In the meantime, enjoy your family and friends, and don’t get into too much trouble ;)

    Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me access to an advance copy.

  • Paromjit

    Louise Penny is a treasure when it comes to the world of crime fiction, this is a stunning addition to this stellar series set in the village of Three Pines in Quebec, Canada, featuring the incomparable and wise Chief Inspector Gamache, having now been demoted by those more spineless, self serving and ambitious, wanting to besmirch the reputation of a man they perceive as having too much power and a threat. They never expected Gamache to accept the demotion to Head of Homicide from being Chief b

    Louise Penny is a treasure when it comes to the world of crime fiction, this is a stunning addition to this stellar series set in the village of Three Pines in Quebec, Canada, featuring the incomparable and wise Chief Inspector Gamache, having now been demoted by those more spineless, self serving and ambitious, wanting to besmirch the reputation of a man they perceive as having too much power and a threat. They never expected Gamache to accept the demotion to Head of Homicide from being Chief but they fail to comprehend the kind of man he is, why he inspires such loyalty and respect in others, he has no ego and wishes merely to be the best police officer he can be. It's a joy to see the return of beloved characters, even the rude, indomitable, cantankerous elderly poet, Ruth Zardo, and her familiar, the duck, Myrna, Reine-Marie, and all the others. The artist, Clara, is having a particularly tumultuous time, with her latest works, the miniatures, not being well received, in fact her reputation is being trashed on social media, with many questioning if she ever had any artistic abilities at all.

    Gamache's return to the Surete du Quebec goes down even less well on social media with a tirade of vile postings, not to mention fake videos. Those who know Gamache are outraged at the lies and vitriol being expressed but Gamache has an inner strength that can weather almost anything. Work colleagues and friends observe closely at how well he will take to being under the command of Jean-Guy Beauvoir, his protege and son-in-law, around for 2 weeks before quitting the police to move to Paris to embark on a new life. Agent Lysette Cloutier and Gamache inquire into a missing pregnant woman, Vivienne Godin, who failed to turn up at her father, Homer's home. Homer is frantic, and with good reason, Vivienne is married to an abusive husband, the ceramic artist, the deplorable and nasty piece of work that is Carl Tracey. In the meantime, the weather is atrocious for April with no sign of spring, and even worse the worst flooding, threatening death and destruction is being forecast for Quebec. Herculean efforts are required from the Three Pines residents as they build sandbag defences on the banks of the Bella Bella river to try and save the village.

    Two phrases ring true throughout in this novel, all truth in malice, and what might appear to be more contradictory, things are strongest when they are broken. Penny writes with humanity and compassion, with insight and wisdom on the contradictions and complexities of individuals, no-one is purely good, not even Gamache, or just evil. The strengths of this series are the rich complicated, often quirky, characters, from Ruth to Jean-Guy, and their development. Three Pines is a village of people who love and support one another, a force to be reckoned with as they come together to fight the threat of catastrophic dangerous flooding, illustrating their strength as a community, no-one is alone. This was a fantastic, moving and profound crime read, one which I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending highly. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  • Carolyn

    *4.5* stars. It is always a joy to read a new book by Louise Penny, and to be transported to her stellar creation, the fictional village of Three Pines, Quebec and its residents. I not only appreciate the atmospheric storytelling where I can visualize the place and people, but I want to live there. I feel that I already know the villagers. This is the 15th book set in Three Pines, and the author has maintained her usual high quality.

    These books are police procedural/mysteries. With each new on

    *4.5* stars. It is always a joy to read a new book by Louise Penny, and to be transported to her stellar creation, the fictional village of Three Pines, Quebec and its residents. I not only appreciate the atmospheric storytelling where I can visualize the place and people, but I want to live there. I feel that I already know the villagers. This is the 15th book set in Three Pines, and the author has maintained her usual high quality.

    These books are police procedural/mysteries. With each new one, we get further insights into the well-developed characters, with all their strengths and human weaknesses.

    Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, a kind and wise man, had been head of the Surete du Quebec. After a high risk and mostly successful police raid, some officers were killed or injured. Gamache was demoted by individuals who resented his power and risk-taking. His loss was to be their political and professional gain. He is offered the position as head of the Homicide Department, never thinking that Gamache would not to prefer to remain retired in disgrace. He would now be working alongside, but under the command of his son-in-law, Jean-Guy, whom he once mentored and who he chose as his second-Jan-command. Gamache accepts, only wanting to solve crimes in any capacity. Most who knew Gamache still have great loyalty and respect for him.

    Powerful forces still resent his return to the Surete du Quebec. Vile postings and a fake video are circulating on the internet deploring his new posting. At the same time, Clara’s recent paintings of scenic miniatures are being reviled on social media, with postings indicating the belief that she never had any artistic talent.

    Clara is distraught, and her friend, Myrna tries to comfort her. They frequently meet at the inn, and the elderly and foul-mouthed Ruth, a prize-winning poet, is often in the background with her pet duck. She manages to keep things stirred up with her nasty comments. I regret we didn’t see more this time of Gabi and Oliver, owners of the inn.

    A catastrophic flood is threatening Montreal and also Three Pines. Most of the police force have been deployed to handle a possible natural disaster. Sandbags are being piled up along the river at Three Pines. A father, Homer Godin is frantic about his missing daughter, Vivienne, who he thinks was on her way to see him. She was married to a domineering and abusive husband, Carl, who did a bit of farming and dabbled in creating pottery. She was the victim of his beatings and was kept isolated from her father and potential friends.

    When her body is found it is believed she was escaping the abusive husband and was murdered. She was pregnant at the time of her death, and Carl is the prime suspect. Jean-Guy heads up the murder investigation. This is to be his final case as a police officer as he is soon moving to Paris to work in the private sector. Carl goes on trial charged with the killing of his wife but is freed due to technicalities. Homer, her father, is enraged, as Gamache assured him that Carl would be convicted and punished. Homer vows to kill Carl. He is moved into Gamache’s home, with the aim of protecting him from murdering the most likely suspect in his daughter’s death.

    The pace slows down as Jean-Guy, Gamache and team sit around discussing clues and evidence to order a new trial for Carl. They also ponder other possible suspects, their relationships with Vivienne, possible motives and methods.

    The murder investigation speeds up with a dangerous, pulse-pounding climax. There are some twists and help from unexpected sources during which a very complex plot is revealed. Recommended.

  • Matt

    After getting my hands on the latest Louise Penny novel, I could not wait to get started. This explosive series, set in rural Quebec, gives not only the feel of a wonderful mystery but also hones in on all things Canadian. After serving his suspension, Armand Gamache is back in his position as Chief Inspector within the Sûreté du Québec, though there is a whispered power struggle within Homicide. While many are worried about how it will resolve itself, Gamache wants only to work and agrees to in

    After getting my hands on the latest Louise Penny novel, I could not wait to get started. This explosive series, set in rural Quebec, gives not only the feel of a wonderful mystery but also hones in on all things Canadian. After serving his suspension, Armand Gamache is back in his position as Chief Inspector within the Sûreté du Québec, though there is a whispered power struggle within Homicide. While many are worried about how it will resolve itself, Gamache wants only to work and agrees to investigate a query of a pregnant woman whose gone missing. When Gamache arrives, he meets the woman’s husband, a known abuser, who explains that he has no idea where his wife might be, but could not care less. Gamache gets a bad feeling about it all, but is equally distracted when Quebec’s spring thaw begins to cause issues. His community of Three Pines is set to flood, which could be devastating if the floodwaters don’t drop soon. With no signs of the pregnant Vivienne Godin, Gamache tries to determine if there may have been foul play, which is exacerbated when a body is discovered amongst some cracked ice close to a bridge. The receding waters reveal much, including a potential murder scene, with the perfect suspect who denies having anything to do with his wife’s death. Trying to connect the dots, Gamache turns to some of his fellow villagers, who use social media to coax out a slew of information. Will it be enough to convict a man who holds his wife in such low regard that she is only good as a punching bag? Additionally, the higher-ups within the Sûreté are keeping a close eye on Gamache, especially as old troubles have an uncanny way of resurfacing. Could the Chief Inspector’s return have been a set-up to bury him once and for all? A wonderful addition to this stellar series, sure to keep fans wanting more. Recommended to those who have loved Armand Gamache from the early Three Pines days, as well as readers who enjoy police procedurals with a Canadian flavour.

    After a major binge of the series last summer, I was forced to wait like the rest of the Penny fans for this newest piece in the Gamache series. It was well worth the wait, though I know Penny has had some personal issues, which makes the publication of this piece even more exciting. Gamache remains on point, working through the blips that had him sidelined and trying to keep from letting the politics of the job get to him. Still eager to help, both within the Sûreté and towards his friends in the Eastern Townships, Gamache makes his mark in a variety of ways. Keen to solve crimes, he has little time for those who seek to circumvent justice or cut corners to get the answers they want. Other characters continue to evolve in the series, though the locals are more background than at the forefront of the case. There are a few new faces whose presence could become more regular, depending on how Penny chooses to advance the series. I am eager to see how this will all play out in the coming years. The story remains exciting and fresh, though there are some significant mentions of past events, which thicken the plot and the series development effectively. Penny has a wonderful handle on the series, even fifteen books in. She represents Canada and the genre so well, choosing interesting plot twists that keep the reader wondering. Established chapters and current events weave together a story that many readers will surely devour, as I did, leaving them begging for more. The need for patience is high by the time the book ends, but there is still so much to learn. Alas, it will likely be another year or so.

    Kudos, Madam Penny, for dazzling your fans with another strong novel. Gamache is in good hands under your guidance.

    Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

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

  • JanB

    In the midst of a threat from devastating Spring floods, Vivienne Godin, 25 and pregnant, is missing, her father is frantic, and her drunken, abusive husband, Carl Tracey, is suspected at having a hand in her disappearance. As the father of a daughter the same age, Gamache finds himself increasingly unable to stay objective as they search for the missing woman. Mistakes are made. A side plot included vicious social media attacks on Gamache for his past actions.

    At the same time Clara

    In the midst of a threat from devastating Spring floods, Vivienne Godin, 25 and pregnant, is missing, her father is frantic, and her drunken, abusive husband, Carl Tracey, is suspected at having a hand in her disappearance. As the father of a daughter the same age, Gamache finds himself increasingly unable to stay objective as they search for the missing woman. Mistakes are made. A side plot included vicious social media attacks on Gamache for his past actions.

    At the same time Clara is publicly criticized for her art, but I found this side plot uninteresting. And somehow I missed the significance of the flooding.

    It pains me to do this but it’s time for me and Armand to part ways. I’ve loved this series from the start but it has lost it’s charm. There was a lot of repetitiveness, unprofessional and unrealistic behavior and attitudes in Gamache and the other detectives, and the case is not truly investigated until the last 25%. The moral lessons are heavy-handed and Gamache himself has become insufferable. I won’t list all the instances that caused my eyes to roll, but there were many.

    There are plenty of people who still find this series charming and wonderful, but I’ve not found it to be so for several recent books. Sometimes readers outgrow a series and that’s the case with me. I’m giving it 3 stars for the history I have with this series and my respect for the author.

    • I received a copy of the book from Edelweiss. All opinions ae my own.

    • This was a buddy read with Marialyce, and both of us were left disappointed. For this review and others please visit

  • Marialyce

    2.5 stars

    I have always been a Louise Penny enthusiastic reader and always awaited her new books with lots of anticipation and happiness. So I am totally bummed that I didn't like this book as much as I had hoped.

    I know that different readers have contrasting reactions to stories and in that we see how people are different in what they read and feel. It makes reading a book so very interesting because we can view divergent opinions and ways of looking at things.

    What I found in this story

    2.5 stars

    I have always been a Louise Penny enthusiastic reader and always awaited her new books with lots of anticipation and happiness. So I am totally bummed that I didn't like this book as much as I had hoped.

    I know that different readers have contrasting reactions to stories and in that we see how people are different in what they read and feel. It makes reading a book so very interesting because we can view divergent opinions and ways of looking at things.

    What I found in this story that set me off was the repetitious nature of the book. Perhaps it was because of having read all the others in this series that I felt there was material that I had heard many times. Another thing was how I felt the whole persona of Gamache changed in this story. I always thought he was a strong character, a man who always seems to know what to do, and yet in this go round he seemed tenuous, unsure, and weak. I was disappointed to see a change in him. Perhaps the author was trying to make him more human and vulnerable but sometimes it made him seem supercilious and sanctimonious. The other characters just didn't have the charisma they once had and of course this made me not care as much about them as I use to.

    I did like the last section of the story which really did show the investigative process we so often saw in all the other books in this series. I wish that this could have been the whole focus of the book. It was too late to save what for me was an uninteresting read.

    So, I walk away with a less than a positive view of this book, knowing full well that so many have and will love this story. I do have a lot of respect for this author and of course my opinion is just that an opinion. Please do look at the other reviews as most of them are glowing.

    Thank you to Edelweiss for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Jan and I were quite anxious to read this fifteenth novel in this series. Inspector Gamanche, his family, and the residents of Three Pines have always intrigued us and as we have followed these books we have developed a fondness for all the characters. So, it was with lots of anticipation, we read this new recently published book.

    To see our duo reviews, you can go here:

  • karen Moore

    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 (an

    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.

  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)

    There WILL be a new Inspector Gamache book! #15 coming out in August.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.