Book Review: Still Life by Louise Penny

Book Review: Still Life by Louise Penny

Goodreads Description:

Winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called into the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it's a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

With this award-winning first novel, Louise Penny introduces an engaging hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces--and this series--with power, ingenuity, and charm.

My Thoughts:

I had high expectations going into this read, and I was left a bit disappointed. The story started off strong with the death of Jane Neal, living in a small town everyone is shocked and wanting to figure out what happened. Three Pines was a wonderful setting, I love reading about small towns. Since it does take place not far from where I live, I was all the more interested and connected with the story. It started to fall apart towards the middle when the pace slowed down. 

Inspector Gamache really helped hold the story together for me, and he is the reason why I would try this next book in this series. The death of Jane puts the whole town under the spotlight because they live in such a small community. There are lots of misleading clues that leave the reader guessing and trying to pieces together what happened. Initially, the hunting community was thought to have killed Jane accidentally, which I thought was plausible. However, the hunters kept getting backhanded comments because they were hunters. That was frustrating to me because hunting is a huge part of my family. As an Indigenous person, it's a tradition and a source of food. Then, I read comments about French and English and how a "french" person would never do this or that. I've lived in Quebec my whole life, and that annoyed me to no end. The story continued to fall apart for me. I don't feel like the differences between English and French felt true to everyday life in Quebec. Yes, there are definitely differences and disputes but it felt forced in the book.

Overall, the mystery was good. I stayed engaged and wanted to figure out what happened. Inspector Gamache was a great character, and I loved Tree Pines. I would hope the second book is more faster-paced. The parts that annoyed me, probably wouldn't annoy others but they really distracted me and took away from the story. I will try the second book, and hopefully, it will work out for me. I've heard such positive things about this series, I really went in with a lot of expectations, and sometimes that just leaves you feeling let down. 


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