finished reading

Oh, what a book!  I devoured this.  I have a book hangover.  There are several narrative threads--several timelines, but they all make sense, providing a lot of backstory to earlier cases when Gamache "rescued" Jean-Guy Beauvoir from the basement of a Surete du Quebec outpost. 

The characters are what make the story.  How they interact and come together.  They are complex and flawed and so tightly bonded that I want to be part of that community too.  As the narrative unfolds, there are a couple of characters, Fiona and Sam Arsenault, who are part of the earlier case which has some disturbing elements--leaving the question of how the early childhood damage that was done to them shaped them as present-day young adults.

As with other books in the series, this isn't just about a murder.  There are contrasts--from violence and hatred to laughter and love.  This book examines the courage of looking inward.  

From the publisher:
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns in the eighteenth book in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny's beloved series.

It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.

But something has.

As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.

But to what end?

Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?

As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.

In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.

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