REVIEW: A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Former Chief Inspector Gamache has been hunting killers his entire career and as the new commander of the Sûreté Academy, he is given the chance to combat the corruption and brutality that has been rife throughout the force. But when a former colleague and professor of the Sûreté Academy is found murdered, with a mysterious map of Three Pines in his possession, Gamache has an even tougher task ahead of him.
When suspicion turns to Gamache himself, and his possible involvement in the crime, the frantic search for answers takes the investigation to the village of Three Pines, where a series of shattering secrets are poised to be revealed . . .

I picked up A Great Reckoning because I wanted a quick, suspenseful, nail-biting read after all of the non-fiction of November, but honestly, all that I got was a slog. There was no tension or intrigue, just a hell of a lot of office politics and not really much else - no moments of “oo the killer is still lurking in the shadows, what nefarious thing are they planning next?”; no sense of danger. After 400 pages, all I could draw from it was that it was more about the politics of the homicide department than a true crime/murder-mystery novel, I mean, sure, someone gets killed, but who gives a damn? Certainly not me.
Don’t get me wrong, at first I viewed the mysterious events of the previous novels as intriguing, as seeing as this is my first that I have read of the Inspector Gamache books, I wasn’t completely aware of the intricacies of the relationships of the characters and the references that the book made to past events, but the shine soon wore off.
I just couldn’t conjure up a single ounce of empathy or interest in any of the characters, but in regards to the cadets in particular. The four of them just came off as stereotypes or plot devices pulled from other, better written, works. Of course, when I say that, I am mostly talking about the poor man’s copy of Lisbeth Salander and how every single character felt the need to be repulsed or comment on her piercings… I mean??? It is 2017, people, it is actually more rare to come across a person who doesn’t have some form of body modification.
The “gaydar” that all of the characters seemed to have when it came to Nathaniel also threw up a few issues which, alongside the casual use of slurs, led to this book really rubbing me up the wrong way. I seem to be having to repeat this over and over again, but it is not okay for you to refer to your LGBT+ friends by offensive and homophobic nicknames (no, not even if you mean them in an affectionate way) and, earth to idiots - it is impossible to be able to know someone’s sexuality just from looking at them. And, I don't care if it’s just a plot point to show how good these characters are at detective work, it is offensive.
All of the way through this book I had to keep telling myself that if I forced myself through it as quickly as possible, that would mean a shorter time until I could start something decent. Which is a sentiment which goes a long way in explaining how much I cared about A Great Reckoning.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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