Well that was a bust. This entire book from beginning to end just felt lazy. I rather Penny had written a one off with Gamache trying to take down the evil doers and we could then get a full fledged mystery next time.
Instead we had Gamache and company half assing a murder investigation while Gamache and others (Yvette Nichol, Jerome Brunel, Therese Brunel) go to take down the evil empire.
Seriously. I needed some Star Wars music for half of this book since the evil doers (Sylvain Francoeur and others) were over the top evil doers. I just have no words for the IQ points I lost while reading this book. To top it off, we get a resolution to the murder mystery via a letter that Gamache gives to Myrna. So even Penny didn't really give a damn about the murder.
In "How the Light Gets In" Louise Penny's ninth Chief Inspector Armand Gamache book, we have Gamache at a crossroads in his career. Still reeling from freaking Jean Guy deserting him after the events of the last book (see "The Beautiful Mystery"), Gamache is also dealing with Francoeur breaking up Gamache's homicide unit by sending Gamache's people away to other departments. Gamache appears to be a broken man and is doing what he can to root out the evil conspiracy that is still affecting the Suerte.
When Myrna calls Gamache because a friend of her's does not turn up to celebrate Christmas like she said she would, Gamache realizes that Three Pines would be the perfect place (it's not) to hide some friends of his for the final reckoning between him and Francouer.
Sorry, I am just rolling my eyes here as I type.
When Gamache starts looking into Myrna's missing friend, she turns up dead (murdered actually) and it leads Gamache into investigating a set of famous Quints. I realized after the fact when someone told me, that Penny used the real life Dionne quintuplets and their lives as inspiration. I would have loved to read that I initially thought we were getting with Gamache and the rest of Three Pines looking at these women who were famous just because they were born as quintuplets and what harm was done by forcing them to be popular. What harm was done with them being away from their parents. I started to feel resentful every time the book went back into the conspiracy that Gamache was investigating.
So take all of that and let's look at the characters. I don't even recognize anyone anymore. I swear that Gamache and Jean Guy would have been better off as two lovers instead of a supervisor and subordinate. Jean Guy is still going on about Gamache leaving him during the raid (that we have heard about since book freaking 6) and blaming Gamache for betraying him though Jean Guy would have done anything for him. He's an overly dramatic ass in all of his scenes since book #7 (Jean Guy). At one point Jean Guy pulls a damn gun on Gamache and Gamache is still worried about him. Best believe if you pull a weapon on me that I am not going to be all my poor wounded bird and be okay with you after that. Ugh this book drives me insane.
Gamache still treats Agent Nichol condescending as hell. I don't know what it is, but he's entire way of interacting with her is rude and vaguely misogynistic. I doubt Penny realized she wrote Gamache that way, but she did. Gamache is all over the place in this one. I didn't get the same feeling from him I had in other books. This Gamache was practically Dirty Harry deciding he would do whatever it took to bring down the bad guys in this one. He even gets into fights with Therese Brunel a bunch of times. Only satisfying part was Therese knocking him down a peg or two.
I still want to know where Gamache's wife was? She was missing in action for a good 90 percent of the book. I guess out of harm's way, but if that was the case, why was Annie just driving around still mooning over Jean Guy?
Oh you finally get to know who leaked the video of the raid. I was not surprised since I guessed who did it in book #6 and just rolled my eyes about it.
The writing was repetitive. I hope you like reading about Ruth's terrible ass poem in reference to one of the Quints, you will read it a lot. I hope you like Jean Guy just whining for most of the book, cause that happened a lot too. You also get a lot of Jerome being 'scared' and the name 'Arnot' is said about a billion times.
The flow was awful. We don't spend nearly enough time on the murder mystery and we just get a total BS ending regarding that anyway. When the timeline jumps ahead several months it's not even mentioned. There were so many plot holes with the murder mystery I don't even want to get into it here since this review is long enough. Same issue I had with the damn conspiracy.
The setting of Three Pines was a miss for me in this one. We are missing so many people who have been in other books. What happened to the couple running that hotel? They were not even mentioned in this one. We have Clara, Ruth (God I hated Ruth in this one), Ruth's duck (don't ask), Myrna, Olivier, Gabriel, and just a few other Three Pines residence. I just didn't even get why Gamache thought it was a great idea to put the entire village in harm's way.
The ending was a joke and a half. We get a wedding of a couple I was actively rooting against. And I can't with the BS redemption of Jean Guy. Someone explain how in the world he would not have (rightfully) been pushed out of the police force.
The only good thing I can say about this book is that women in the end, ended up taking over the Suerte which made me happy. I would have loved a book that followed them after this and this could have been the last Gamache book.