I think I am being overly generous with four stars, but honestly, when I read a ton of books over a few days, I just go back with my gut feeling about books. So for me, this was not the worst out of the Armand Gamache series, but it was definitely not the best. I felt myself just rolling my eyes at another book looking at the opioid crisis. Maybe because I feel a bit tired of reading about how predominantly white families are torn apart and how countries (the United States and Canada) need to do something. This book just felt a bit samey in parts is the big reason why I didn't give it five stars. We have Jean Guy betray Armand again, Armand forgiving him again, Three Pines being at the center of something massive again, the villagers involved again.
"Glass Houses" appears at first to be another murder mystery, but something else is going on in this book. We have Gamache on the stand as a witness at a murder trial. We don't know who died (and it takes a while to get there) but something is going on with Gamache. He seems to be hell-bent on making sure the trial is a cover for something else. And once again it takes the readers a while to figure that out.
I have to say that Gamache's reasonings in this one made absolutely no sense to me. I think that Penny threw it out there to once again have some conflict between Gamache and Jean Guy. At this point, Jean Guy is freaking Thomas from the Bible. He always has doubts about Gamache, but we are supposed to believe he loves Gamache the most. A real life human being (Gamache) would be sick of it at this point and have an actual human reaction instead of constantly turning the other cheek.
We get more interaction with the villagers in this one. The last one they felt thrown in the plot half haphazardly. This one makes more sense. I actually didn't want to strangle Ruth or Clara in this one either.
I did like how the villagers even called out the things that they have done that they still have regrets over. We have Clara regretting not listening to Gamache that led to Peter's death, Ruth regrets her mother choosing her over her cousin, Olivier admitting that he used to steal from people by omission, etc.
The book jumps back and forth between Halloween and what led to somehow being found murdered in Three Pines along with the murder trial which is taking place in the present day. I have to say that the back and forth in the book was hard to take after a while. I just wanted to either read about the trial or the murder. I was sick of trying to figure out what was going on. The flow was up and down a lot. Once you are finally graced with knowing what is going on though, I just found myself bored until we get almost to the end of the book.
The ending leaves things up in the air with a major character. I don't know if Penny plans on writing another book, but with the events that went down in this one, I don't see how Gamache can come back. At this point another character needs to be the focus of the series.