Olivier Brulé lowered his gaze, no longer able to look into the troubled, lunatic eyes across from him. He’d lived with this story for so long, and kept telling himself it wasn’t real. It was a myth, a story told and repeated and embellished over and over and over. Around fires just like theirs.
Chaos and murder come to the village of Three Pines once more in The Brutal Telling, the fifth installment of the Chief Inspector Gamache series. All the villagers are stunned when a body of an unknown man is found inside the popular bistro owned by Gabriel and Olivier.
Suspicions and accusations run high and some want to cast blame on the newcomers to the village who are opening a spa and hotel, but Gamache is wondering what exactly Olivier did to earn so much hate. As in all previous books, I find that author Penny does a wonderful job of presenting flawed characters who you can still like but more importantly raising the question of just how much you can truly know another person.
Aside from the mystery the familiar cast is back and their problems or lives continue to expand. One of my favorite character, Clara, an artist who is finally getting her own show, will face a difficult task: speak her mind and ruin her chances of success or keep the peace and going forward with the show.
I’ve been a fan of this series because of the descriptive writing and unique setting but this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I’ve always felt that this is a cozy with a bit more of an edge but now I felt that some of the characters were simply too mean. There is a lot of focus on some elements that in the end you wonder what the point of those were aside from providing too many red herrings, and the worst part is that the resolution of the mystery was immensely anti-climatic.
Perhaps if this had been my first book I’d read I wouldn’t judge it as harshly but I’ve come to expect a lot in this series and I didn’t enjoy this one. Would I read another? Well, as I said, it has been a favorite so yes I would read another but I don’t think I’ll be rushing to get it.
Oh and I know I mentioned that I read this for a book group discussion. In my book group we give books a rating from either 1 -5, with 5 being excellent. This book got a 3.