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The Long Way Home

Finding a muse for a police novel is often an everyday run of the mill event with how many cop shows are on television. Louise Penny however exceeds expectations by re-introducing Armand Gamache who has moved on from his life as the brooding protagonist of Penny’s mystery novels by packing up and heading to a small town in Quebec named Three Pines from Montreal. Although his detective days are over, he cannot help buy to get involved in a case with a newly befriended Three Pines resident when this woman Clara Morrow’s husband Peter goes missing.

Penny’s novel does well at cross examining the usual police work with a twist of psychology added to the mix while still showing how good the human spirit can be even in times of turbulence and turmoil. The Gamache character was developed throughout a series of books written by Ms. Penny which if the reader did not skim over prior to this text, would be confused as to what the characters, specifically Armand Gamache, are going through.

Gamache struggles to keep the twisted world of his professional relationships in police work, but his affection toward his new friend finds him begrudgingly back in police work as a way to enlighten the reader into believing that light can be shone on the darkest of hearts from struggles of an individual’s past.

Penny even has regulars from her old books making appearances in this novel, which ties together the concept of community and family in small town living, as they all search for the missing Peter. When they find paintings in the home of one of Peter’s relatives, they are concerned where these mysterious pieces arrived from. Given that Peter is an artist as well, the search party wonders if a possible affair is happening with a former professor who became an artist guru out in the wild.

Penny’s novels always find a smooth rhythm between their structure and content. This book often leaves the reader flipping the page waiting for the next exciting event to happen. In the reading, it greatly aided the reader that had not read the other texts to include characters from past novels as a way for a new reader to engage the present with the past. The internal storms of Peter’s conscience are nothing compared to the storm the search party is weathering in their quest to find out how and where he disappeared to and from.