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A Better Man: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

Chief Inspector Gamache/Three Pines Series, Book 15
Written by: Louise Penny
Narrated by: Robert Bathurst
Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (209 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2019 Amazon.com Best Books of the Year

"Robert Bathurst's intelligent narration captures every nuance, every emotion, and each of Louise Penny's subtle revelations about the unique, completely engaging residents of Three Pines." (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner)

Catastrophic spring flooding, blistering attacks in the media, and a mysterious disappearance greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he returns to the Sûreté du Québec in the latest novel by number one New York Times best-selling author Louise Penny.

It’s Gamache’s first day back as head of the homicide department, a job he temporarily shares with his previous second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Flood waters are rising across the province. In the middle of the turmoil a father approaches Gamache, pleading for help in finding his daughter.

As crisis piles upon crisis, Gamache tries to hold off the encroaching chaos, and realizes the search for Vivienne Godin should be abandoned. But with a daughter of his own, he finds himself developing a profound, and perhaps unwise, empathy for her distraught father.

Increasingly hounded by the question, how would you feel..., he resumes the search.

As the rivers rise, and the social media onslaught against Gamache becomes crueler, a body is discovered. And in the tumult, mistakes are made.

In the next title in this "constantly surprising series that deepens and darkens as it evolves" (New York Times Book Review), Gamache must face a horrific possibility, and a burning question.

What would you do if your child’s killer walked free?

©2019 Three Pines Creations, Inc. (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What the critics say

"Enchanting...one of his most ennobling missions." (Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review)

"With an uncompromising eye, Penny explores the depths of human emotion, both horrifying and sublime. Her love for her characters and for the mystical village of Three Pines is apparent on every page." (Publishers Weekly starred review)

"The appeal of this series and especially of Gamache himself has always been Penny's ability to show her hero moving from the tangible, brutal facts of murder to the emotions within, the stories in the blood. There are multiple stories, often contradictory, to be found in the many-tentacled web of human tragedy and suffering that Gamache teases to the surface in this moving exploration of ties that both bind and destroy." (Booklist starred review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So worth the wait

I love the characters in these books, and Louise Penny shows that you don't need shock value to have a great murder mystery. I often think if I drive into the Eastern Townships I will somehow come across Three Pines although it is a fictional town, so powerful are the characters and descriptions.
Gamache is always thoughtful and kind, the kind of person I wish there were more of in this crazy world we live in.
I liked the social media thoughts in this book, the good, the bad and the ugly of it. Very timely.Excellent through and through

4 people found this helpful

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Great part of favourite series and favourite auth

My title says it all except that I would add that the characters are worth developing a long term relationship with. They feel like real people with quirks and flaws. The baddies are subtle enough to be believable and the good ones are flawed enough to keep me wondering. This book ended leaving me mostly content that this is a completed story but also with more to know in this story world.

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As always excellent

Louise Penny delivers an excellent read, with a few twists to keep you reading. I have read every book of this series and love them all.

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No more.

This is the first book of fiction I have listened to and can't take any more of it. Some of the voices are so grating I'm cringing while listening. The dialogue is weak. Very disappointing.

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I wish the narrator had been French Canadian.

Of course the book was amazing but I think the narrator should have been French Canadian or at least French. So hard to follow with someone without an understanding of the French Canadian view. His British accent devalued the experience for me. I'm from Ontario but think the bóok woud have been better with a different narrator!

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Best yet.

I found the story very enjoyable & always love the “feel, smells and flavours ” of Three Pines.

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British accent out of place

I normally like to be read to by someone with an English accent but found it unsatisfying in this case. Mispronunciation of place names eg Abitibi was annoying. I’m sure Judge Pelletier should have Ben pronounced differently. Surely there are French Canadian readers who could have made the experience more authentic.

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Good but not best

I listened to all Louise Penny’s books. Love the characters including the dogs and duck menagerie! However found this last volume way too descriptive, stretching the story, too paternalistic. For the first time I felt the author was unnecessarily « filling » text. Bathurst excellent as always.

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Penny needs an editor.

I have loved this series for a long time, but I found this book tiresome. Or, as Penny herself might say, "tiresome, predictable, repetitive; overblown, flowery, over-full of adjectives; verbose". Seriously--where is her editor? How many times must we read about Gamache's "intelligent, perceptive but kind eyes" - about warm croissants by a comforting fire, etc.?

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British accent???

Why would audible record a French Canadian set book by Brit R Bathurst? I found it very distracting and difficult to reconcile a British accent to characters who are French Canadian. I would recommend reading Louise Penny’s latest novel.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sally
  • 2019-09-10

Not My Favorite

The series seems to be getting pretty dark. The constant attempt to diminish Gamache is getting so old that this has taken over the entire series. And now Clara has also become a target...it is just getting to dire. Where Three Pines used to be a magical place, the residents all seem to be suffering from a never ending depressive malaise. Always looked forward to the next book in this series but not at all sure that I will spend a credit on the next one. I do however appreciate this narrator and the difficult time he had overcoming his fabulous predecessor.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Kcosper
  • 2019-09-12

Tiring

I did not find this as compelling as the ones before. The story too forever to unfold as the officers talked it over and over and over and over. The domestic violence issue is important but the story turned into a melodrama, continually referring to the officers' thinking of their own families over and over and over. Still love the characters and the place not the story, not so much.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Lulu
  • 2019-12-21

Inevitable, But Still Sad

I am a huge fan of Louise Penny and the Three Pines series. Such a fan, these books inspired me to visit Montreal and Quebec City. I think Armand Gamache is one of the truly great characters of modern literature and the characters who inhabit Three Pines fascinating. I loved many of the detailed plotlines of previous books and learned so much reading several of them. The fact that I lasted through 15 books in any series is a testament to the quality of the series. I am usually burned out by the 5th or 6th book in most series. They always become predictable and repetitive or increasingly outlandish and unbelievable. Not so this series. While I was slightly frustrated by the ongoing conspiracy subplots, I could largely ignore it and focus on the primary mystery to be solved in each book and the characters.

That changed with book 14, Kingdom of the Blind. Suddenly the ongoing conspiracies sucked up most of the plotline and the actual mystery to be solved slipped into the background, as did the characters. I hoped it was an aberration, so moved on to A Better Man. Unfortunately, this book continued to focus on all of the various people out to get Gamache for no apparent reason and spent little time on the actual crime to be solved. It made me finally think about Gamache differently If so many people hate him enough to take such elaborate steps to destroy his career, then what am I missing about him? And suddenly his patience and almost saintliness made him seem weak and not nearly as interesting a character.

So, before I fall out of love with one of my favorite characters of all time, I have decided it is time to put an end to this relationship. Unfortunately, I believe A Better Man is my last Three Pines book. I always assumed this day would eventually come. But I still find it depressing.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Angelyn S. Furst
  • 2019-09-04

Gamache has become predictable

I loved the previous Gamache novels. Unfortunately, this one is tired and predictable. Gamache, as always, carries guilt, which I find boring. A little guilt is fine, but guilt over everything's is just plain boring. The story doesn't capture my imagination and the continuous "GET GAMACHE" from his supervisors is dragging the entire story down.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Joanne
  • 2019-09-21

What Happened?

I'm a HUGE Louise Penny/Inspector Gamache fan. I will continue to be a HUGE fan. However, this book will play no roll in contributing to my enthusiasm. The story lines were thin, and repetitive. It's time to move away from the story line of everyone having it in for Inspector Gamache. And, although there will never be another Ralph Cosham, until "A Better Man..." Robert Bathurst was an acceptable narrator. But, his representation of the new characters in this book was truly difficult to listen to. In fact, his take on Ruth has always made me cringe. I still look forward to the next installment of this series. Louise Penny is truly a gifted writer who produces intellectually rich and interesting characters.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-09-01

I never want to leave Three Pines.

Clichéd though it may be, to say it, finishing a Louise Penny book is like leaving home. Yes, sometimes Armand and Renne-Marié are a bit too saintly, not to mention omniscient. That said, I cherish the good people of Three Pines, even when they do the wrong things. The mysteries are well-plotted, and the frisson of danger to Gamache because of corrupt officials is well-played. I look forward to my next hot chocolate at the Bistro. But I'll never understand the licorice pipes!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Donna J. Shaw
  • 2019-09-01

Becoming stale

It is time to stop beatifying Gamache and work on rounding out some of the other characters a bit more. What makes Three Pines so special is the interplay between its residents. Saint Gamache is a bit too perfect. I would like to read more about the more down to earth folks like Myrna, Ruth, Claire, Gabri, Olivier, and Rene-Marie.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-08-31

Another fantastic novel, but....

I never tire of the characters of Three Pines. I’ve read the whole series. The sense of humor is so witty and the plot so interesting that I can’t wait for the next book to come out.

Louise Penny brings to the reader great insight into the emotional lives of the characters.
One suggestion; take a break from the conspiracy theories and paranoia of the upper echelon of the Surete du Quebec. The murder investigations themselves are fascinating. The plot doesn’t always need a corrupt leader under every rock. Maybe just under every other rock?

25 people found this helpful

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  • Wayne
  • 2019-08-28

Fantastic novel in a fantastic series!!

Karin Slaughter and Louise Penny released modern detective series novels on consecutive weeks one based in Georgia and the other in Quebec. Life is good! I'm hard pressed to say which is better because both are a close to perfect as possible. A BETTER MAN is Book 15 in Louise Penny's Gamache/Three Pines series which is set in Quebec province of Canada especially in the small hamlet of Three Pines which is just north of the Vermont border. Armand Gamache is getting a bit long in the tooth but he is as sharp as ever. Frankly the publisher's summary tells too much. The incomparable Ralph Coshan narrated the first 10 novels in the Three Pines series. After Cosham's death Robert Bathurst took over series narration. Bathurst is not as good as Cosham but he easily earns 5 stars.

Each novel in this series stands alone quite well, but to appreciate the wonderful job author Penny has done with the development of the quirky Three Pines characters (and the less quirky ones) listening to some of the earlier series novels is recommended. If you have not done so in the past you owe it to yourself to give Louise Penny a try.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Lara Kellett
  • 2019-09-07

Disappointing and redundant

After 14 books, the readers well know the denizens of Three Pines. We didn't need the old descriptions repeated over and over. Too many details felt tired and unnecessary. Bathhouse's interpretation was contrived to the point of seeming condescending. He reads the story as if to children. The story was at times intriguing, but Penny over-explains points that are already obvious. The narration did not bode well for several two dimensional characters who were so stereo typed that we cannot wait to be rid of them. Overall, this was certainly not the best in the series. Surely, we hope there will be another, but next time, perhaps the reader may be given a little credit for having some insight.

10 people found this helpful