I'm so glad you've discovered the Armand Gamache books. I hope you're enjoying reading them as much as I'm loving writing about the Chief Inspector, and the village of Three Pines, in Quebec.

The big news is that book #11 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series is going to be published on August 25th. It's called THE NATURE OF THE BEAST and is set in Three Pines, Quebec. Here's a very brief synopsis, some might even call it a tease!

Hardly a day goes by when nine year old Laurent Lepage doesn't cry wolf. From alien invasions, to walking trees, to winged beasts in the woods, to dinosaurs spotted in the village of Three Pines, his tales are so extraordinary no one can possibly believe him. Including Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, who now live in the little Quebec village.

But when the boy disappears the villagers are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true.
And so begins a frantic search for the boy and the truth. What they uncover deep in the forest sets off a sequence of events that leads to murder, leads to an old crime, leads to an old betrayal. Leads right to the door of an old poet.

And now it is now, writes Ruth Zardo. And the dark thing is here.
A monster once visited Three Pines. And put down deep roots. And now, Ruth knows, it is back.

Armand Gamache, the former head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, must face the possibility that, in not believing the boy, he himself played a terrible part in what happens next.


The four major pre-publication review are in - all raving. What a relief!! Indeed, three of the four reviews have been given the rare and precious star. Here are synopses from each:

Kirkus Review (starred review)
'...a mystery with global scope and consequences…. What makes this story most magical...is the perfect reminder of the dark side of human nature, but that side does not always win out. Penny is an expert at pulling away the surface of her characters to expose their deeper—and often ugly—layers, always doing so with a direct but compassionate hand.'

Library Journal (starred review)
'.... A strong sense of place, a multilayered plot, and well-crafted (and for Penny's fans, familiar) characters combine for a thoughtful, intriguing tale. More than a simple mystery, Penny's novel peels away the emotional and psychological layers of the inhabitants of Three Pines..'


Publishers Weekly (starred review)
'The bucolic Quebec village of Three Pines again proves no refuge in Penny's stellar 11th Armand Gamache novel…. Gamache has settled in the small community after retiring from the Sûreté, where he worked as a homicide detective. But he's drawn back to the hunt after Laurent Lepage, a nine-year-old boy with a penchant for crying wolf, is found dead under circumstances that Gamache finds suspicious…. Series fans will delight in Penny's continued complex fleshing out of characters they have come to love..
'

Booklist
'…a compelling mystery that leads to an exciting but tantalizingly open-ended finale.'

In other news, after an exhaustive and exhausting, and emotional international search, we have found a new reader for the audio books. As you probably know, the man who gave voice to Gamache, Clara, Olivier, Ruth et al, for ten years, the magnificent Ralph Cosham, passed away last year. It was a professional blow, but, more than that, it was a personal loss. He'd become a good friend. So the thought of replacing him took on all sorts of hues. We were all determined that the person who took on the mantle needed to be wonderful. Not good, not talented - but fabulous. I would rather have no one than a reader who did not do the characters, and Ralph, proud. And finally we found him. The great British actor Robert Bathurst. He has now finished recording THE NATURE OF THE BEAST, and I hope to be able to offer you a sample very soon. I know it will be a change, but I also know you will welcome Mr. Bathurst, and make him feel at home in Three Pines.



The previous Gamache novel, THE LONG WAY HOME is about to come out in paperback. When it came out in hardcover last year it debuted at #1 on the New York Times list, as well as the top of the Globe and Mail list for Canada, making THE LONG WAY HOME the best selling book in North America! To say I was joyful is a massive understatement.



THE LONG WAY HOME, has been chosen one of the Best Books of 2014 by a number of places including . .

- Kirkus Reviews named it a Best Crime Fiction of the Year
- The Washington Post chose it as one of the Best Fiction Books of the Year
- The Globe and Mail named it to their Top 100 Books of the Year and one of the top 5 crime novels
- National Post named THE LONG WAY HOME Best in Continuing Series, Masters Edition
- The Toronto Star has named THE LONG WAY HOME as one of the Best Crime Fiction books of the Year
- Amazon.com named it a Best Book of 2014
- Kobo has placed it in the Top Crime Fiction of the Year
- The Long Way Home has been included in BookBrowse's annual Best of the Year 2014 list
- Barnes and Noble chose it as a Top Holiday Book
- AudioFile has named THE LONG WAY HOME the Best Crime Fiction Audio Book of 2014!! This is a bittersweet acknowledgement of the gifts of Ralph Cosham, since he passed away earlier in the fall. But it is still reason to celebrate a wonderful man. Oh, how we miss him.
- The Long Way Home audiobook has also been included in Audible’s Best of 2014
- The Library Journal have chosen THE LONG WAY HOME as one of their Best Media / Best Audio books for 2014
- Aunt Agatha's (a fabulous crime fiction bookstore in Ann Arbor) has named THE LONG WAY HOME one of the Best Crime Novels of 2014





The Nature of the Beast
The Long Way Home



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I'm often asked two questions: should the books be read in order? And, what is the order?

Both excellent questions. At the risk of appearing to want you to buy more books let me say that while it's not necessary to read them in any particular order (they're designed to be self-standing) there is quite a strong character development arc. I think you'd enjoy the books even more if read in order.

Now, here's the order, from the first to the most recent:

STILL LIFE
A FATAL GRACE / DEAD COLD
THE CRUELEST MONTH
A RULE AGAINST MURDER / THE MURDER STONE
THE BRUTAL TELLING
BURY YOUR DEAD
A TRICK OF THE LIGHT

THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY
HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN
THE LONG WAY HOME
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST


Some of the books have different titles, as you might have noticed. The publishers did this not, as you might suspect, to be annoying but because they genuinely feel their readers respond to different titles. I hope it's not too confusing.




And finally, a small note about the themes in my books. They're inspired by two lines from a poem by WH Auden, in his elegy to Melville. Goodness existed, that was the new knowledge/his terror had to blow itself quite out to let him see it.

How powerful is that?




My books are about terror. That brooding terror curled deep down inside us. But more than that, more than murder, more than all the rancid emotions and actions, my books are about goodness. And kindness. About choices. About friendship and belonging. And love. Enduring love.

If you take only one thing away from any of my books I'd like it to be this:

Goodness exists.







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