I would give this book 10 stars or more if I could. When I was approved for the egalley, being the mature professional librarian that I am, I went up to one of my coworkers who also reads the series and basically said “Nya! Nya! I got to read the book early”. That is the level of devotion that this entire series inspires in its readers.
After the emotional ending of the previous book, I was prepared for this one to be heavy duty but I had no idea how much this emotion this book would evoke. I literally sat on my couch for hours barely able to take a breath because I was so caught up into the story. Looking back at the previous books, one can see all of the clues leading up to the finish of this book but it is absolutely stunning to see how they all come together.
When this book begins, Gamache is seemingly hanging on by a thread. His agents have been scattered all through the department and he has a group of disrespectful yahoos working for him. But his enemies haven't won the war, only the first skirmish. Gamache still has some fight left in him and he has friends in powerful places. As in all of Ms. Penny's books, there are side stories that seem to have no reflection on the main plot but everything, I mean everything is important!
Inspector Gamache gets involved in the disappearance of a woman who had visited Three Pines and planned to return but never showed up. As he digs deeper into her life, he discovers facts about her life that will surprise all who knew her. Readers over a certain age will remember the actual situation that inspired this story line and what a huge story it was in its day.
Anyone who has followed this series will be crazy while reading this book, so just leave them alone and be prepared for a lot of emotion after they are done. While one part of Gamache’s life is resolved, the ending opens up a lot of questions about what the future holds for Gamache and all of us loyal readers!