Kingdom of the Blind
By: Louise Penny
Published: November 27, 2018
From the Cover:
When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder.
None of them had ever met the elderly woman.
The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?
When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.
But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing.
The investigation into what happened six months ago―the events that led to his suspension―has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip through his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception.
Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner city Montreal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers.
As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hiding there.
This book was the fruit of my Christmas window shopping labor. I walked by an independent book store and saw this book displayed proudly, front and center with stacks of its siblings flanking it on either side. You know the phrase, Don’t judge a book by its cover? Whoops. I bought this book 80% for the cover/display and 20% for the synopsis (Yes, I tend to be a bit impulsive when it comes to buying books).
To be honest, I didn’t even know this book was the newest installment of a 14-book series. If I had known that, I might have kept browsing. It’s not that the plot was difficult to follow, but there was a huge learning curve to keep up with names of characters and relationships between them. Throw in the fact that this story takes place in French Canada, and now what I initially thought would be an easy read had turned into greater mental commitment.
In spite of these difficulties, I truly enjoyed the plot. I found the story to be very engaging and the whodunnit ending was a shock. There are some heavy themes present, including drug abuse, addiction, and overdose, which may be triggering to some. I don’t think this was particularly necessary to the integrity of the plot of this book in particular, but instead fed more into the overall plot of the series.
If I were to do things differently (and if someone had been present with me to give me guidance), I likely would have started with book #1 of the series instead of jumping straight into the newest title. However, if you’re like me and 14 books is too much of a commitment, you can still find enjoyment in this book without starting from the beginning; it just might require a little more engagement.
Crime Fiction Comparisons: I really enjoy reading crime fiction and I’ve read my fair share of different crime fiction novelists. If I were to compare Louise Penny and this series to another, I would say it is most similar to Tana French and the Dublin Murder Squad series. Both series are very well researched, gripping, and engaging.