All the Devils are Here // by Louise Penny // narrated by Robert Bathurst
Pub Day: September 01, 2020
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life.
When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.
It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades.
A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.
Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.
For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.
Even though this is the 16th novel in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny, please don’t let that keep you from reading or listening to this title! Only recently did I read the first book of the series, Still Life, and I have not yet picked up another besides All the Devils are Here but that did not take away from the great experience I had with this book. Penny does a wonderful job introducing all the characters in the first few chapters and you are pulled into the family very quickly. Murder mysteries are not very high on my favorites list so it really took me by surprise how much I enjoyed listening to this and how invested I became in the characters and their story.
In the beginning, I was struggling a little bit with the narrator but he really grew on me also. While I adore his voice for Gamache and many of the French characters, I had a bit of a hard time with some of his female voices, because it made them sound very meek and not very strong emotionally. It kept reminding me of those women that faint over the smallest things, like a few drops of blood, and that is far from what we have here. Penny knows how to write strong women and I would’ve liked their voices to reflect that. I am a big fan of his general narration though. He knows how to put the right emotion into his words, where to pause to build suspense, and overall really added to my enjoyment of the story.
As I said above, the mystery genre is not usually one I seek out. I am much more likely to get lost in a good memoir, non-fiction books that teach me something, or a whole new fantasy world. But Louise Penny is truly a master of her art. A mystery presents and solves a crime, and you follow the main characters as they find clues, examine motives, and identify suspects. It is a pretty simple equation but there is absolutely nothing simple about this novel. There are so many little details in this book that come back to play major parts, so many motives and suspects that constantly circle around each other or replace each other, and you just never know who you can trust! It is riveting and I constantly found myself thinking about this book and trying to solve it myself along the way. I would have never expected to be so engrossed in it when I started it.
Often times, while I enjoy the books I read, I wonder what they would be like if they were set in or current time with all the new technology. I’m used to characters that do not have cell phones or that if they do, it is one of those ancient flip phones that we all so fondly remember. It was really fun to see how Penny included modern technology in her story, whether it was Youtube videos or drones. It made everything feel even more realistic.
Although sadly my memory is not the best and I often struggle to remember details, I thoroughly enjoy learning about history, whether that is through the details that historical fiction novels are based on or non-fiction books about a specific subject. Louise Penny chose Paris as the setting of All the Devils are Here and many of us know that this city has a dark history related to the Nazi Party of Germany during World War II. While I did not get a chance to research every little detail in this book that references this history, I did get a chance to read up on the history of the Lutetia, a hotel that is heavily featured in this novel. I was delighted to see that what I listened to was actually true because it is a part of history that I did not know much about yet (though obviously horrified that it actually happened in the first place). I am impressed how well Penny incorporated these facts in her novel and how it made her characters feel even more realistic. I also liked how she wrapped this part up in the end. While I’m not generally a big fan of wrapping things up perfectly with a bow at the end, it gave a well-rounded out feel to the book this time.
Speaking of her characters though, I love how she portrays all the members of Gamache’s family. This novel really focuses on them and you get to learn a lot about their personal lives and relationships between each other. Penny wrote these characters with so much compassion despite many of them having both positive traits as well as major flaws. This story is all about temptations toward the dark side, negative feelings and trauma growing up, and Chief Inspector Gamache himself (whaaat) contemplating torturing someone in his anger. The way she gives each family member such distinct personalities and describes their feelings about and emotions directed towards each other makes it almost hard to believe that they really are fictional. Daniel, Gamache’s son, is a prime example of that. Her writing really makes you swing back and forth between liking and disliking him, and his character arc is one of my favorites in a long time.
There are obviously a lot of things that I enjoyed about this novel and I cannot think of a good way to finish up this review smoothly so I’m just going to say that the fact that this is an instant five stars for me (and I don’t even usually mention star ratings on my blog!) says enough about how much I love this book and consequently the author now. I cannot wait to recommend this to my friends and followers!
About the Author:
Louise Penny is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.
More about and from her here: https://www.louisepenny.com/louise.htm
About the Publisher:
Macmillan Audio was founded in 1987 as Audio Renaissance and published its first programs in 1988. Audio Renaissance was acquired by Holtzbrinck in 2001 and changed its name to Macmillan Audio in 2007. Macmillan Audio records the best fiction and nonfiction available for both adults and children from Macmillan’s publishers, in addition to publishing original productions and titles from other publishers. The company’s line of products also includes the language-learning series Behind the Wheel. Macmillan Audio narrators include Meryl Streep, Lorelei King, Stanley Tucci, Simon Vance, Gwyneth Paltrow, Katherine Kellgren, Holter Graham, and Cynthia Nixon, as well as President Jimmy Carter, Billy Crystal, Rob Lowe, and Bill O’Reilly, who have read their own audiobooks. Macmillan Audio productions have been nominated for six Grammy Awards and have won numerous Audie Awards and Earphones Awards. Macmillan audio titles are available digitally as well as on CD.
If you want to learn more about Hotel Lutetia and its dark history, check out this article in the Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/paris-hotel-lutetia-haunted-history-180971629/
Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. This was truly a great experience! And to think I only picked it up because I wanted to make myself a more well-rounded reader. She has converted me into a true fan and I’ll be sure to pick up her other books from now on!