Liz says...This is an epic novel about a man whose mother abandoned him as a child. He is forced to re-enter her life when she is caught on camera throwing stones at a controversial political candidate. The motherless boy we follow through part of his childhood and into adulthood has been given an advance on a novel based on a short story he wrote long ago and has since been stalled by writer’s block. When his publisher calls on him to repay the advance or write a tell-all about his mother, our main character is backed up against a wall. I cannot say enough good things about this debut novel. It is incredibly smart, current, witty, lively and well-paced. It is not a small undertaking at 640 pages, but it is so worthwhile. The Nix has so many rich details, and the language is at times laugh-out-loud funny and other times heartbreaking. It is a work from a truly gifted writer.
An instructor at a Canadian police academy is found murdered, and the newly appointed director is left trying to unravel the crime and find the culprit. Inspector Gamache, a retired homicide chief, recently accepted the director’s job to try and clean up corruption within the academy and the greater police force in turn. There is also a mysterious map involved that Gamache has asked the cadets in his charge to try to interpret. This is the first time I have read Louise Penny, and though I know the characters in this mystery have appeared in her previous novels, this book can absolutely stand alone. I loved everything about it—great writing, rich characters, and a setting I could visualize and would love to cuddle up in. It is ultimately a story of damage and healing told with humor, affection, and grace.