Finished October 4
The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny, read by Robert Bathurst
I have to admit that I was a bit worried about this audiobook. Not for the book itself, but for the reader. Penny's previous reader for her audiobooks died since the last one came out, and for me he was the voice of this series. Penny acknowledges this worry in a brief introduction to the audiobook, where she both honours her previous reader and introduces her new one. And Robert Bathurst does a great job of the book.
Now, on to the book itself. As the book begins, all is well in Three Pines, despite the tall tales of Laurent Lepage in his wild adventures through the woods and around the village. His exuberance, at first indulged, has now grown into irritation for many. His tales have included alien invasions, dinosaurs, fires, and explosions, but none have been real.
When the young boy disappears the day after telling his latest tale, the villagers begin to wonder whether he might finally have been telling the truth. As the search for Laurent goes on to include what happened to him, and where it happened, and part of the answer includes murder, Gamache finds himself being drawn back into the homicide career he thought he'd left behind.
Something from the past has reared its ugly head, and someone was trying to prevent it from being discovered. Some in the village know at least part of the story, and they fear it, for it changed their lives. As local poet Ruth Zardo writes "And now it is now. And the dark thing is here."
As the police begin their investigation, new faces appear in the village. Why they arrived appears obvious, but why do they stay? What do they know?
This story reaches into the past, into the dark heart of evil, and into lives that were changed forever. It is a story that I found engrossing.