Author: Louise Penny
Rating: 3 Stars
Review By: Shana
I tend to be a fairly picky mystery reader, but I am always open to trying out a series (especially a lengthy one), in hopes that I will find a detective that I enjoy spending time with. Many people swear by Louise Penny and there are many who love her Chief Inspector Gamache. For me, the jury is still out.
I did find Still Life to be promising, though it did not truly engross me. Penny's style includes jumping around to multiple point of view characters and it can be a bit jarring. On the flip side, it does offer greater insight into the characters, their interactions, the crime, and the community. I think I like the main character, Detective Gamache, but I'm not entirely sold on him. The biggest negative to this book is a thoroughly unlikable detective who is brought in with a shot at her first murder case. She is not particularly complex, and Penny did not seem to have a fully formed idea of what she wanted the character to do. At times you get a bit of detail to make you think she was meant to be partially sympathetic, but then she is written as flat and smug and strident and utterly tone deaf emotionally. Overall, a very odd addition to the cast and seemed to serve very little purpose.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...