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The Shooting at Château Rock

de Martin Walker

Sèrie: Bruno Courrèges (13)

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Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Balzac, the Basset Hound is 2 Years Old!
Review of the Knopf USA hardcover edition (2020)

There are several things that are off with the new Bruno, Chief of Police novel such as the misleading title, some out-of-character investigative techniques, still falling for Isabelle, etc. which may distract and disappoint fans along the way. However, for me the big takeaway was that Bruno's beloved dog Balzac is described as being only 2 years old! This is in a 2020 book when Balzac was introduced back at the time of The Devil's Cave (2012) in Bruno No. 5. That means that although the Bruno books since then have supposedly taken place over 8 years, in fact they have been only 2 years of Bruno / Balzac time.

That is cause for rejoicing in that Walker is not letting Bruno and Balzac age in real time and that therefore we can still look forward to many more years of enjoying the people, culture, food and wine of St. Denis. ( )
  alanteder | Oct 6, 2020 |
THE SHOOTING AT CHATEAU ROCK by Martin Walker is #13 in Mr. Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police series.
There are many interwoven themes and characters here:
Balzac’s trip to the breeding kennel; the owners of the Chateau Rock, Rod & Meghan Macrea;
Russian oligarchs; an interrupted inheritance; very shady retirement homes; espionage; hostages; suspicious (and deadly) car crashes; wonderful food and wine; and the brilliant array of local residents and locations of the small town of St. Denis in France’s Perigord region.
I love this series and these characters and locations. ***** ( )
  diana.hauser | Jul 15, 2020 |
I so enjoy Bruno & his community of friends.... I ♥ his cooking, still waiting for his recipe book. Perhaps the author might begin to include recipes in the back of his books.

An aging rock star & wife are about to divorce & sell their chateau... Their children are visiting for one last summer, their son being engaged to a young woman whose father is closely tied to Putin.

Meanwhile a local farmer has been found dead of a heart attack just after signing up for a shady insurance deal & changing his will, leaving everything to the new upscale senior retirement community he was scheduled to move into.

I enjoyed reading Bruno's handling of both cases. The book was well written and definitely held my interest. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jul 13, 2020 |
I’ve been a Bruno fan from the very first book on. I enjoyed reading so much about himself, his friends and the entire town.
For quite a few books, things were developing nicely and Bruno became a favourite of mine.

With this book, this ended.

It all starts interesting enough with the death of an old sheep farmer and his children suspecting foul play when they find out they’ve effectively been disinherited. Bruno promises them to look into the entire issue and does fairly well, using his expertise of rural laws and regulations - I was actually getting my hopes up of getting a real Bruno experience. Like a welcome mixture of...

“Sex, drugs, murder—and cruelty to animals.”

… as Walker puts it at one point.

The mystery that starts out so well, takes a backseat to a confusing tale of an aging rockstar, his adult children, a Russian oligarch, his daughter, the Ukraine conflict and world politics…

“Chateau Rock” reads like Walker is simply trying to boast about his cultural knowledge, e. g. About music and, thus, let’s Bruno, a rural French flic say this:

“He recognized the notes of the Spanish classic Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. At home, he had a CD of Paco de Lucía playing it on guitar while backed by an orchestra, the delicacy of the guitar against the deep sound of the strings and the sharp counterpoint of the clarinet.”

But, ok, maybe Bruno suddenly developed a taste for Spanish guitar music who knows… Even the previous cooking sessions that used to be lovingly described while showing a self-reflecting Bruno, sometimes even getting a new insight into the investigation, feel forced and are entirely superfluous. They add nothing this time but are page after page of transcribed recipes - not what I’m reading Bruno for.

Isabelle makes her usual cameo appearance but everyone else is severely neglected by Walker: Florence, Gilles, the Baron are all mentioned but play hardly any role at all and even rarely serve as bystanders as they sometimes did in the past.

Even Bruno himself is weirdly unlike himself: Not only does he make several potentially severe rookie mistakes (which, magically, turn out to be non-issues) and he does a few things that make him (rightly!) question himself:

“his self-doubts about his treatment of [...]. He knew it was standard police procedure, but it was not the way he liked to work.”

Walker has lost me with this latest instalment in a series I used to love. Very sad.


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  philantrop | Jun 14, 2020 |
Martin Walker skillfully weaves so much information about France and Europe in general into The Shooting at Château Rock that, after I'd finished reading the book, it took a while for my mind to leave the Périgord. This book is about so much more than the fleecing of the elderly. Readers learn that although Europe knows that Russian criminals and oligarchs are moving into their countries, getting passports from places like Malta and Cyprus in an effort to hide their true Russian citizenship, they still have to tread carefully since half of Europe is dependent on Russian gas. I also learned that drones are being used to video opulent properties when they're being placed on the real estate market for sale. (How the other half lives, eh?)

No matter how hard Bruno works to track down the bad guys, there's still plenty of interaction with his friends, and-- let's face it-- that's what most Bruno fans eagerly await in each new book. There are several delicious meals lovingly described in The Shooting at Château Rock, and I loved the addition of music to the storyline. Bruno's young Basset hound, Balzac, also gets his turn in the spotlight.

You can't have a new book in the series without dealing with Bruno's love life. Fans know that his penchant for strong, independent women means that he hasn't found the right one who wants to settle down and raise a family with him. Here he seems to be nudged in a direction that I'd wondered about myself. Only time will tell what's in store for our favorite French policeman.

During the course of this series, Walker has shown us how the various law enforcement agencies work in France, and it's a fascinating glimpse into how another country protects its citizens. But Bruno does wonder-- as I sometimes do-- if there's still room for the human factor amidst all the technology and the massive amounts of data it can uncover. After all, most of Bruno's success is based on the fact that he knows most of the citizens in his area-- and they know and trust him.

Fans of this series should love The Shooting at Château Rock. If you're new to the series, I'm going to admit that you could read this book and not feel lost... but don't be surprised if you find yourself going back to read the rest of the books. They are quite the delectable feast. ( )
  cathyskye | May 22, 2020 |
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