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Broken Harbor: A Novel (Dublin Murder Squad) (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Tana French

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1,6271314,452 (3.96)266
Member:Shelfishness
Title:Broken Harbor: A Novel (Dublin Murder Squad)
Authors:Tana French
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Broken Harbor by Tana French (2012)

  1. 10
    Mystic River by Dennis Lehane (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Painful childhood memories haunt the detectives of these dark psychological thrillers. Both authors write their respective cities (Boston and Dublin) with realism that augments the flawed, believable characters' struggles. Their secrets and suspicions offer compelling insight into trust in relationships.… (more)
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English (126)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
Really effing disturbing, but just as well written as all her other books. ( )
  Bram.Cleaver | Jun 1, 2016 |
Review: Broken Harbor by Tana French.

This amazing book belongs to a series but doesn’t have to be read as a series. This mystery/suspense and psychological thriller novel is well written and I found it captivating. The story flowed quickly and the characters were well developed and the dialogue was entertaining and natural. I thought Tana French wrote as a great originator and was perceptively on course when it came to human behavior. She was able to hold my attention through lengthy passages of soul-searching dialogue, because the clues to the case lie as much in the words spoken and written as in the reality of true evidence. The organization/structure of the story went well, rich in detail, ambience, complexity, and motivation. What I liked was Tana French’s characterization and her skill with developing compassion for the detective, the victim’s and for the perpetrator at one time or another. Even though it was a great story I felt there were some flaws and things I questioned that were open-coincidences in the story.

The novel was about a high-profile mass murder case of a family in a small coastal town once called Broken Harbor, now called Brianstown. The story follows Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy, age 42, an Irish Murder Squad detective who has an excellent track record of solving murder the honest way. He is a tough guy, a loner, mostly friendless, who rarely talks about himself and some find him arrogant. He and his partner, Richie Curran, a rookie in training, are assigned to the case. This case however, haunts Mick, and he feels that when he is called out to investigate the murder of Pat Spain and his two young children, and the attempted murder of Jenny Spain, he is forced to face intense ghosts from the past.

Mick and Richie head out to crime scene where Patrick Spain and his two children lie dead and the mother, Jenny is on the verge of death in ICU. The case is full of unexplained circumstances, hidden clues, and contradictions which enmeshes the two detectives in a prolong investigation that threatens to end both of their careers. Both detectives have a difference of opinion of what might have happened but they both agreed hesitantly to dig deeper for more info and evidence. The investigation became a little tedious but I held in there because of contradictions of evidence and motivation that I hadn’t got the answers to yet. I was so deep into the story that I was coming up with my own scenario, which I will say I was wrong.

There were plenty of things unexplained when they did finally find a suspect but they were only able to hold him so long without charging him with the crime. They needed more time to investigate the issues they had; Why was their holes in the wall throughout the house crime seen?, What kind of animal was in the attic making Patrick Spain so obsessed to the point that he placed baby monitors throughout the house?, Why was a former best friend of the family stalking them?, Why was Jenny so obsessed with what people thought of them, Why were the children acting strange?.

“The story portrays the effect of financial meltdown on individuals and of memory and the past on perception”. (This sentence was taken from another source)


( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
From Amazon:

Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy always brings in the killer. Always. That’s why he’s landed this high-profile triple homicide. At first, he thinks it’s going to be simple, but the murder scene holds terrifying memories for Scorcher. Memories of something that happened there back when he was a boy.

My Thoughts:

Despite finding Mike Kennedy pretty unlikable (to say nothing of his mentally ill sister,) I was completely caught up in the plot and characters up until the rookie policeman, Curran, does something completely out of the blue to destroy the case. I read his explanation for why he did this over and over and it just didn't ring true for me. Same goes for the true motives behind the murders. If the book had been 100 pages shorter, it might have placed less of a strain on the last third of the plot.
( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
My least favorite of the set of books, only because I didn't like the premise itself. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Having already rhapsodized about Tana French's incredible ability to narrate in distinct voices and the literary quality of her novels, one wouldn't think there would be much left to say in terms of the fourth installment in the Dublin Murder Squad series.

And yet.

This installment continues French's leitmotif of forcing the detective, in this case Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, to solve a brutal murder in a neighborhood or locale that is also the setting for a dark period of their past. And, once again, she pulls this off well, creating a totally plausible past and present for both the setting and the protagonist.

Kennedy, the unapologetic straight arrow that most people on the squad dislike for being that guy, the one who won't even bend the rules a little, is called to solve the deaths of a father and his two kids. The mother survives just barely, but both she and her husband have been brutally stabbed, while their kids upstairs were suffocated in their beds.

The entire home, a shoddily built McMansion in the middle of an abandoned, half-built subdivision, has bizarre holes broken into the walls with baby monitor cameras pointed at them.

French's setting of perfect homes surrounded by the gutted, skeletal remains of a developer's dream-turned-nightmare give the main setting an eerie, zombie-like feeling that permeates the entire novel.

Admittedly, I found the initial premise of this mystery particularly compelling, but that's not what made this the kind of read I stayed up far too late for with no regrets.

What struck me most about this installment was French's research into real police procedure and how the meticulous details she includes in the book serve both to give the reader insight into how actual investigations work but also work as an unobtrusive way to flesh out Kennedy's character. There's paperwork, bureaucracy, coordination between forensic techs and loaner detectives, etc. Handled poorly, that could make for tedious reading. In French's hands, it's insight that adds another dimension to solving the case.

Interestingly enough, I didn't like Kennedy when I first saw him through Frank's eyes in Faithful Place, but in this story I found myself relating to him on multiple levels (I'm pretty sure there've been people who disliked me for being a rather straight arrow, too, but like Kennedy, my family history and past don't allow me to be any other way).

Kennedy's sister in this novel is severely mentally ill, and I've read some reviews that criticize French's handling of this character because her mental illness is her solely defining trait. I disagree with this critique, partly because I've associated with people who have that level of untreated mental illness and thought it was a pretty spot-on portrayal and also because, when a person is that ill and completely untreated, and Kennedy's sister is, quite frankly that does become their defining trait. It may not be politically correct to say so, but the illness simply becomes the primary trait you associate with that person, especially when that is what makes associating with them or having them in your life so difficult. Mental illness to that degree, when left untreated, absolutely subsumes the person and their relationships, and French wrote this with a brutal honesty that made me have to put down the book and take a break several times.

Perhaps at this point I'm simply biased. I love Tana French's writing, as a writer I appreciate the unseen research and technique that goes into crafting her stories and I find the settings, characters and plots compelling. Every time I sit down to review one of her books, I try to find something to critique. I simply don't, and that's just fine with me. Besides, I'm sure the two people in the world who actually read this blog don't mind, either.

You can find this review (with handy-dandy hyperlinks!) and many other mystery series reviews on my blog at bodyonthefloor.blogspot.com. ( )
  Shutzie27 | Mar 21, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tana Frenchprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kolstad, HenningTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmermann, KlausÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Velzen, MarjoleinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wasel, UlrikeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Darley, magician and gentleman
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Let's get one thing straight: I was the perfect man for this case.
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Book description
Murder Detective Mick Kennedy is all about control.
Driving the right car. Wearing the right suit. Everything carefully designed to show the world - and most importantly, the killer - that he is in charge of this case.
But Broken Harbour will not be tamed.
This wild, beautiful place holds Mick Kennedy's happiest memories. It also holds his worst.
And now a new horror has happened here, and the cracks are beginning to show.
From the multi-award-winning author of Sunday TImes and New York Times bestseller In the Woods, Broken Harbour is a searing novel of psychological suspense.
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In the aftermath of a brutal attack that left a woman in intensive care and her husband and young children dead, brash cop Scorcher Kennedy and his rookie partner, Richie, struggle with perplexing clues and Scorcher's haunting memories of a shattering incident from his childhood.… (more)

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