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

by Tana French

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1,5911284,577 (3.97)266
Member:Randall.Hansen
Title:Broken Harbor: A Novel (Dublin Murder Squad)
Authors:Tana French
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:murder, police detectives

Work details

Broken Harbor by Tana French (2012)

Recently added byLauraCerone, machapuchare78, private library, margitc, Jdubbs, Bookwormious, TomesAndScones
  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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Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
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 |
Really enjoyed this book!
  LittleGreenBookshop | Mar 18, 2016 |
This is the fourth book in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French. I would read anything she writes, she is so descriptive and engaging. I was immediately pulled into this story line from the beginning. All of her characters are so fleshed out. As I read the people come to life for me, people I would like talk to and hear about their jobs and their lives.

To be forewarned, French isn't a cozy mystery writer. This is another murder mystery but in this one, dead children involved. If that's offensive then you won't want to read this one, I only bring that up as there were a few reviews where people didn't like this book at all yet they were fans of her other novels. To me, this one is so well written and may be my favorite in the series. So far.

By the 81% mark on my Kindle I was thrown for a loop - something I did not see coming, a twist in the story. Honestly, I couldn't put this one down. Some things I wish she didn't leave unresolved at the end. You can leave it to the reader to decide what happened to Conner, Jenny, Scorcher and Dina......but I longed for a bit more closure.

Without giving away any spoilers I will tell you what you could read on the book jacket cover.

"Detective Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy and his partner are sent to the abandoned, half-constructed housing development Broken Harbor to investigate the brutal murder of the Spain family. The husband and two children are dead. What Scorcher thinks is an open and shut case is quickly complicated when Jenny Spain is found barely alive, and the family’s circumstances are brought to light: hidden baby monitors, a strained mortgage brought on by the housing crisis, and the increasingly erratic signs of a family in crisis." ( )
  SquirrelHead | Mar 17, 2016 |
Another haunting story in the Dublin Murder Squad series. French does a great job with the protagonist's voice/characterization -- he's a self-important dude who's sure that he's right about everything and everyone gets what they deserve, I can't stand the man, but I couldn't put the book down for wanting to know what happened. And of course in addition to being an exciting murder mystery, it's a meditation on class, values, and fate in the wake of an economic crash. ( )
  lavaturtle | Mar 7, 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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