Author Tana French
Series: Dublin Murder Squad #4
Publication Date July 24, 2012
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In Broken Harbor, a ghost estate outside Dublin - half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned - two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad’s star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once.
Scorcher’s personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk . . .
Can I say Wow? Is it too cliché to say Tana French has done it again? If it is well, I really don’t care because it is true! French has hit another ball out of the park.
In the tv show Castle, the real culprit is surreptitiously brought into question and typically dismissed, only to come back with a “remember that guy?” cue handcuffs, please. That is how I felt about Conor. He confessed at the beginning of the story, well where’s the story in that? There’s something fishy, something isn’t quite right, but what is it? That’s a lot of questions to be answered and the author slowly unrolls them in superb style.
I really like reading more about Scorcher and learning that he wasn’t as big an asshole as he was in Faithful Place. Like all of French’s detectives, he was smart and clever although, I didn’t care for his back story as much as some of French’s other novels in the Dublin Murder Squad series. Schorcher’s relationship with his sisters felt unfinished and thought it need some fine-tuning. Although, perhaps that was the point.
Richie, Schorcher’s partner I don’t really have much to say about. I did picture him as Nigel Bruce as Doctor Watson but otherwise was nondescript.
When I was younger, I had an incident where my eye swelled up, and when people I didn’t want to see would come over to “see how I was doing” I’d close my other eye and pretend to be asleep. I took advantage of my situation. Jenny closes her other eye from beginning to end, and while annoyed by it carries it off well leaving the reader asking “what could she be hiding?”
My only complaint is that I wish I had bought it in paperback or ebook as it was so gloriously big that when I stayed up late into the night I would wake up to the book in my face. Otherwise, Broken Harbor is a wonderful addition to Tana French’s repertoire.