Book Reviews

Broken Harbor

Author: Tana French
Publish Date: 2012 by Viking
Genre: Literary Fiction / Mystery
Hardcover: 450 pages
My Rating: 3 stars

Here is a video synopsis by Tana French herself. Broken Harbor

“Over time, the ghosts of things that happened start to turn distant; once they’ve cut you a couple of million times, their edges blunt on your scar tissue, they wear thin. The ones that slice like razors forever are the ghosts of things that never got the chance to happen.”
~ Broken Harbor, Tana French

Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy, the brash cop from Tana French’s bestselling Faithful Place, plays by the book and plays hard. That is what’s made him the Murder squad’s top detective—and that’s what puts the biggest case of the year into his hands.

On one of the half-built, half-abandoned “luxury” developments that litter Ireland, Patrick Spain and his two young children are dead. His wife, Jenny, is in intensive care.

At first, Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, think it’s going to be an easy solve, but too many small things can’t be explained. The half dozen baby monitors, their cameras pointing at holes smashed in the Spain’s walls. The files erased from the Spain’s computer. The story Jenny told her sister about a shadowy intruder who was slipping past all the locks.

Broken Harbor holds memories for Scorcher. Seeing the case on the news sends 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 Harbor, back when they were children.

Upon hearing that Tana French has a new book coming in the Fall, I thought it was finally time I read my first Tana French novel. I tried reading one a long time ago, and just didn’t get hooked. Then I tried one on audio book, and didn’t finish that either. This time I was determined to see what all the hype was about, but this book felt extremely long to me. I don’t mind a long book, if it holds my attention, but this book goes into a lot of unnecessary detail in my opinion. There was a long chapter about the holes in the wall at the Spain’s residence and what type of animal they were trying to trap in there. Come to find out, it is important to the plot, but I still think it went on too long.

What does the book have going for it?
Her books are a cross between literary fiction, mystery, and police procedural. If a well told story where you follow the clues right along with the detectives is your thing, this might be right up your alley. There’s no denying the author’s lyrical prose and well crafted original plot. The mystery is intriguing. The novel delves into morally complex issues and some tough interpersonal dilemmas are explored. Character development is superb with each character being fully realized and unique.

The book and the plot are memorable and the house is a character in and of itself. It’s very atmospheric and because I spent so much time inside this house with this family, I’ll always remember the plot. Some books, I can’t remember the plot well after I read it – this one, I’ll remember. But I still found it tedious to sludge through all the detail. I did switch off between reading it and listening to it on audio book and found it easier to listen to. Despite my lukewarm review, I do want to try another Tana French novel at some point, probably on audio on a long road trip!

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