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Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad #4)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  39,876 Ratings  ·  4,602 Reviews
The mesmerizing fourth novel of the Dublin murder squad by New York Times bestselling author Tana French

Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, the brash cop from Tana French’s bestselling Faithful Place, plays by the book and plays hard. That’s 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
Hardcover, 450 pages
Published 2012 by Viking
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Deb The author tends to feature a supporting character of the first book as the main character in the next, and so on, and so on. Reading them in order…moreThe author tends to feature a supporting character of the first book as the main character in the next, and so on, and so on. Reading them in order gives you an introduction to a character before he or she becomes the central character in the next book. (less)
Lauren Doesn't matter. French loves to have you constantly questioning is it the monster in your bed or the monster in your head? Remember In The Woods?
Shadow of Night by Deborah HarknessThe Sandcastle Girls by Chris BohjalianBroken Harbor by Tana FrenchThe Next Best Thing by Jennifer WeinerBeautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Most Anticipated Books Summer 2012
3rd out of 34 books — 99 voters
Fire Kissed by Erin KellisonShadow of Night by Deborah HarknessEndlessly by Kiersten WhiteParish Secrets by Megan WhiteSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Best Books of July 2012
16th out of 94 books — 192 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 26, 2015 karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: distant-lands

I'm the least fanciful guy around, but on nights when I wonder whether there was any point to my day, I think about this: The first thing we ever did, when we started turning into humans, was draw a line across the cave door and say: "wild stays out." What I do is what the first men did. They built walls to keep back the sea. They fought the wolves for the hearth fire..

there is no better quote to encapsulate this book. because wild doesn't always want to stay out, and tana french keeps finding
Nov 17, 2013 Lost_In_Kudzu rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-challenge
I miss Rob and Cassie. Wish she'd get back to their story :/

Tana French could write an obituary and I would read it. I would, in fact, hunt down the newspaper just so that I could read it. Ms. French's books are the sum of almost everything I love in fiction -- flawed characters, seriously messed up pasts, conflicting moral questions, interesting settings and subtle social commentary. I believe French's writing could be easily categorized as mystery or thriller, but I think putting French's books in those boxes is misleading and doesn't do her books the ...more
Sep 19, 2014 Nataliya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone and anyone.

This may be my favorite of Tana French's novels, just barely overtaking In the Woods, and I loved it immensely.
At its heart, it's a book about the terror of madness, the dreams gone awry, the slow spiral that gets you to your breaking point, and the sad pathos of desperately grasping at the straws that tether you to the world of familiar safety of normalcy.

The setting of this novel scares me in the way it's grounded in reality. This is no longer Ireland of In the Woods, Celtic Tiger rushing o
Nov 13, 2012 Elaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Next time I pick up a Tana French book, someone beat me please. The spark that animated the first two books, and compensated for their structural weaknesses, has turned sour.

This book just drags. While the premise -- that Ireland's recession and housing crash can literally drive you crazy or kill you - was intiriguing, the book was just bloated and in need of a good editor. The plot bogs down for about 300 pages in the middle -- I was so bored that I convinced myself into thinking the end would
There are certain things I pride myself on - the ability to read through a tremendous racket without losing my thread of concentration, the audacity to share my blasphemous distaste for pizzas with pizza worshippers who then proceed to shoot me death glares, and more pertinently, the way I don't balk at rating a piece of mainstream literature 5 stars if it has shown the grit to discard gimmickry and preserve that golden human touch.

How ingeniously Tana French subverts the formulaic plotting of
Dan Schwent
Sep 13, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
In a lonely development on the Irish Sea, two children and their father are dead and the mother is on death's door. Who killed them? That's what Scorcher Kennedy and his new partner, Richie, mean to find out. Will what they find destroy them?

Broken Harbour is the story of one man's obsession with order and a family's gradual descent into chaos. When Pat Spain gets downsized, things start falling apart for the Spain family but was it enough for Pat to kill his family and himself?

Scorcher Kennedy
Emily May

Broken Harbour is yet another gripping psychological mystery from one of my favourite authors. I love how Ms French can always be relied on to deliver something brilliant that is far more about people and their mentalities than it is about simply solving cases. She has a real talent for creating personalities that seem to jump off the page and Scorcher Kennedy is no exception.

Though all her novels offer an in-depth exploration of the human mind, I think Broken Harbour is perhaps the one that be
Khanh (the Grinch)
At first glance, Ocean View looked pretty tasty: big detached houses that gave you something substantial for your money, trim strips of green, quaint signposts. Second glance, the grass needed weeding and there were gaps in the footpaths. Third glance, something was wrong.

“The village of the damned.”
Every master of horror knows that true fear does not originate from a basement, fear crawls up through your spine through the emptiness of a vast, vacant room. Fear comes from isolation, and isolat
switterbug (Betsey)
Jul 24, 2012 switterbug (Betsey) rated it it was amazing
I’ve been an avid fan of Tana French since her chilling debut novel, In the Woods, a poetically written murder mystery that combined police procedural with psychological thriller. She writes evocatively about solitary adults afflicted by damaged childhoods. Her novels go beyond the murder cases and weave layered tales about memories, the search for identity, the healing of broken families, and the social and economic issues of contemporary Ireland. Broken Harbor will satisfy old enthusiasts and ...more
Feb 24, 2016 Arah-Lynda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-said
Tana French delivers again.

Murder detective Mick ( Scorcher) Kennedy is on a high profile case located in what was formerly known as Broken Harbour, now Brianstown, where his family used to vacation. He has a rookie, Richie, under his wing but it is Mick who tells us this story.

Brianstown is a relatively new community development that promised would be residents an idyllic seaside community, a safe place to raise your family, build a life, pursue your dreams, then the economy plummeted leaving B
Jul 20, 2012 Catie rated it it was amazing
Tana French is responsible for some of the most all-consuming, vivid characters I’ve ever experienced. Reading her books, for me, is often like becoming a different person for a little while. She doesn’t just write characters; she seems to channel them. More than just about any other writer’s, her characters are like real people to me - and these are not simple, happy people. These people have pasts. They have layers and layers of coping mechanisms and justifications and habits that shield them ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
3.5 stars

Netterooski's Top Five Suggestions For Alternate Titles:

The Critter In the Crawlspace
A Rodent In the Rafters
The Monitor Murders
Paddy's Pretend Pet?
Video Vermin

If you've read the book, the above needs no explanation. If you haven't yet read it, prepare yourself for obsessive coverage of animal behavior.
Dec 28, 2012 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 30, 2013 Eh?Eh! rated it it was amazing
Shelves: babble-added, weep
I crave family. Not my own poor, battered and scarred little nuclear one that raised me, the one that's settled into a comfortable but rather arms-length tapdance that I can't quite figure out how to consciously approach with the same depth of instinctive draw that wells up in emergencies. I crave the idea of that eff word, the individuals who rely on each other for supportive encouragement and the liberty to deliver buttkicking reality checks, who don't question a welcome, who will listen to an ...more
Sep 27, 2012 Step rated it liked it
Much better than the third book in the series, and some great buildup, as always, but UGH, Tana French needs to learn to stick the landing. I'm still frustrated over the ending of the first book, and only the second has had an ending deserving of the previous x pages. With this one, unrealistic character choices makes for an ending that doesn't quite make any sense, and certainly doesn't match the journey we took to get there. But, it was better than the third book? Now can we PLEASE find out wh ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Tatiana rated it really liked it
As seen on The Readventurer (double feature with Catie)

After more than 6 months filled with disappointments that came like blows from my favorite authors (Bitterblue, Holier Than Thou, Gone Girl, The Calling), I thought I couldn't count on any of my precious to deliver the goods. Apparently, I can still rely on Tana French to keep up her standards. Broken Harbor is not maybe my favorite novel of hers (I think Faithful Place is), but definitely not weaker than any of her previous works.

All her bo
Dec 12, 2012 Carol. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: psychological mystery fans everywhere!
Shelves: mystery, male-lead
I'm going to do two things I almost never do.
First, I'll tell you how to read: Sit down and pay attention to this book. Read in large, uninterrupted blocks of time. Trust me; you will better be able to appreciate French's character evolution (or dissolution) and the many layers of the plot become all the more shocking when they've had the chance to properly build.

The second thing I rarely do: spoiler part of my review. For my memory and discussion's sake, I must be specific.

Once again, French i
Moira Russell
I'm going to have to try to write up a review later. I cannot believe I have been so gutted by a psychological thriller. Poor Kennedy. Poor Richie. Poor Jenny. Man.

(This is the review that made me really sure I wanted to read it: )

ETA Oh here, have a tl;dr comment since apparently I can't write reviews anymore, WARNING it is full of spoilers. Giant crashing spoilers that will make you want to go out and buy one of those old cartoon-style traps, yes.

I was
James Thane
This is another excellent psychological crime novel from Tana French. In this case the book features another member of the Dublin Murder Squad, Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, who first appeared in a minor role in French's last book, Faithful Place.

Kennedy has the best solve rate on the squad. He's the star, and thus when a particularly brutal homicide occurs, Mick is assigned to the case. He's also teamed with a new young partner, Richie Curran, and, in addition to catching a killer, he's expected to
Nov 20, 2014 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Ah, deadly. Thank you, Tana French, for writing whole-heartedly excellent books that come along just when I'm in a major slump & kick me in the pants. You are going to write several more of these, correct? Please?

Oh, this book. This book is so good. It scared me to bits, to the point that when I went to bed late at night on the day I started reading it, I made myself jump when I caught my own shadow moving. Baby monitors sitting in front of holes broken in the walls = way scary, in case you
Joe Valdez
Dec 21, 2015 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense
The fourth novel by Tana French and #4 in a series narrated by a detective of or working with the Murder Squad in Dublin would've been a convenient spot for the bestselling author to go on auto-pilot and take a coffee break. She's earned it, writing three phenomenal novels in steady succession. Published in 2012, there are major challenges with this one, not only to spin another intoxicating murder mystery, but do so with main characters who seem to be running for Prick of the Year honors. In sp ...more
Feb 06, 2015 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last year I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Secret Place in a Goodreads giveaway and I really enjoyed it. Since then I picked up Broken Harbour in the same series, hung on to it for a while thinking I really should read the first three books in the series first, but finally settled in for a darn good read. The wonderful thing is it doesn’t seem to matter which order you read the books in as each focuses on a different detective in the Dublin Murder Squad with no references to past cases or ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Mara rated it really liked it
Creepy as hell, this one has definitely earned itself a place on my baby shower gift guide shelf…
Oct 24, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it
I'm going to ramble a bit here, hopefully to help me sort out my thoughts. Insomnia woke me, and I finished the book during 5 hours I should have been asleep.

Veteran Detective Mick Kennedy and his rookie partner, Detective Richie Curran catch a murder case in an abandoned, unfinished housing development in Broken Harbor. The setting is bleak, desolate, windy, and cold with the ever present sound of crashing waves in the background. Kennedy, as mentor to the rookie, is a by-the-books, things are
This was my first Tana French novel. I know,I know. . . I didn't start at the beginning of the series. I didn't struggle much at all to get my bearings in the story. The author did a good job of bringing the reader up to speed.
It is a murder mystery, a psychological one really. We were really in Detective Kennedy's head as he worked to solve a murder of a family located in a place that held dark childhood memories for him.So over all I would give the story 3.5 stars.
However, I listened to the
"I’m the least fanciful guy around, but on nights when I wonder whether there was any point to my day, I think about this: the first thing we ever did, when we started turning into humans, was draw a line across the cave door and say: Wild stays out. What I do is what the first men did. They built walls to keep back the sea. They fought the wolves for the hearth fire."

“Just about everything in this life is treacherous, ready to twist and shape-shift at any second; it seemed to me that the whole
Jul 30, 2012 Sheila rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012, ireland
I've read a lot of graphic, violent, extreme-serial-killer thrillers, but never, until Broken Harbor, have I read a mystery novel that scared me. This one, however, was disturbing. The events in this book--beginning with the first walk-through after the crime--completely unsettled me. A couple images from the book: (view spoiler) will stay with me--and spook me--for a long time. One of my favorite genres of novel is a haunt ...more
Oct 07, 2012 Nicholas rated it did not like it
This was, and this is no exaggeration, PREPOSTEROUS. So implausible that it just drove me crazy by the time I figured out what was happening. And not just that, but it was about 200 pages longer than it needed to be: endless scenes of dialogue with very little forward movement. All those extra pages only makes a reader even more enraged when s/he discovers what actually happened because it feels like an even greater waste of time.

I may be alone in not loving French's Faithful Place more than al
Arielle Walker

Devastating. Devastated.

There is no joy in this book - none at all. This may sound obvious with a plot centring around the homicide of a family (including children), but in each of French's previous novels there is always a gentleness somewhere, a few moments of respite and of lightness and of hope. Yes, even the first (In the Woods) which deals with psychopaths and the murder of a child. I'm not sure if the plot in Broken Harbour is the reason for the absence of all of these, or if it is du
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Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theater, film and voice-over.
More about Tana French...

Other Books in the Series

Dublin Murder Squad (6 books)
  • In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)
  • The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad, #2)
  • Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #3)
  • The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)
  • The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, #6)

Share This Book

“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.” 42 likes
“People you knew when you were teenagers, the ones who saw your stupidest haircut and the most embarrassing things you've done in your life, and they still cared about you after all that: they're not replaceable, you know?” 27 likes
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