So if your adoptive father is a legendary, though never convicted, criminal mastermind and you have a psychiatric history with a rare syndrome that maSo if your adoptive father is a legendary, though never convicted, criminal mastermind and you have a psychiatric history with a rare syndrome that makes you feel as if you are dead, and smoking a lot of weed calms your anxiety, your first career choice would be…law enforcement? DC Fiona Griffiths of the Cardiff Police apparently thinks so. Despite her background history and preference for self-medicating with a Class B drug, Fiona Griffiths is also a rather good detective, especially when the victims have been murdered. Her syndrome also gives her empathy for the dead that borders on telepathy; she is able to sense the emotions of the victims and feels a bond with them. She also finds the dead are much easier to deal with than the living.
When the leg of a young girl shows up in a freezer five years after her disappearance, Fiona finds it fascinating. But when body parts of another victim are found scattered throughout the same neighborhood, she knows there is a connection. There are few murders in Cardiff so this is more than coincidence. The investigating task force, aptly nicknamed Operation Stirfry, is headed by the steely, glowering DI Rhiannon Watkins, a woman who puts the fear of God into everyone but Fiona. Fiona’s boyfriend, the sweet, patient, unruffled Buzz, is also part of the force. Buzz is aware of her past and, to Fiona’s amazement, he still puts up with her quirkiness and episodes of psychoses.
While this book is second in a series, it starts out slowly, introducing or reintroducing characters, for the new reader. The story builds as Fiona searches into the background of the two victims. Did they know each other? Why are the murders five years apart? And, oh dear God is her father’s strip club involved? Another mystery in Fiona’s life is who her real parents are. Her adoptive father, Tom Griffiths, found her in the back seat of his Jaguar when she was 2 ½ years old, a camera hanging around her neck. She can’t remember anything about her life before and wonders if her psych history is related to this.
The more Fiona digs into the murders the quirkier she gets. If this is the first book with Fiona Griffiths for a reader, then be prepared. She does not do things the way “normal” people or even police officers do. As she puts it, her “crazy brain” isn’t fazed by mind games, but she enjoys playing them. There are times she questions her own ability to feel, physically or emotionally, and she has these episodes of sheer psychoses that have her communing with the dead. She is a one of a kind character.
I enjoyed the book and all it’s divergent characters, especially Fiona. There is the hit man with the broken jaw, the former Russian spetsnaz turned martial arts instructor, the ghosts that visit Fiona, Buzz the boyfriend, and Watkins. My second favorite had to be Watkins or maybe it’s the amusing way the author described her and how she could paralyze a room with a bladed stare. All very good, memorable characters. The story is a tad convoluted and you almost need a police whiteboard to keep track of where it is going. But, I got a kick out of it and would love to read more of Fiona and her “crazy brain”. ...more
Since the day a friend recommended In The Woods by Tana French, I have been hooked. Her literary-style writing is beautiful, her stories complex, herSince the day a friend recommended In The Woods by Tana French, I have been hooked. Her literary-style writing is beautiful, her stories complex, her characters pitch-perfect, and her mysteries never end the way you think, or want, them to end. She is a writer whose books I recommend to other mystery readers and her newest book in her Dublin Murder Squad series, The Secret Place, will definitely be up there at the top of the list of recs.
Detective Stephen Moran has been trapped in Cold Cases for years. He needs a case that will get him into the coveted Murder Squad. When Holly Mackey, a student at the elite St. Kilda’s College for young girls, shows up looking for Moran with a clue to an unsolved murder from last year, he sees this as his big chance. He and Holly share a history from the book Faithful Place when she was a nine year-old witness. He hunts down the lead detective from the murder at St. Kilda’s, the prickly and foul-mouthed Antoinette Conway. Just as Holly handed Moran a gift, he in turn has one for Conway; she hasn’t had a solve in over a year and the St. Kilda’s murder was her first big case. The only female detective in the Squad, Conway is constantly trying to prove her mettle and she is not exactly up for membership in the after work pints with the boys club.
At St. Kilda’s the detectives find that teenage girls are not the most cooperative witnesses. Secretive, contemptuous, flirty, angry: the girls’ reactions to the detectives are all over the map. Whether their friendships are based on a true love or a fear of rejection, in the sterile bubble of this elite school the girls have formed cliques that are loyal only to each other. Moran and Conway are able to whittle down the witnesses to two different groups of friends that despise one another. The group the book focuses most upon is Holly and her three friends. Julia is the tough and cheeky leader, pretty but spacey Selena is the child of divorced parents, and Becca is the withdrawn child dropped off at the boarding school by her housekeeper because her parents live in Qatar. And Holly is the daughter of the polarizing Detective Frank Mathey from The Likeness and Faithful Place books. Love him or hate him, Frank is Holly’s da and you know he will make an appearance.
The story unfolds in two ways: Moran’s present tense first person narrative and the past tense of the girls’ experiences at the time of the murder. And with the present tense part, the detectives’ visit to St. Kilda’s takes place within less than one day. To add to the storytelling is the author’s countdown as to how much longer the murder victim will live. Interchanging the two narratives works well, it paints a fuller picture for the reader. We come to better understand the girls and their thought processes at the time of the murder. Because of their unstable home lives they are more than just friends, they are a family here at St Kilda’s. But, true to the real world, families can become dysfunctional with secrets and betrayal and pain.
While the detectives share this tale with the girls who play the largest part in the book, the story belongs to Moran. This is a man who is not completely altruistic in his motives: he does want to solve the mystery, but he also wants to use it as a stepping stone in his career. Conway has a good introduction into the series, but I felt she mostly took a backseat and watched as Moran connected and interviewed the girls. He is able to open doors that were slammed shut on her last year during her investigation. Solving this, even with Moran’s help, would boost her career as well. With each chapter, Moran feels he is connecting with Conway and stands a chance with advancement. But, the author is known for destroying squad partner relationships and this element adds to the tension of the story. And Mackey’s manipulative way with his fellow detectives does not help. Thank god his teenage daughter keeps him in line.
The Secret Place is well told, beautifully written and ties up all the loose ends by the finale of the book. Despite the predominance of teen-speak, the girls are all compelling and I cared for them deeply. But I did feel if one more person said “Um, hello?” I was going to go mental. The paranormal element is a bit odd and like in her other books with this component French does not fully explain it. But, once again, I highly recommend another of French’s Dublin Murder Squad mysteries. If you are a mystery reader looking for a complex, well written, and strong story peopled with multi-layered characters, her books are for you. I recommend starting at the beginning with In The Woods or even Faithful Place. They don’t need to be in order, but Faithful Place can help the reader understand why family matters so much to the characters, especially Holly. ...more
When I read the first Keye Street novel in the series by Amanda Kyle Williams, I fell in love. I loved Keye’s intelligence and wit and flawed characteWhen I read the first Keye Street novel in the series by Amanda Kyle Williams, I fell in love. I loved Keye’s intelligence and wit and flawed character. Her relationship with the yummy Lieutenant Aaron Rauser felt genuine and sweet. And her work as a detective/former criminal investigative analyst for the FBI had her chasing bail jumpers, missing cows, and dead bodies buried outside a crematorium. Her genius hacker partner is a stoner and her adopted black brother is gay. She daily fights her addiction to alcohol. The first two books were awesome.
This book, however, takes Keye out of her comfort zone of metropolitan Atlanta with her loft apartment and designer office and evolving relationship with Rauser and drops her smack into the tiny rural town of Whisper, Georgia. When Keye is called in as a consultant concerning the murders of two teenage girls, the territorial detectives in Whisper don’t trust her, everyone in town knows how she destroyed her career with the FBI, and the coffee sucks.
It is the best book in the series so far.
This well-paced mystery thriller is intelligent, witty, and is full of twists and monkey wrenches. The thrill Keye once experienced in the field with the FBI is palpable. Her brilliance is more apparent when she is given a job more complex than chasing skanky bail jumpers. But, it is hard to work as a “team” when the detectives of the sheriff’s department in Whisper are distrustful of the outsider Keye. It is equally hard to work with the handsome, too-good-to-be-true sheriff who loves animals and takes care of his elderly mother. Keye is not only faced with the horrific murders of the two girls, she is also confronted by her tendency, alcohol-based or not, to derail her own life. Her former marriage and former job with the FBI are painful testimony to her knack for self-destruction.
Keye’s ironically meticulous ability to read into the minds and motivations of murderers is completely opposite of her inability to control her own feelings. While in Whisper, a third girl goes missing and that torments Keye; her thoughts are haunted by the torture and terror the girl must be experiencing. She is also distracted by her increasing attraction to the sheriff. Her relationship with Rauser is strong and she loves him, but this thrilling chemistry with the sheriff is testing her addiction-prone personality. There were moments that I found myself mentally unsheathing my protective claws and wanting to swat the woman back to her senses.
It’s a gritty, very well written book, with humorous moments that has Keye facing not just a twisted murderer but her own unhealthy nature as well. I would recommend any new reader to start at the beginning of the series with The Stranger You Seek. It will help the reader to better understand Keye’s inner conflicts in this book. The whole series is excellent and the end of this book promises that the next will be just as personally difficult for Keye. And I will definitely read it.
Highly recommended for mystery readers who love a good twist and a kick-ass heroine. ...more
The horrific murder of a woman in Manhattan resembles the MO of a serial killer in upstate NY: female, multiple fractures to the arms post-mortem. ButThe horrific murder of a woman in Manhattan resembles the MO of a serial killer in upstate NY: female, multiple fractures to the arms post-mortem. But, the killer, Anthony Amaro, was tried, convicted and has been incarcerated for the past eighteen years. Is there a new killer out there or did they imprison the wrong man?
Alafair Burke's fifth book in the Ellie Hatcher series has adopted a different format for this story. She has Ellie Hatcher and her partner, JJ Rogen, as part of a "fresh look" team that reassesses Amaro's investigation and subsequent conviction. Burke also introduces attorney Carrie Blank, half-sister of one the women murdered years ago. Carrie is hired by the power-hungry celebrity lawyer representing Amaro to help prove the police forced an innocent man to confess. Both Carrie and Ellie have personal misgivings as to why each of them was chosen to investigate the murders. Ellie recognizes that if Amaro was wrongfully convicted, the police are at fault. Carrie's employer is banking on a conspiracy that will bring her more fame on Fox-like news stations and subsequent wealth when Amaro sues.
As each team tries to get to the bottom of what really happened eighteen years ago, Ellie finds that the case is placing a strain on her relationship with ADA Max Donovan, and Carrie starts to wonder why she was chosen to represent her half-sister's murderer. Looking at the big picture, Ellie wants justice for the dead women, but deep down she does not want to uncover a glaring law enforcement blunder. Carrie wants to clear her half-sister's reputation as a prostitute but feels traitorous representing the man who supposedly broke both her wrists and buried her in the park like the other women.
I have always like Burke's clear, intelligent, yet unpretentious, storytelling. Her last book, Never Tell, illustrated a more intimate, deeper level of writing with her characters that I liked. All Day and A Night shows me that Burke is continuing to delve more deeply into her characters' personal lives and personalities. Having two strong, opposing women as main characters was an appealing change. And as they both begin to peel back the layers of these murders, the reader realizes that the answers are not straight-forward and the truth is going to be painful.
It is a great book for Alafair Burke fans and mystery readers alike. And, as long as Burke keeps writing, I will continue to faithfully read her work.
The curator of the Edgar Allen Poe museum in Virginia is found sadistically murdered and headless. The next month, a tortured and flayed corpse is dis The curator of the Edgar Allen Poe museum in Virginia is found sadistically murdered and headless. The next month, a tortured and flayed corpse is discovered in Trondheim, Norway, her death similar to that of the curator. Five hundred years before, a mendicant monk wrote a book, bound in human skin, detailing his obsession of human anatomy, grave robbing, and murder. Somehow these events share a connection, and detectives from the two countries combine efforts to find the present day murderer.
Where Monsters Dwell is an intense, violent debut novel out of Norway that easily weaves the three stories so that the reader is successfully left guessing until it’s brutal ending. He has also created memorable characters, each personality enriched with their own history, strengths, shortcomings, and quirks. The ancient monk, his childhood spent digging up graves and selling the corpses, travels from town to town--collecting skin. Felicia Stone, a sharp, thorough detective from Virginia can never forget the murder scene in the museum. Police inspector Odd Singsaker of Norway, recovering from brain surgery, daily battles amnesia subsequent to his operation. Siri Holm, the new librarian is messy, lascivious, and likes to play her trumpet in the nude. And the heartbroken widow Jon Vatten, who I perceived to be the main character, is easily one of the most tragic characters ever.
However interesting and wicked the story may be, its narration is unusual. Felicia remains in Virginia trying to solve the curator’s murder and does not join Odd until the last quarter of the book. Odd, whose post-surgical character traits remind me of Jim Thompson’s Inspector Varra series, does not even come into the story until page 95. The story, instead, revolves around Jon and his painful life. I am not saying this is unsatisfactory, just unusual.
There are many elements of the story that are well done and clever, but sometimes the inexperience of the debut writer will pop up. After discovering the body of a minor character that has committed suicide, the detectives and Siri cheerfully go out for pancakes. Felicia and Odd’s last scene is a bit clunky. But, overall, it is a fantastic first book with clever twists and a shocking revelation in the last chapter.
I hear that this is the first of a series with Odd Singsaker and I will definitely check this out after the next book is translated into English.
For a book that starts with the sentence “Alex is in heaven”, the recently translated novel, Alex, by French author Pierre Lemaitre quickly descends iFor a book that starts with the sentence “Alex is in heaven”, the recently translated novel, Alex, by French author Pierre Lemaitre quickly descends into a nightmarish hell for the young woman in the title. While walking home one night after dinner, Alex is kidnapped by a stranger who beats her, calls her a whore, strips her naked and then crams her into a tiny wooden cage suspended from the ceiling of cold, damp warehouse. When she begs “why me?” the man simply stares at her and responds, “Because you are you”.
Commandant Camille Verhoeven is called in to investigate the kidnapping. For him, this case is incredibly painful as his pregnant wife was kidnapped and murdered four years ago. Preferring to work only the non-violent criminal division for the past four years, the lonely Camille finds himself drawn back into his previous line of work, especially with his former team members Louis and Armand. Despite his extensive education, multi-lingual background and family money, Louis is a humble man. Armand, however, proudly wears his second-hand clothing like trophies while he borrows pens, cigarettes, newspapers, and never pays his part for any restaurant bill. At five foot eleven inches, Camille is the size of a thirteen year-old, but has a colossal temper and razor sharp tongue that can slice even the largest of men into cowering wimps.
Each day, the stranger brings Alex with a handful of dog kibble and a small bottle of water. He lowers her cage so he can take a picture of her with his cell phone, tells her he is going to watch her die, and then leaves. Beaten, filthy and starving, Alex is forcibly curled into a constant fetal position that cramps her muscles while the rough wooden cage cuts into her skin. Then, the rats start to converge. These chapters with Alex are brutal, intense, horrifying, and definitely not for the squeamish.
For the first third of the book, Alex keeps wondering “why me?” And then, at this point, there is a huge twist that makes the reader start asking “why?” It is an astounding jaw-dropper that very few readers will see coming. And that is only one of the mind-blowing twists of many in this ingeniously written tale of conflict and revenge. To divulge anything that happens after the first chapter would ruin the experience for other readers. But, be prepared for a book full of clever, inspired curveballs that culminates with a well-planned, and satisfying, sucker punch. Although this book is heartbreaking, it is an incredible read.
Apparently, this is the first book of a trilogy and if the following books are anywhere near as phenomenal as Alex, I will certainly be the first in line to buy them. I highly recommend this book. ...more
Everyone wants to wish Archie a happy birthday. His kids, his ex-wife and her new boyfriend have barely finished singing happy birthday to him when thEveryone wants to wish Archie a happy birthday. His kids, his ex-wife and her new boyfriend have barely finished singing happy birthday to him when the festivities are interrupted. Archie is called in to investigate the dead body found in the bathroom of the The Gold Dust Meridian. Still wearing his party hat, Archie realizes the body is a DEA agent and the undercover contact for the son of one of the largest drug dealers in the Pacific Northwest. The son, Leo Reynolds, just happens to be the boyfriend of Archie’s reporter friend Susan.
There goes the party.
The DEA have been working to bust Leo’s father, Jack Reynolds, for years and Leo tells Archie he is close to getting some big names for them. Then, Leo disappears. Susan is frantic, or pissed, she can’t decide which, when she is invited to an exclusive masquerade party at Jack Reynolds’ island home. Archie is also invited and attends, but wakes up the next morning in the mud with a concussion, still wearing his tuxedo, remembering very little, and a dead body has turned up in the lake near Reynolds’ island
That was some party.
Footage from the security cameras shows what happened that night and it shouldn’t surprise any reader of the Chelsea Cain series: Gretchen is back. And she is just as psychotic as we remember. But, was she responsible for the dead girl in the lake? Archie knows Gretchen’s handiwork when he sees it, and this doesn’t have her usual tortured and slashed-to-death motif.
Just seeing on Gretchen on the security footage stimulates Archie’s constant and sub-therapeutic cravings for her. Their mutual obsession for one another is toxic. Archie’s marriage was destroyed, and after Gretchen tortured him in her basement for ten days he was left a scarred man with an addiction for pills…and Gretchen. In a few flashbacks to their sexual interludes before she was arrested for the Beauty Killer murders, the reader sees that Gretchen is in charge and she likes it kinky.
Oh, and Gretchen has a major surprise for Archie on his birthday
I really enjoyed this book in the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell series. Archie is emotionally flayed wide open for the reader. All his flaws and weaknesses come to light and he takes responsibility for them, especially to his wife and co-workers. And Gretchen, the urban Ninja, always three steps ahead of Archie and a total sociopath, appears to recognize the change in Archie. But is it something she will tolerate for very long?
Don’t be silly, darling. The party is just getting started. ...more
James Thompson’s latest addition to the Inspector Vaara series, Helsinki Blood, starts the story only a few weeks following the end of his last novel,James Thompson’s latest addition to the Inspector Vaara series, Helsinki Blood, starts the story only a few weeks following the end of his last novel, Helsinki White. While that last novel left Vaara and his team financially wealthy, they are physically and psychologically bankrupt: Vaara has sustained two crippling gunshot wounds, Detective Sargent Milo Nieminen has lost the use of his right hand, Vaara’s wife, Kate, while suffering from PTSD as a result of shooting a man with a sawed-off has abandoned Vaara and their daughter. Only the ironically named sociopath and thug, Sweetness, appears unaffected. Vaara, former police hero at the beginning of the series had become nothing more than a dispassionate and violent dirty cop lacking a moral compass.
And where Helsinki White showed how far Vaara had plummeted with his unscrupulous strategies to bring criminals to justice, Helsinki Blood illustrates his tortuous climb towards redemption. He wants back his dignity and integrity, but most of all he wants his wife to come back home so they can be a family again. Obviously it will not be easy. After a brick comes crashing through his window, a message referring to the money he stole penned upon it, Vaara realizes he, his friends, and family are still in danger.
Up against corrupt members of the Finnish government and untouchable Russian diplomats, Vaara and his team are forced to continue using their illegal black ops methods. Despite the team’s earlier efforts, women are still being kidnapped and forced into prostitution. And when an Estonian woman asks him to find her missing daughter with Down Syndrome, Vaara recognizes an opportunity to “become a white knight” and salvage his reputation, as well as his marriage.
Wounded and limping, abandoned by Kate and now a single parent, Vaara relies on his team, Sweetness’ girlfriend Jenna and Milo’s cousin Mirjami, who is in love with Vaara. As a group, they plot and drink (quite a lot) and Vaara must dodge the daily advances from Mirjami; a character I started to really dislike because of her disrespect for Vaara’s marriage.
While there is an action-packed and rather complex story concerning the corruption in Helsinki, I felt that it was actually background for Vaara’s much needed soul-searching. And I appreciated that. The last novel had me wondering if the series would continue with Vaara as the sociopathic rogue he had become. His character was usually a loyal and loving family man, a hero cop that saves children and immigrants, as well as an officer who would sometimes break a criminal’s fingers while arresting them. He has always been flawed, but the last book made him amoral and truly unlikable.
To sum up, this book illustrates the human Vaara, his imperfections, and his active endeavors to “become the white knight” again. If he happens to threaten some pimps or bust the teeth of the guy who threw a brick through his window, so be it. His intentions are in the right place this time. And I will continue to follow him with next book and the next. ...more
After reading her thriller, The Stranger You Seek, by Amanda Kyle Williams I was hoping she would continue with a series. The main reason? Her lead chAfter reading her thriller, The Stranger You Seek, by Amanda Kyle Williams I was hoping she would continue with a series. The main reason? Her lead character, Keye Street. A PI working out of Atlanta, carrying lots of baggage, wonderfully flawed, tough and independent, Street is a welcome addition to the growing roster of women in the mystery/thriller genre. And with Williams' second novel, Stranger in The Room, readers see that Street will be around for awhile.
Street is a Chinese-American raised in Atlanta by Caucasian parents after the murder of her grandparents; a horrifying experience she witnessed and still remembers. Highly intelligent with a PhD, Street worked as a profiler for the Bureau until her self-destructive addiction to alcohol destroyed her career. Now four years clean, the recovering Street runs a detective agency with her computer genius co-worker, Neil. With the addition of her sexy best friend, now lover, Lieutenant Aaron Rauser of the APD, Street's life, while not perfect, is starting to improve.
One night, her cousin Miki, a talented photographer, also with self-destructive tendencies, calls in a panic. She saw a man wearing a mask hiding and waiting for her in her living room. The police find nothing and she needs Street's help, and support, to prove she's not just a crazy drugged out freak with a mental health history looking for attention. Growing up with Miki, Street knows she can be melodramatic, but she is willing to help out family.
When Rauser is called in after a thirteen year-old boy is found strangled to death, he also asks for Street's assistance. Her talent as a profiler has helped the Atlanta PD immensely in the past, most recently with the Wishbone Killer. After an elderly man is discovered murdered and grotesquely displayed in Miki's house, Street begins to think all three incidents are related. But how? And, why?
Because the APD does not pay her bills, Street and Neil take a case from a previous client and travel outside of Atlanta to discover why a dead woman's urn contains dry cement and not her ashes. They stumble upon a grisly secret that is based on real events from a few years ago.
Street misses her former job, she still feels the thrill of putting together the evidence to puzzle out a mystery. She also misses the thrill of alcohol coursing through her body and she has stubbornly avoided her AA meetings for two years. Her mind, constantly brainstorming, works overtime to help Rauser and Miki, and abstain from alcohol.
Williams has created in Street a compelling and likable heroine with a wicked sense of humor and tough as nails attitude. She's flawed, funny, intelligent, independent and has a cat named White Trash. Her boyfriend, Rauser, is smart, sensitive, professional, and hot. They make a great combination solving murders and as a couple. And Williams paces her mystery well with intriguing twists and macabre breakthroughs.
One does not need to read The Stranger You Seek before picking up this novel, but it is also a great mystery which also shows the evolving relationship of Rauser and Street from friends to lovers. I know Williams has already started her third Street novel, and I will definitely be in line to buy it...more
In the beginning of Tana French's newest novel, Broken Harbour, the reader is told that this book, this case, will not end on a happy note. We are infIn the beginning of Tana French's newest novel, Broken Harbour, the reader is told that this book, this case, will not end on a happy note. We are informed that this textbook homicide is not the "dream case" Detective Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy of the Dublin Garda imagined it should have been. With that warning, so begins one of French's most psychologically complex, and tragic, mysteries yet.
Kennedy and his young trainee of two weeks, Detective Richie Curran, are sent to a new luxary housing development outside of Dublin to investigate the deaths of the Spain family. The dad, Pat, and the two children are dead; mother, Jenny, is undergoing surgery after being viciously stabbed. The development is in the village of Broken Harbour, now called Brianstown, and it holds deeply personal memories for Kennedy. His family used to vacation there every summer, the "happiest two weeks" of the year, until the death of his mother when he was fifteen. But, instead of the sleepy vacation hollow he remembers, it has become a ghost town of half-built homes abandoned by developers when the economy crashed.
The Spains were the perfect family. Pat and Jenny, once high school sweethearts, married and had two beautiful children; Pat had the perfect job, Jenny enjoyed buying the latest in fashion, they took extravagant vacations, owned two cars. Everything was perfect. Until the crash. Pat lost his job, they had to sell the SUV, and it turns out their dream home was shoddily put together by developers looking to cash in on the housing bubble. And Pat is starting to see signs of a predatory animal threatening his family.
Kennedy and Curran soon find that someone had been stalking the Spains, breaking into their house, even setting up camp in one of the abandoned homes next to theirs. When they catch the stalker and find enough evidence to convict him, they are congratulated for a job well done, shoulders are clapped, hands are shaken. Kennedy is impressed by Curran, he feels he's more than just a mentor to the young detective, that they have a partnership that can last for years and it's a feel good moment for the team; but the book is barely halfway finished. Like a Greek tragedy, the reader recognizes that this is the pride that goeth before the fall, this is the hubris of the tragic hero who must go undergo a change in fortune to achieve revelation.
As in her previous books, French has populated this story with characters that are more complex, and fragile, than they appear. Her characters are compelling and fascinating, making their fates that much more painful. Kennedy looks at everything as "black and white", but human nature is never that way, he should know this from his own life: his mother committed suicide and his sister, Dina, is "crazy as a bag of cats". The Spains may have appeared perfect couple to their friends and family, but why are Pat and the kids dead and Jenny mutilated? And why does the house have holes in the walls and baby monitors scattered throughout? Curran is the best partner Kennedy has ever had, but why does he feel the man is custody is not the murderer, and what does the young detective base this on? And why does Kennedy ignore the subtle, persistent alarms going off in his head.
Psychologically charged, beautifully and hauntingly written, Broken Harbour is an excellent police procedural that examines the frailty of the human condition and our painful submission to the unpredictability of our environment. Rigid and flawed thinking leads us down the slippery slope that proves, despite our best intentions, people are sometimes "no good at life". ...more