In Broken Harbour, a half-finished and mostly abandoned housing estate near Dublin, a family has been attacked. The father and two children are dead, and the mother is in intensive care. Dublin Murder Squad's hotshot detective, 'Scorcher' Kennedy, is assigned to the case – but he soon discovers that it's not as simple as he'd thought. As always with Tana French, the sense of place is vividly and beautifully evoked: the abandoned estate is decidedly grim, and it's easy to see how claustrophobia could lead to such despair among its inhabitants. French's previous novels all feature a narrator whose past is directly linked to the present events, but this does not seem to be the case here; though there is a link, it is a tenuous one.
Unfortunately Scorcher is not as complex or interesting a character as those from the previous novels, and the plot is perhaps not as unusual, but there is still much to enjoy here. As well as French's lush prose and the sense of atmosphere, there are complex themes of economics, mental health and personal demons. Broken Harbour is more literary than the standard crime thriller, but has a complex and twisting plot that will keep you guessing right up until the final psychological twist.