Janebbooks's Reviews > Broken Harbor

Broken Harbor by Tana French
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Aug 04, 12

Read from July 24 to 25, 2012

A long time between drinks...

Up in the Carolinas of the southern part of the USA where I grew up, they have a saying that when the North Carolina governor says to the governor of South Carolina..."it's been a long time between drinks...," he or she is commenting on the length of time between children of some older parents...usually a gap of ten or more years. I can relate this curious time table to Tana French's extraordinary police procedurals that are blended with extreme psychological suspense. Frank Mackay, the protag of French's last book Faithful Place, has long since solved the case in Dublin's inner city and returned to the high-count sheets of Dalkey when a fellow officer appears at the crime scene at the beginning of BROKEN HARBOR.

It's been over two long years since Tana French has published a new crime story.

Detective Sergeant Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, of the Dublin Murder Squad, is the lead for this case which takes the reader north of Dublin to an almost abandoned housing estate on the Irish sea once called Broken Harbor. Scorcher and his family used to holiday in a caravan in that neck of the woods. He's a ten-year veteran cop with an impressive solve rate and is currently partnered with a ill-dressed rookie who's been on the job for two weeks. He believes the Spain family murders will be his "dream case." So he pockets a tie for Richie, checks out his "favorite silver Beemer from the car pool," and sets the GPS.

Harlan Coben has advance praise on the back of BROKEN HARBOR's dust jacket. "I've been enthusiastically telling everyone who will listen to read Tana French. She is, without a doubt, my favorite new mystery writer. Her novels are poignant, compelling, beautifully written, and wonderfully atmospheric. Just start reading the first page. You'll see what I mean."

Tana French is enthusiastically my favorite crime writer. In only a few pages or so into BROKEN HARBOR, she has nailed the squad room vernacular, placed the crime in a favorite part of the world, and carried us through the crime scene meticulously...all the while silently noting the economic depression of a Celtic tiger losing its fangs. "Just start reading the first page. You'll see what I mean."
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Chris I have a reserve on this book at the library and eagerly look forward to reading it.


Chris I just finished reading BROKEN HARBOUR. What can I say? It is brilliant: French hooks you in the first pages, strings you along with Scorcher's narrative (even though you are troubled throughout but not sure why - could it be that he is too distracted by his sister or is there really something wrong with his case), lands you a sucker punch, and then ties the threads with tidy little bows(or more correctly, some are bows and some are knots). Her depiction of the financial and social state of Ireland is depressingly accurate and sinisterly real - I was constantly reminded of the unfinished housing developments in the area in which I live. Every day I can see the reality of empty houses just looking out my front windows; however, I live in an older community that has been ravaged by foreclosures so the houses are closed and basically maintained (yards mowed, etc.). Nonetheless, I know that many of the young families here have similar lives to those of the Spains and I sometimes experienced cold chills as I read and made comparisons and connections. All in all, just an outstanding novel; and I agree with everything you wrote.


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