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Broken Harbour

(Dublin Murder Squad #4)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  82,270 ratings  ·  7,513 reviews
In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin – half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned – two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder Squad’s star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recessi ...more
Paperback, 533 pages
Published July 2nd 2012 by Hatchette Books Ireland
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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 gi…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)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  82,270 ratings  ·  7,513 reviews

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(B) 73% | More than Satisfactory
Notes: Serviceable mystery, but the b-story lacks teeth and it's too reliant on interrogation for tension and plot development.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-challenge
I miss Rob and Cassie. Wish she'd get back to their story :/

Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who are not afraid of a true psychological mindf*ckery, trademark Tana French style
2021: Bleak. Brutal. Devastating. And so good.

2013: This may be my favorite of Tana French's novels, tied with The Trespasser and just barely overtaking Faithful Place, 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'
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
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i was super invested in this. it had just the right amount of random that i was constantly on the edge of my seat. things were going every which way that it made this slow paced investigation feel exciting. i was totally prepared for a shocking ending.

but the last 50 pages or so turned me off. i think if the reader was given a definite reason for why certain characters acted the way they did, then i think i would have been okay with it. but the way things turn out, with the fact that the reader
Emily May
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing

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
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
The devil is in the details.

To me, the 100% spectrum of life is divided up between two tiny slivers of white and black, the great mass of the 99.999% between is a wall of grey, lighter at one end and darker at the other, but grey. For some people, this is heresy or foolishness, life is divided evenly between white and black; order and chaos, good and bad, us and them.

When I was on active duty in the US Army, there was a sergeant who loved to argue with me. He was a black and white guy, rules an
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Alex is The Romance Fox
After playing a minor role in Faithful Place, Mike 'Scorcher' Kennedy is able to steal the spotlight and prove readers why he is the Squad's star detective. Assigned to work with, Kennedy picks up a brutal assault/murder over in Brianstown, colloquially known as Broken Harbour.

In Broken Harbour, Tana French's 4th novel in her Dublin Murder Squad Series, Mike ("Scorcher") Kennedy, who played a minor role in the previous book, Faithful Place, has been assi
Dan Schwent
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Tana French continues to amaze with her fourth stunning Dublin Murder Squad novel, proving that binge-reading this series was a wonderful February treat. After playing a minor role in Faithful Place, Mike 'Scorcher' Kennedy is able to steal the spotlight and prove readers why he is the Squad's star detective. Assigned to work with rookie Detective Richie Curran, Kennedy picks up a brutal assault/murder over in Brianstown, colloquially known as Broken Harbour. When they arrive, the detectives dis ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2020
This was a good story with plenty of excellent police work and, for the most part, an interesting relationship between Michael Kennedy and his new partner Richie Curran.

Kennedy is the Dublin Murder Squads' star detective and he has a very high opinion of himself. As he is the narrator we hear his opinions, but we can see from how he deals with others that he is arrogant and single minded. Curran on the other hand is a sympathetic and caring person and brings a balance to their partnership.

The cr
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
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 isol
switterbug (Betsey)
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
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
Dec 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing

This is the fourth book in Tana French's 'Dublin Murder Squad' series, but - like the others - it can be read as a standalone.


Patrick and Jenny Spain and their two young children - Emma and Jack - living in an unfinished, decaying housing development in Brianstown (formerly Broken Harbor) Ireland are attacked.

Patrick and the children are dead and Jenny is barely alive.

Mike ("Scorcher") Kennedy and his rookie partner Richie Curran are assigned the case.

As usual with Tana French's books on
Em Lost In Books
Tana French is a author that I see on my home page frequently. Most of her books are claimed to be the best in their genre. so i was super excited to start this book and i think this was my biggest mistake.

While this started as a really gripping story with murder of a family and our detectives, Scorcher and Curran, searching for the murderer like hounds. They had their ups and down during the case. The newbie, Curran, showed a lot of potential during the investigation. He was like the fresh air
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
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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.
Joe Valdez
Dec 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great thriller from Tana French!

Broken Harbor is the fourth book in French's Dublin Murder Squad series, and it follows Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy and his rookie partner, Richie, who are trying to solve the murders of a father and his two children. The mother survived the attack, but doesn't remember much. Besides working on the case, Scorcher is also trying to deal with his mentally ill sister who keeps causing trouble.

One of the things I especially liked about Broken Harbor was Scorcher
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
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weep, babble-added
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 20, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020

Patrick Spain was the one in a hundred, after all. He had done everything right. He had married his childhood sweetheart, they had made two healthy kids, he had bought a nice house and worked his arse off paying for it and packing it full and sparkling with all the stuff that would make it into the perfect home. He had done every single fucking thing he was supposed to do.

And, yet, Pat Spain lies dead in the middle of his blood-spattered dream kitchen, surrounded by the corpses of his be
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2021 Reading Chal...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad #4) 60 48 Feb 26, 2021 02:52PM  
Broken Harbor...questions? Contains spoilers 22 1212 Nov 04, 2019 11:37AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 2 17 Feb 28, 2019 01:40PM  
Play Book Tag: Broken Harbor - Tana French - 3.5* 10 25 Dec 28, 2018 12:08PM  
His sister-Dena?? 2 40 Aug 19, 2018 05:07AM  
Play Book Tag: Broken Harbor / Tana French. 4.5 stars 1 13 Jan 24, 2018 08:39PM  

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Tana French is the New York Times bestselling author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, The Trespasser and The Witch Elm. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.

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)

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