Linda's Reviews > Broken Harbour

Broken Harbour by Tana French
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's review
Sep 04, 2012

really liked it
Read on September 04, 2012

I came late to Tana French, only because I read In the Woods, and it left me cold. I only picked up The Likeness because it was recommended to me. I absolutely loved it. Not loved - I was completely hoodwinked by it. It consumed me for a while. Then I read Faithful Place, and while that was an interesting story, and certainly worth reading, it did not haunt me the way The Likeness had.
Broken Harbor carries some of that haunting aspect. I think all of French's novels do. She somehow carries everything back to childhood - each of her detectives is haunted by something. There's always a dark family secret, a desire to escape class or family boundaries (class is apparently a big thing in Ireland), or some kind of family mental defect that continually haunts our protagonist.
Don't get me wrong, I like this haunting, hazy feeling, looking back at childhood, those oh-so-happy days of youth before the world kicked you in the stomach. I think she captures it quite well.
I just don't think it's enough to base a series on.
And yes, I liked Broken Harbor. But it broke our poor detective, too, and that, to me, is kind of a crap ending. I am a stickler about endings, and this one just didn't work for me.
The story is certainly compelling enough - I did not see that solve coming. But there are a couple plot devices that seem a little too pat, and I wish we didn't have to resort to that.
I like French's invoking of the Irish sentimentality. I don't think she does that as well as say, Erin Hart, but she has definitely got something there (Erin Hart has the music, that lends a more other-worldly feel to her stories).
The ending, though, has to ring true. This is what turned me off from In The Woods. But she hit it out of the park in The Likeness and now I just have to wait for the next one to see just how hit-or-miss she really is.

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