Broken Harbor

Friday, October 10, 2014

Broken Harbor
by Tana French

The best way I can describe Tana French's novels is that they get under your skin. The worlds she creates seem to give me tunnel vision, the farther I get into the book the more I'm wrapped up in the detectives' lives and their struggle to find the answers to their case.

This is the fourth books in the Dublin Murder Squad series, and features Detective Kennedy, a straight arrow. He's put on a dark case, a home attack that left a father and two kids dead and the mother in critical condition. The plot explores the cracks in our lives that aren't always easily visible to those around us. Kennedy's personal history and his troubled sister cause complications in the case as he tries to teach a new rookie the ropes.

I didn't love Kennedy as a character, but we aren't supposed to. He is rigid, seeing the world in black-and-white, but it's because he needs boundaries and fears what happens to those who spend too close to the edge.

This book follows the case of a murdered family, their history is slowly reveal as the detectives uncover pieces of their lives. One interesting thing about French is that she never feels the need to tie everything up with a nice pretty bow in the end. The murder mystery is always resolved, but issues in the detectives lives, other elements of the case, etc. are often left for the reader to determine.

BOTTOM LINE: Each of the books in the series works completely as a standalone. The Likeness remains my favorite, but every single one of them has deepened my appreciation for the author and heightened my anticipation for her next book. This one was no exception.

I save French's books to enjoy on vacation or times when I know I'll be able to dive into the novel. That's because she's one of my treasured favorite new authors to read and I ration her work. If you love a good mystery, with excellent writing, moody Irish settings and wonderful character doubt, you just have to check her out.

*Read as part of the R.I.P. Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.


Mystica said...

I like the sound of the moody Irish settings.

Sandy Nawrot said...

It seems like most mystery novels have layers...a primary case but personal stuff going on behind the scenes. But French does it in a way that is different from everyone else. I don't know, she is more visceral, more dark and mental than most I think. I love your description of getting tunnel vision. That is it exactly. I get totally sucked in, and when I finish it is hard to get engaged in anything else.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Mystica - I love them!

Sandy - Oh my gosh yes, she's the master!

Trisha said...

French is one of those authors I keep meaning to read since so many bloggers love her work.

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

The only French novel I've read is In the Woods, and I only thought it was okay. I did, however, like French's writing and the Irish setting so I'm committed to trying another of her novels. Maybe I'll go with The Likeness since it's your favourite.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Trisha - You should definitely check her out! Wait until you're in the mood for a good mystery.

Melissa - In the Woods was good, but I didn't love it. If you're up for it, give The Likeness a shot!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

Glad I'm not the only one who rations out author's works--though I tend to take it to the extreme and then forget to read the author for a few years (looking at you Atwood!). I've been meaning to dive into French, even though I'm not a fan of series books, and am thrilled to hear they can be stand alone. Looking forward to finally discovering her work!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Trish - I'm OCD so I had to read the first book in the series first. But if it doesn't bother you, I would recommend reading The Likeness first.