Book Review: Broken Harbor – Tana French

Title: Broken Harbor
Author: Tana French
ISBN: 9780670023653
Pages: 464
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Mick Kennedy, nicknamed “Scorcher”, is one of the top detectives on Dublin’s murder squad. That’s why he’s assigned the case out at Broken Harbor – a family is found dead out in a stalled, crumbling development. Only the mother appears to have survived, and she’s in critical condition. It seems straightforward, until Scorcher arrives at the house and finds random holes in the walls with baby monitors pointed at them. As he delves deeper into the case, he realizes that nothing is as it seems.

Review:

Broken Harbor is a riveting mix of crime fiction and psychological thriller, told through the eyes of a seasoned cop living in Dublin. Mick Kennedy is rough around the edges, but it’s clear from the beginning he’s a good cop. He’s earned his stellar reputation; he isn’t afraid to take risks, but he knows when to draw the line. He can be frustrating at times, a bit intense, but he’s also easy to like. His relationship with his sister, Dina, who is unstable (at best) is touching; most people wouldn’t have reserves for that kind of patience.

Mick can be single-minded about his cases, which is why the events of Broken Harbor are such a challenge for him. Every new piece of information adds a different facet to the case. What may seem straightforward at one moment can turn into a bottomless puzzle at the next. Each answer seems to provoke more questions. While the reader keeps an open mind about the identity of the killer, Mick seems to fixate on people. Though he isn’t afraid to change his mind to accommodate new evidence, this single-mindedness doesn’t work well in these circumstances.

Despite the difficulty they present for Mick and the other detectives in the novel, the twists and turns of Broken Harbor provide an absolutely delightful (if disturbing) reading experience. This book is anything but straightforward. It’s incredibly intense and layered. It moves forward at a fast pace, never letting up, and continually building suspense. It’s awe-inspiring how French’s mind works, as she sets up trap after trap for the reader to fall into.

Broken Harbor is a novel you’ll want to make time for; once you start it, you’ll want to read it through to the end. It’s wonderfully written and completely gripping. French provides a compelling backstory for Scorcher, fleshing out his character well, but it doesn’t overtake the main storyline. If you’re looking for a book to lose yourself in, this is absolutely a novel you’ll want to pick up.

Other books by Tana French:

Faithful Place
In the Woods
The Likeness

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Comments

  1. OK, so I’m starting to sound like a broken record here. Waiting for the library to deliver my audio (which I’m sure will be mind-blowing because all of French’s audios are). I love Tana French more than air. Her mysteries are the definition of smart, unpredictable, memorable fiction. Tana French for President.

  2. OK, so I’m starting to sound like a broken record here. Waiting for the library to deliver my audio (which I’m sure will be mind-blowing because all of French’s audios are). I love Tana French more than air. Her mysteries are the definition of smart, unpredictable, memorable fiction. Tana French for President.

  3. I LOVE Tana French. This is my next read.

  4. I LOVE Tana French. This is my next read.

  5. This one is on my short list of Must Reads that can’t stay on the WishList long…need to get to it soon!!!

  6. This one is on my short list of Must Reads that can’t stay on the WishList long…need to get to it soon!!!

  7. I STILL haven’t read French, though I own the first two books she wrote. I may need to get these in audio, that way I might be able to get to them sooner. Everyone was really excited about this book coming out, and I can see there was really good reason for that to be so. I am glad that you loved this one. I can’t believe that I have been so remiss in the fact that I have been ignoring her books!

  8. I STILL haven’t read French, though I own the first two books she wrote. I may need to get these in audio, that way I might be able to get to them sooner. Everyone was really excited about this book coming out, and I can see there was really good reason for that to be so. I am glad that you loved this one. I can’t believe that I have been so remiss in the fact that I have been ignoring her books!

  9. This was my first book by French, and I loved it. You beat me to the review…

  10. This was my first book by French, and I loved it. You beat me to the review…

  11. I love this author! I didn’t know there was a new book out. Thanks for the review. I just finished a really amazing book. It is called, “Kincaid and the Legal Massacre” by author Curtis D. Carney. This a fiction novel a wildlife biologist is sent to the Bering Sea on the Pribilof Islands where he is engaged in a struggle to restrain the massacring of Northern fur seals while trying to rescue the the native Inuit wives from rogue kidnappers. http://www.insightpressbooks.com/

  12. I love this author! I didn’t know there was a new book out. Thanks for the review. I just finished a really amazing book. It is called, “Kincaid and the Legal Massacre” by author Curtis D. Carney. This a fiction novel a wildlife biologist is sent to the Bering Sea on the Pribilof Islands where he is engaged in a struggle to restrain the massacring of Northern fur seals while trying to rescue the the native Inuit wives from rogue kidnappers. http://www.insightpressbooks.com/

  13. Tana French is one of my favorite writers – I quite liked The Likeness and In The Woods, and I’m giving away a copy of Broken Harbor at my blog :
    http://www.fridaynirvana.com/fiction/2012/08/book-giveaway-tana-frenchs-broken-harbor.html

  14. Tana French is one of my favorite writers – I quite liked The Likeness and In The Woods, and I’m giving away a copy of Broken Harbor at my blog :
    http://www.fridaynirvana.com/fiction/2012/08/book-giveaway-tana-frenchs-broken-harbor.html

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