Title: Broken Harbor
Author: Tana French
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Genre: Crime Fiction, Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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.
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: