Saturday, June 27, 2015
"Broken Harbour", by Tana French
Each time I read review I learn something new I never paid enough attention to notice that Ms. French uses a nifty trick of extracting a secondary character from her previous book to put him as the narrator and test him by events she had in store for her current endeavor. I admit not to be a faithful fan and having taken a long break before picking up “Broken Harbor”. This hiatus was exactly what I needed to enjoy and be deeply engaged by the story.
Detective Michael Kennedy (Scorcher from the previous novel) and his newbie partner Richie Curran are handed a horrific case out in one of Dublin’s dying estates built during the housing boom: the Spain family has been slaughtered. It is up to our loveable detectives to delve right in and piece everything together …. Or so we think…
The plot is exciting and a well-crafted detective story. The first part of the book is the set up. We follow the police procedures and slowly the buildup comes along and we have some interesting observations about murder and how people behave. The interrogation phase unfolds at a leisurely pace and plays a good part in this mystery. Then we move into a full page-turner mode and everything gets more puzzling with each new twist. Scorcher’s voice is outstanding and the prose is vividly brilliant. This novel is not only a complex mystery it is also an interesting and chilling metaphor for mental illness and depression. The protagonist’s past (a sub-plot) is quite effective. I also would say that Ms. French vision of Ireland in post economic collapse is fascinating.