Sunday, July 22, 2012

Early Review of Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad, #4) by Tana French

  • Title: Broken Harbor: A Novel
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Murder Mystery
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (July 24, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0670023655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670023653
Author's Website: 
To Read an excerpt CLICK HERE

Brianstown, formerly Broken Harbor, is a new development. Before the economy took a nosedive, it promised to have everything a young family could want--playgrounds, a daycare, lots of room for the little ones to run around and explore, ocean views and plenty of other young families. Now only a handful of completed and occupied houses stood. The rest were in various stages of development and stood abandoned. Patrick and Jennifer Spain had bought into the dream. They were described as the perfect loving couple, but their 'happily ever after' was cut short. Something happened in that house that transformed the fairy tale into a nightmare. It's Detective Sergeant (Mick) Kennedy's and Detective  Garda (Richie) Curran's job to find out what.  

Mick Kennedy, aka Scorcher, is a 10 year veteran to the Dublin murder squad. He loves his job and he's good at it.  While most detectives shy away from the high profile cases, Mick relishes them. He sees them as challenges and has managed to solve cases where nobody claims to have seen anything. For the past 7 of the last ten years he's had one of the top solve rates of the department. When a case dealing with the brutally attack on a family of four lands in Mick's lap, he sets out to solve it with a detective in training in tow. Three of the family members are dead with the fourth one's life hanging in the balance. As Mick states, "this case should have gone like clockwork. It should have ended up in the textbooks as a shining example of how to get everything right. By every rule in the book, this should have been a dream case." Sometimes, however, things don't go the way they should. That's the funny thing about life. Sometimes it's unpredictable and uncontrollable...

This is the fourth book in the Dublin Murder Squad series and it could easily be labeled as a standalone. None of the main characters from the previous books appear in this one, but there is a link to 'Faithful Place'. In 'Faithful Place', Mick is part of the 'calvary' who comes to Frank Mackie's aid investigating Rose Daly's murder. Frank and Mick went to cop college together and Frank is the one who gave Mick the nickname Scorcher. If you'd like to refresh your memory, check out chapter 6 of Faithful Place.

By all accounts Jenny and Pat Spain were a happy couple. Sweethearts since the age of 16. When a murder like this happens, where the house is locked up tight with alarm system in place, it's usually the survivor the police first look to as a potential suspect, but Jenny had wounds she couldn't have inflicted herself. The second person they typically look at as a suspect is the spouse, but at the crime screen the detectives make a significant discovery. A bloody shoe print is found that doesn't match any of the crew working the murder or the victims. Now Mick and Richie will try to work their brand of magic and deconstruct what happened and catch a killer.

Ms. French once again creates a mystery that has you truly bonding with the main character and itching to know what happened. I love how Ms. French creates characters and situations that are so true to life you'd have no problem believing she'd fashioned them after real life people and events. One of the nice things Ms. French does in this book is have a secondary story that slowly gets divulged as the main story progresses. It gives us a better insight into Mick.

At one time, Broken Harbor held only fond memories for Mick. That was before his mother killed herself. As Mick slowly solves what happened to the Spains, memories of the two weeks leading to his mother's death haunt him. We slowly learn what happened to his mother, and see how it affected and molded him into the detective he's become. I believe the experience with his mother left him wanting to make sure people put the patterns of other tragedies together correctly, because people need to know what happened. Additionally, I believe he wanted to prove to himself things happened for a reason.

My favorite quote:
"Over time, the ghosts of things that happened start to turn distant; once they've cut you a couple of million times, their edges blunt on your scar tissue, they wear thin. The ones that slice like razors forever are the ghosts of things that never got the chance to happen." 

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. This book contains plenty of drama, mystery, twists and turns. It got a touch slow in he middle, but the ending picked up the pace and included things I couldn't have foreseen. If you think you know what happened, think again. Every time I thought I had it figured out, a new piece of information came to light. Ms. French is one of my favorite mystery writers for good reason and this book is an example of why.

Order of the Series:

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