Broken Harbor, by Tana French

Broken HarborTana French, you’ve ripped my heart out yet again. And I loved it.

I was nervous about this book after my previous disappointment slash failure of expectations. I figured I’d let it sit a while, do its thing, then maybe pick it up in a week or two. Instead, I got stuck in traffic on the way home from the library, read about five pages while stopped, and eagerly devoured the rest of it over the next couple of days. And then died a little bit.

Broken Harbor follows French’s tried-and-true style of a crazy-pants mystery that weighs on some slightly-less-crazy-pants detectives. In this go-round, our mystery seems to be a family murdered in their home — a father, a young son and daughter, and an only mostly dead mother who is whisked off to the hospital — but gets weird when the detectives notice a bunch of holes in the wall with video baby monitors pointed at them, and weirder still when they realize someone has been seriously and creepily spying on the dead family.

On the detective side, our narrator is Scorcher Kennedy, fresh off his own disappointment in the last book and ready to solve the heck out of this case. In addition to that baggage, he also has a dead mother who killed herself many years ago not far from the dead family’s house and a troubled sister who chooses this inopportune time to require Scorcher’s presence 24/7.

The mystery part is both fantastic and awful; there are twists and turns and subtle shifts galore and at parts I found myself wanting to skip ahead several pages to find out what was going to happen because I couldn’t stand being so anxious anymore! I held out, but barely.

And the personal part… I may not have felt a connection with Frank Mackey last time, but Scorcher, man, I liked him a lot. I wouldn’t be friends with him, largely because he wouldn’t let me, but I would definitely read another book about Scorcher (or Rob Ryan! Or Cassie! What are they doing and why won’t you tell me, Tana French???). I just continue to wonder how the Dublin police department functions with their detectives constantly getting into such weird crap.

This is one of those books I don’t want to say too much about because it’s way more fun to experience on your own, but please, go read it and then come back and let’s talk about all the things down in the comments!

Recommendation: For lovers of Tana French, insane mysteries, and awesome Irish slang.

Rating: 9/10

4 thoughts on “Broken Harbor, by Tana French

  1. Steph & Tony Investigate! says:

    I am right there with you! I too was mildly disappointed by her last book, Faithful Place, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this one, especially as I didn’t much care for Scorcher in FP. Thankfully my fears were unfounded, as I think this might be one of her best books yet! I love how she writes such great mysteries, but the really compelling aspects are the characters! I am fully back on board the love train!

    • Alison says:

      I think I will always be partial to In the Woods, but this one is definitely in, you know, the top three! 🙂 I had forgotten that I was worried about this Scorcher dude while reading FP, but he was definitely a winner in the end.

  2. raidergirl3 says:

    OMG the holes in the wall. The more I remember about that book, the better it gets. I think I read the last 100 pages so fast, I’m still figuring things out. I didn’t like Scorcher in FP either, but he was much more understandable in this book (life lesson – don’t judge people until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes!)
    What about The Likeness? Have you read it? It had the best plot set up – unbelieable. French is definitely improving with each outing.

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