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.