Monday, July 23, 2012

Broken Detective?

Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad #4)  by Tana French (Viking hardcover, 24 July 2012).

Two years ago, we met Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy in French's Faithful Place.  Frank Mackey, the protagonist of that book, thought Kennedy was a "pompous, rule-bound, boring git".  Of course, he's more complicated than that, as we learn in Broken Harbor.

Like Faithful Place for Frank Mackey, Broken Harbor (now known as "Brianstown") is a part of Kennedy's past.  He remembers it as the location of idyllic summers when he was a teen, renting a caravan on the beach with his family.  Now, it's a failed attempt at an upscale housing development, begun at the top of the real estate boom, and unfinished as a result of the recession.  Only a few of them are inhabited, and most of the others are half-built and used by children and teens to "play" in.

Along with his trainee partner Richie Curran, Mick Kennedy is assigned a multiple murder case, where victims are a father and his two young children.  The mother is alive, but critically injured.
Although it first appears to be a straightforward murder-suicide, there are too many pieces that don't fit the puzzle, including evidence that someone broke into the house.

On top of having a life-consuming case, Kennedy suddenly has to deal with his psychologically troubled younger sister Dina,  who is spinning out of control as she does periodically.  Since they have an unspoken agreement that they will care for Dina themselves, Mick and his older sister Geri take her in when her illness takes over.  Unfortunately, this time Gina's husband and daughter have the 'flu, and she's too overwhelmed to take on an unbalanced sister.

This story is written in the first-person, from Scorcher Kennedy's viewpoint, and French inhabits him masterfully.  Although we can only see what he allows us to see, we are definitely using his eyes and mind, and only at the end of the book can we sit back and attempt to be objective.


It's not necessary to read the Dublin Murder Squad books in order, but if you enjoy one, however, you must definitely read them all!

*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me a copy of the book for review purposes.


  1. Great review. I just wanted to add that Tana French is an award-winning author and highly respected by other authors in the crime fiction community. Thanks for sharing your reads with us, Marlyn.

  2. This sounds fantastic! I'm so glad to hear you don't have to read her books in order (someone else suggested I should) and I've had this lonely Tana French book (I think it's Faithful Place) sitting in my bookcase for ages.

  3. Looks like a good one! Thanks for the heads-up, Marlyn! :-)

  4. Great review and relieved there are no real 'spoilers' since I'm more than a couple chapters into the book. I started reading Tana French when her first book came out. It was an ARC (advanced reading copy) and I've been hooked ever since!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.