When it's all said and done, Tana French's weakest novel - whichever one that turns out to be - will still be a lot better than just about any other writer's novels. In her first three books, she set such a high standard that although Broken Harbour is excellent, the plot has a problematic weakness.
It's nearly impossible to discuss this weakness without spoiling the story, so I won't. The weakness involves the downfall of a character, who has always been well able to handle life, but slides into utter ruin after a rough patch. French unsuccessfully attempts to provide a foundation for such a slide, but it's thin and in my mind, doesn't hold up well. The same scenario is played out in nearly every community every day, but without such disastrous results.
Nearly every other element of the book, however, is extremely well done. French excels at writing about less-than-perfect human beings dealing with very human problems, with the usual results. That she has done it so well in the past, and does it here with other characters, makes it even more puzzling that the cause-and-effect of the main plot doesn't seem to add up well. Others, in other reviews, don't seem to be bothered by it, but I work in an area that deals with families and their dysfunction, so maybe that's why it doesn't work as well for me. I see these things every day, and almost never does a rough patch in life lead where this one leads without an underlying issue such as alcoholism or drug addiction.
I still highly recommend the book, and if you're new to the series, I suggest you start with the first novel and work your way through them in order. Although the novels are connected, each is constructed to stand alone, so it won't cause a lot of confusion if you don't. French is a masterful writer, who unwinds her stories in a manner that makes the reader feel as if layers of character's lives are being peeled back, revealing ever more fascinating details as the character becomes more and more interesting and understandable. Like her other novels, this is a don't-miss read!
What can I say? I appreciate having stories that don't insult my intelligence or make me listen to a bunch of stilted, cliched dialogue. Couldn't put it down!
and the accents used by this narrator are extremely irritating and insulting. The narrator obviously didn't bother to do any research. We don't have Southern accents - except for the few of us who actually moved here from a Southern state. More importantly, the narrator's inflections make it obvious she believes we're illiterate hicks. She's the one who needs educating. It would have been fun to enjoy a story based in Kansas, but that fun was ruined by the ignorant narration.
I felt this book lost momentum at the end, but other than that I enjoyed it. I'm impressed with the author's ability to create fully-fleshed-out characters; she does a better job of it than certain other authors who are selling a lot more books. Still, while the ending wasn't bad or disappointing, it didn't seem to have the same quality of development as the rest of the book. It just sort of . . . ended, but it would have been far more satisfying had it been a bit more dramatic. After all, there's quite a bit of drama in this book. It's a good read and I recommend it, but a more compelling ending would have made it a much better book.
I went to Silva's website and found the list that showed the order in which his books were written, and that's the order in which I've read them. Silva is a good writer, and initially, the series was not only entertaining, but almost addictive. At this point, I'm getting bored. I don't know if he does it intentially, but Silva's books have become formulaic and almost predictable. Maybe if I had allowed more time to pass between books, they wouldn't have worn so thin. I wasn't interested enough to finish this one, and I probably won't buy another for a year or two. It's hard to decide how many stars to give it, and in some ways it deserves 5; and in other ways, only 3.
Even though this novel was written more than 40 years ago, it's lost little of its freshness or relevance. It has pay phones instead of cell phones, and none of the modern forensics we're used to reading about, but the story is very well written. Characters are not the best looking, most brilliant, most clever, etc. that are standard fare for this genre; they're human beings with strengths and flaws, just like the real thing, and that's what makes it so readable and so enjoyable. If you're weary of formulaic, predictable detective novels, you'll enjoy this one. I hope the rest in the series are this good.
I'm 1 hour 20 minutes into this book, and I'm giving up. The narrator does a superb job of acting the parts, but his English accent is so heavy I can't make out about a third of what he's saying. I went to Google Books and looked up some of the stuff I couldn't understand...the name "Tarr" comes across as Taaaaa-aaaaa. "woeflaaaaaa" turned out to be "wallflower". If I heard dialogue like this in a movie on TV, I'd turn on the captions. I'm going to get a hard copy and read this one.
This is a good story, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. I enjoyed it and I'm not sorry I purchased it and listened to it. But. . .one aspect was disappointing. There are not-quite-graphic descriptions of the main character's visual lust and sexual encounters, that are a bit much for this kind of story. I. am. not. a. prude. I just think there's a time and place for everything, and this author's descriptions of such matters reminded me of listening to a couple of my male college friends' descriptions of escapades with certain women; it actually gets boring after awhile. So you got laid, buddy. Good for you. Now get on with the story, and spare me the not particularly interesting or original details.
I didn't just listen to this book; it's more like I was consumed by it. Tana French doesn't write in a serial fashion like other mystery authors. She explores a group of people, character by character; her books are almost more stand-alone novels than a series. I think this one is her best so far, even though I really loved the first two. Frank has to solve an old murder, a contemporary murder, and resolve how each has influenced his life. There is so much more here than the usual murder mystery; if that's all you want, download something else. French's characters are fully-developed; they are human beings, with faults, damage, and in this case, a strong will in Frank to rise above his beginnings. The bonus here is French's marvelous command of Irish street language (vulgarity alert!); it's a witty, sometimes laugh-out-loud counterpoint to the tragedy of poverty, death, and struggle. Her approach is a refreshing change to the formulaic writing that most mystery writers can't break away from. "Faithful Place" is a love story within a murder mystery, solved years after the fact. Discovery of the murder nearly destroys Frank's family and threatens to destroy him; it's an exploration of his struggle to deal with his past and create a future for himself. Either you like French's approach or you don't, but what you don't get here is same-old same-old mystery solving. French develops the plot by uncovering, layer by layer, events of the past as seen through various characters' eyes, and their motivations for their actions, their pain, and their prejudices. It's not until the very end of the book that the murderer is revealed, along with not only the motivation for the person's actions, but the story behind the motivation. It's a complex, compelling story, and it's made me more of a Tana French fan than I was before - and I waited impatiently for this book to become available. It's like nothing you've read before, even by the same author.
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