New York Times best-selling author and Edgar Award winner Tana French grabs listeners with her chilling Dublin murder squad novels. In Broken Harbor, all but one member of the Spain family lies dead, and it’s up to Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy to find out why. Mick must piece together why their house is full of cameras pointed at holes in the walls and how a nighttime intruder bypassed all the locks. Meanwhile, the town of Broken Harbor holds something else for Mick: disturbing memories of a childhood summer gone terribly wrong.
©2012 Tana French (P)2012 Recorded Books
French has an interesting concept; bringing in a secondary character from a previous novel and making them the main character in a new book. And she doesn't always pick the most obvious character. Her stories always have so many layers and reading them (or listening) is a pleasure. My only complaint is the wait it too long between books! I'll be buying the next one as soon as it's available.
The thing about French's writing is that I read her work just for the characters. The mystery and its resolution is always secondary. Broken Harbor is no exception. It is a fine story,well-told, about interesting noble but clawed characters. Highly recommended.
This is a murder mystery but transcends the genre by exploring family relationships. The reader is very good at providing the necessary accents that add to the story, making the story more enjoyable than reading it would have.
My husband and I share this account as a way to "read together". We're both educators; I'm an English professor, and he's a K-5 teacher.
Haven't read the paper edition.
I've read three other Tana French books, Faithful Place, The Likeness, and In The Woods, and like the others, this one also features broken characters that come oh-so-close to getting it right.
The narration on this was staggeringly good—maybe the best I've heard. I continually believed I was listening to multiple actors voicing the different characters. The rendition of Connor Brennan (if that's how it's spelled in print) was dead convincing.
To be honest, I had to turn off the narration a few times in the second half just to gather myself. I found the slowly building revelations excruciating.
It was a nicely written, intriguing story that never took off. I kept waiting for something to happen, but my title says it all: 19 hours of two detectives interviewing others and talking amongst themselves, trying to figure out a murder. But unlike "Law and Order" -- which I don't care for, anyway -- you don't even get to enjoy the setup action of the murder; the book just drops you in its aftermath. It was, however, written well-enough to hold my attention and make me *think* something was afoot, but it fell flat in the end... And not even in the end, about 3/4 of the way through. As another reviewer said, it was entirely too long. The revelation of the case took an hour to explain, and even then, there was still about an hour left of the audiobook. I'd had enough by the end of book 2 of 3. I'm used to the John Sanford, James Lee Burke police/detective stories, so I was clearly out of my element on this one. But if you're intrigued and entertained by the slow, methodical, true-to-life, no-filler, painstaking detective work, this may be your book. The only upside was the terrific, Irish-accented narration.
Other books of Tana French, Gillian Flynn, and Karin slaughter
All characters were performed AMAZINGLY!!
Wholes in the walls
Highly recommended to any one with deep insight who likes to read psychologically thrill books.
"And like irish accent"
This book kept me guessing from the beginning to the end! I honestly couldn't tell what was going to happen or "who done it". I usually play a guessing game and figure it out long before the end - this was very different. The narrator was wonderful. I could tell which character was speaking from the infliction, tone and accent he used.
The fact that I couldn't stop listening was the part I liked best, but was the thing that got me into trouble!
No I haven't, but hope to soon!
Several, but I don't want to give anything away.
Be warned, this review will likely contain some spoilers.
In some ways, this is the most ambitious Tana French novel yet. There are layers upon layers nested in the plot, in the characters, in the setting and in the descriptions of the tasks and disciplines which accompany a murder investigation.
The plot centers around a multiple murder, set in a place where our protagonist has painful childhood memories which have left deep and lasting wounds on his psyche.
Our lead character and first-person storyteller is Mike "scorcher" Kennedy, a character first encountered in an earlier French novel ("Faithful Place"). At first, the reader will encounter this story as a crime procedural - the veteran, organized, methodical, controlled and very disciplined Kennedy instructs a rookie partner in the "rules" of being a murder detective. In addition to ongoing tutelage from Kennedy, there are detailed descriptions of interviews, post-interview discussions between detectives, crime scene analyses, autopsies, stakeouts and eventually more than one interrogation. Intertwined with all of this, we see a relationship bloom between the detectives - and encounter conflict which threatens the long-term viability of said relationship.
However, as the plot unfolds, it develops that this is about much more than a police procedural. Ultimately, I think this story is about madness. It is a character study, seen from the eyes of the character at the center of it all, of madness, plain and simple. Family members (living and gone), suspects, the main character himself, all of them are confronted by and act according to their neuroses and deep disturbances. Again, from the detectives eyes, we learn of the deterioration and eventual collapse of several main character's behavioral "center" - "centers" which cannot and do not hold.
So what starts as a crime drama and police procedural becomes much more than that - it becomes a character study of many flawed and fascinating players in the drama. As that develops, the setting itself emerges as a major player in the story development, emerging as a powerful, and ultimately evil, presence in the telling.
As always, Tana French excels as a writer. Her descriptive prose in this genre has few peers. Dennis Lehane (IMO) is the master of the genre, but Tana French is in the same league - and close to the top of it.
In addition, the reader (Stephen Hogan) is an excellent voice-actor, interpreting the author's intent and the story flawlessly. An excellent reader can "make" an average story great or a poor reader can "unmake" a good story, even a great one. In this case, we have the treat of a powerful story and a talented voice actor.
That said, I have some criticisms - or more properly, warnings for the listener.
First, this is a brutal and powerful story. You will find a lot of it hard to listen to - it is not an easy experience for the listener, and I have read reviews in this forum of those who found it too depressing. Bear in mind, this is a tragedy and depression, along with psychological insights in the unraveling of the characters, is probably not inconsistent with the author's intent.
Second, some of the descriptive text, whether it be memories of childhood, police interviews, or the introspective thoughts of Detective Kennedy, can be deep in detail and quite expansive - and perhaps to a fault. Others have used the word "tedious" in this forum and I can understand why. While I did find some passages perhaps a bit too layered in detail, that feeling was trumped by my fascination with the character's struggles and my appreciation both for the writer and the narrator's interpretation of her work.
Finally, the main character is not necessarily sympathetic. Our introduction to Kennedy in Faithful Place portrayed him as a largely unsympathetic character with obvious flaws. As the first-person teller of this story, those flaws are all too apparent and you will not always find him to be likable - you will find him, however, to be honest and insightful.
The bottom line is that this book is both an ordeal and an accomplishment. It is rough and also redeeming. It is another example of a great writer and it is a stunning and painful insight into personalities fraying away beyond recognition. I recommend it without reservation, however you have been warned - Broken Harbor is not the happiest of places to visit.
I liked that it kept me on my toes the entire time trying to figure out what was going on.
The little sister and everything about her was memorable. That and the wild animals.
I thought the story was really interesting and it kept me guessing until the end about what was going on. Although what actually happened was shocking and horrible, I was hoping/thinking it would be something deeper and more sinister.
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