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
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
One issue I have with some mysteries and police whodunnits is that good character development and dialogue is secondary to gruesome details. I just can't handle that much gore - but often put up with it just because I want to hear where the story is going to go.
This is that rare exception. The dialogue is rendered so artfully and delivered with incredible skill by the narrator. With Hogan's touch, it really becomes more of a psychological dig. Of course there's murder ... but it's dealt with like it happens off-screen. The impact is there but the details are never shared. It's really deft handling of details that are better left unsaid.
I've seen Tana French novels for forever on Audible but shied away simply because I thought they'd be too graphic. I'm not sure about the others, but that's certainly not the case with this one. The writing and narration both are top-notch and there's no evidence of a gimmick to make it all work. Kudos. Well done.
I'm an avid listener always searching for another good book and willing to share my thoughts with a pithy review.
The characters are well developed...but not a hero among them. Virtually nothing good happens in this story. It’s sad, depressing and without action.
A young reasonably stable and capable couple both go “postal” when the reality of being laid off in a bad economy begins to sink in. The guy becomes obsessed with mysterious noises only he can hear. He has illusions of some kind of animal running around in the attic, and he aims to capture or trap it. In the process, he bashes holes in the walls, installs electronic monitors and even sets a huge spring trap. I will stop here in case you choose to listen to it anyway. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Nothing good happens.
Brilliantly woven story that kept me changing my mind as to what was really happening all the way to the end. It was perfectly narrated and paced. Can't wait for her next story to come out in this series.
I love books and animals.I enjoy all sorts of genres, anything from history to supernatural.
If you enjoyed the other novels by Tana French, you will enjoy this one.
If you haven't read the other novels by Tana French, I highly recommend them. However, in order to read this book you don't have to.
Tana is very descriptive and knows how to keep the reader interested in the story.
The case the main character is working on in this book is very intriguing and realistic. The characters become very personal and familiar, very quickly.
Tana has a writing style that seamless makes the story meanders from the police case- to the life of the detective, it just keeps you hooked.
The narrator does a great job. These novels are placed in Ireland; therefore the narrator has an Irish accent. He is very easy to understand and makes each character come to life.
Overall, if you enjoyed the previous Tana French novels, this is a must.
If you are new to her works, you might want to go back and try the others first.
The story line is interesting and the pace of the book is slow so you can keep up, but not too slow.
The narrator is easy to understand and does a great job of narrating.
I definitely recommend this book.
I have to admit that I'm a total Audible junkie. MUST have book going at all times. I may be the subject of a family intervention someday.
Yes, because the previous books were stunning. I would love to hear more from the protagonists of the first three books, Rob, Cassie and Frankie.
The plot is good, and the final story as told by Jennie is pretty riveting. I guess I'm just not so moved by Scorchie as I was by Cassie, Rob and Frankie. Plus Frankie is such a tough act to follow. I must admit that his was my favorite story of all (Faithful Place), moving me to laugh, cry, think and feel a whole rainbow of emotions. Still love Tana French, and can't wait for her next book.
The plot didn't need the detective's unbalanced sister, but if she had played a role, most of the tirades from her should have been cut. They detract from the story, unless she were to end up being the killer. She wasn't, so why was she there?
The narrator's interpretation of much of the dialogue was over the top, too. I don't think there would have been so much emotion in the discussions between detectives. I could accept the character of Scorcher Kennedy as an arrogant blowhard, but couldn't there have been at least one likeable main character?
I don't think so. I liked Faithful Place, but even that went on a bit far.
I thought the resolution was interesting; it just took too long to get there.
Based on this book, I'd think there are no sane people in Ireland. It would have been a better book if it were more believable. I'm looking forward to forgetting about this book.
I don't know about you, but why are there so so so many 5 star reviews. I LOVE books, but so few are 5 star.
Another great listen from Tana. I remembered Scorcher from the first French novel I read then had to listened to, Faithful Place. French's character development is great, fresh and edgy without being bleak just for the sake of being dark. The characters are utterly human.
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!
Born with earbuds.
This novel keeps you guessing as to "who" and "why" as it explores possible explanations for the murders of several members of a once idyllic family. It's more of a WhyDoneIt than a WhoDoneIt in the end. Tana French does an artistic job of showing the psychology of all the characters on a continuum with no one perfectly sane and several not far from losing touch with reality or already over-the-edge. This exploration of the gray areas of psychology is much more true-to-life than the black and white "crazy or normal" stereotypes used in many books and in everyday life.
Those who have read French's other books may find this one more satisfying in some ways and and less so in others. It has some of the sense of place that Faithful Place possessed and some of the character driven excitement of In the Woods. If there is a criticism of the book, it is that it struggles and drifts in the middle trying to decide just where it is going. I still found it easy enough to listen to even during this meandering. Perhaps the author was struggling to satisfy both the literary and mystery aspects of the novel. Some might find the police procedural style at the beginning more interesting than the later psychological aspects of the book while others will feel the reverse. However, if you have read other French books, you know that she does both of these well and will find them satisfying.
Thankfully, in a real sense, this novel does not delve directly into the questions of how people could do such terribly things as murdering children. That is to say, possibilities are explored, but the author does not insult the reader by insisting that there is only one answer and she knows it. Some people see such acts as pure evil, others as desperation, and still others as insanity--and most of us aren't likely to change our minds. Whatever, the cause, French seems to say, "These things do happen."
Some themes of the book are:
The simplest answer is usually the correct one
Places and the past are strongly intertwined
People often invite misfortune into their lives
Once you compromise your principles, you can't go back
People doing what they think is right can wreak terrible havoc
Some questions won't ever be answered to your satisfaction
There are aspects of Janeology, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Devotion of Suspect X. Janeology for the subject matter and the inheritance aspects of psychiatric issues,
Her Fearful Symmetry for parallels of both wanting the best and worst for a sibling.
The Devotion of Suspect X explores issues of self-sacrifice.
There is also resonance with works of Ian Rankin & Harlan Coben. Rankin & French are so good at realism that you seldom doubt there stories. Coben & French both expose the degree to which past is truly prologue.
The narration is perfect for both male and female voices. Hogan is brilliant and neither over or under-emotes.
When everyone's a victim, who do you arrest?
Beautifully written mystery and character study, but struggles because the main character (Detective Michael "Scorcher" Kennedy) is not particularly likable. French nonetheless crafts a nice mystery, uncovers things organically, and follows the characters and their personalities through in believable ways. But unlike the first three books in her Dublin Murder Squad series, you don't feel as caught up in the fate of the narrator. He is too heavy on the positive thinking and a little bit too pompous to really root for, and without feeling invested in his future it is hard to find the climax and his fall as gripping. 3.5 stars, just as well written as the prior books but without a character you truly feel for.
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