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Publisher's Summary

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

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  • KP
  • United States
  • 11-20-12

A Bit Like Torture

This is the fourth Tana French/Dublin Murder Squad I have listened to (on my commute). I liked the most recent one, Faithful Place, well enough, so I downloaded this without reading what it was about. Getting through this book was a bit like torture. The main character's crazy sister kept showing up and she was terribly annoying (a lot of that was the fault of the narrator -- the voice and intonation for that character were awful!), as was the failure of the main character and his other sister to do something about her. The case dragged on and on only to reach a conclusion that was inane; waiting that long for such an implausible motive was really frustrating.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 01-01-14

Brilliantly executed dialogue

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.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Left in a "Broken Harbor" State of Mind

Brianstown, formally Broken Harbor resort, is a modern housing development on the outskirts of Dublin that should have been the ideal location for up-and-coming young professionals to set roots in. However, shoddy construction and the collapse of the economic boom left it, and the people living there, exposed, isolated and vulnerable. The loss of security and fall from assumed safety culminates in an unimaginable murder. “Who-done-it?” almost becomes a secondary concern to “Why?” and “How?” The evil seems mysteriously connected to this place itself.

One thing I appreciate about Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad is that each title can be considered a stand-alone yet there are also enough common threads to draw me back to the series again-and-again. She certainly creates memorable characters, but it is French’s brilliant ability to develop a distinct mood and atmosphere that makes her stories unforgettable and each book a fresh listening experience.

Long after turning off the audiobook, Broken Harbor stays with me: I can smell the sea air, see the overgrown yards, and image the empty houses continue to be taken back by nature to eventually disappear completely.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Another great one!

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Tiresome

What would have made Broken Harbor better?

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?

Would you ever listen to anything by Tana French again?

I don't think so. I liked Faithful Place, but even that went on a bit far.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I thought the resolution was interesting; it just took too long to get there.

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • ch
  • Portland, OR USA
  • 08-03-12

Don't read two Tana French books in a row...

Once again Tana French delivers another absorbing, twisty tale about broken families, power of guilt, cultural decline and career suicide in the Dublin police force. This book was about a different set of characters than those featured in the first three books, and through some clever distraction, managed to surprise me at the conclusion. I listened to this book almost on the heels of The Likeness, and was feeling a bit 'mental' like the book's characters at the end.

I think that the audio book producers are doing the right thing with the production of Tana French's books- a new reader for each one, well-paced, good character voices. Each one sounds fresh and unique. I find it particularly annoying with intensely psychological books when the reader reads too slowly and over-dramatizes. This book's reader does an excellent job.

23 of 28 people found this review helpful

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Very, very bleak

Skilled writing and great narration could not keep me from being very depressed by this book and actually glad when it was over. I love mysteries, but I guess I prefer cozies. Full of guilt, betrayal, insanity and murderous nervous breakdowns (the only love was of the stalker/obsessive type), this is my third Tana French book, but it will be the last for awhile and I will be very careful about choosing another one.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Telfair
  • Shepherdstown, WV, United States
  • 02-09-13

I Draw the Line

Over the past month, I have read all 4 of Tana French's Dublin police mysteries. I have enjoyed their complex characters; their reflection on the effects of modern globalization on traditional values and culture; their discussion of the devastation wrought by the economic downturn; and French's flair for poetic and descriptive language.

With "Broken Harbor," however, the author has gone too far. As in the case the first and third series entries, the book is just too long. These characters and this plot never for a moment rang true to me, and I figured the conclusion out well ahead of the end. There's a real disdain expressed here for young professionals and the manner in which prosperity has supposedly 'destroyed' the Irish culture and way of life. It seems to me that French's pessimistic and judgmental attitude diminishes "Broken Harbor".

What a disappointment!

21 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Whatever Floats Your Boat

With tastes, it's never about who is right, but rather, what is right for you...like the Greeks said, *Know Thyself.* While perfect for some readers, this was not a custom fit for me. It was a good start: with the atmosphere of the ghost-town-like housing project, the family's desperate financial situation, Detective Mike and his personal demons, French had me where she wanted me--in a hauntingly gray funk. But, the pace ebbed and in rolled the slog. I think the bulk could've benefited from some editting that sharpened the edge and built some suspense into the story. Even streamlined, I would've had trouble swallowing the critters in the attic element; the sudden and complete madness that gripped the family (which seemed possible only if something extremely hallucinogenic had been ingested); Det. Mike's coincidental connection with Broken Harbor; his new partner...all in all it seemed too loose and wouldn't go down -- not my taste. I wasn't completely disappointed; it was well written and the narration was entertaining. Detective Mike Kennedy was an interesting character and French does an exceptional job of both getting into his head and fleshing him out. Possibly I would have enjoyed this more if I had read the previous books in this Dublin Murder Squad series.

28 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Tedious, obvious and poorly read

So disappointed. I've liked the previous books in this series. This one, however, is full of extraneous characters, overdramatic writing, and an obvious plot. To make things worse, the narrator does a good job of speaking the first person voice of the book. However, he makes every other character sound strident, shrill, and/or fraught with hidden meaning that isn't there.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful