Broken Harbor: Book summary and reviews of Broken Harbor by Tana French

Broken Harbor

A Novel

By Tana French

Broken Harbor
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2012,
    464 pages.

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Book Summary

Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, the brash cop from Tana French's bestselling Faithful Place, plays by the book and plays hard. That's what's made him the Murder squad's top detective - and that's what puts the biggest case of the year into his hands.

On one of the half-built, half-abandoned "luxury" developments that litter Ireland, Patrick Spain and his two young children are dead. His wife, Jenny, is in intensive care.

At first, Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, think it's going to be an easy solve. But too many small things can't be explained. The half dozen baby monitors, their cameras pointing at holes smashed in the Spains' walls. The files erased from the Spains' computer. The story Jenny told her sister about a shadowy intruder who was slipping past all the locks.

And Broken Harbor holds memories for Scorcher. Seeing the case on the news sends his sister Dina off the rails again, and she's resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family one summer at Broken Harbor, back when they were children.

With her signature blend of police procedural and psychological thriller, French's new novel goes full throttle with a heinous crime, creating her most complicated detective character and her best book yet.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The novel rewards the reader's patience: There are complications, deliberations and a riveting resolution." - Kirkus Reviews

"French's deft psychological thriller, focusing on parallel stories of mentally ill mothers and the tragedy of depression, offers a nuanced take on family relationships that will satisfy her fans and readers of psychological thrillers and police procedurals." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. As usual, French excels at drawing out complex character dynamics." - Publishers Weekly

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Becky H
This one kept me guessing
This book is peopled with interesting characters that grow on you and with the plot. A bit draggy in some spots, but well written and riveting as the plot progresses. Some points for discussion are the detective's comments that "murder victims get what they were looking for" on page 26 and "what you expect is what get from life" on page 159-160. Is it true that "once you fall, the next time it gets easier and easier" on page 448. Did Scorcher make the right choices?

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Diane S.
Broken Harbor
I love Tana French and her twisty psychological novels and in this one the psychological is played up in a very big way. Veteran detective, Scorcher and his new partner, Richie are called to Briantown, an estate that the builders have pretty much abandoned.There most of a family is found murdered in their house. There is quite a bit of discourse between the two detectives on how to be a good one and not miss anything. All the characters have some type of psychological condition or psychological problem in their past or present. It is this that forms much of the nucleus of the plot and is the key to solving the murders. Twists and turns abound, which made for riveting reading.

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Author Information

Tana French Author Biography

Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theatre, film and voiceover.

Her novels include In The Woods, which won the 2007 Edgar Award for Best First Novel; The Likeneness (2008), Faithful Place (2010), and Broken Harbor (2012).

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