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Broken Harbor
Tana French

Viking Adult
July 24, 2012/ ISBN: 978-0670023653
P sychological thriller

Reviewed by Dr. Maxine Thompson

When you think of a harbor, you think of a place of refuge and safety. But what if, in your formative years, a tragedy happens that breaks that sense of safety?

A broken sense of security reverberates throughout the entire novel, Broken Harbor, by Tana French. It works on the level of the world wide economy in the throes of an international downward plunge. It works on the level of the protagonist, Detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy and his back story that ties into the community of the murder. And it works as it relates to the site of the murder, the family of Patrick Spain, which includes the husband, his two murdered children, and a wife left in intensive care.

As you read from the first person narration, you find out about Detective Mick’s core need, the lie that he’s told himself in order to cope and deal with the wound he received early in life.

Mick is so straight-laced and by the book, I kept wondering what was his secret or his emotional scar.

The premise was intriguing. What happens when the perfect couple’s home winds up as the scene of a murder?

This was the first mystery I ever read by Tana French and it was a different type of read. I enjoyed the social commentary aspects of the book as it related to the tale of broken dreams and hopes brought on by the economy. Set in Ireland, Broken Harbor shows how the recession has had a world-wide whiplash effect in all corners of the earth

I loved the author’s eye for detail, shown through the narrator, Detective Mick. The Irish dialects and idiomatic speech fascinated me. I also enjoyed the sense of humor throughout the story.

From the investigation to the Irish police procedurals, the story was filled with twists and turns, plus a surprise ending I didn’t see coming.

My only complaint is the pacing is rather slow, but overall, this was a good read that I’d recommend to other mystery lovers. I’d give the book 4 stars.

Other reviews of titles by this author

In the Woods
The Likeness (Sequel to Into the Woods)
Faithful Place

Reviewer Dr Maxine Thompson is the author of many titles, including LA Blues.
Reviewed 2012