Posts Tagged ‘Tana French’

Broken Harbor by Tana French

By Tana French
September 30
Finished: October 13

On a trusted fellow bookworm friend’s advice, I skilled over a few of the books in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French and jumped straight to Broken Harbor. French is a really great writer; she had a knack for painting complete portraits of her characters in order to more fully illustrate their present and want drives as Murder Squad detectives.

Mike “Scorcher” Kennedy is a seasoned Murder Sqaud detective who is summoned back to the seaside town where his mother committed suicide several decades prior to investigate a murder that devastated a whole family: a father brutally murder, two young children killed while they slept in their bed, and a mother hanging on for dear life. Though the sleepy, seaside town of his youth is now a half-empty development of large, fancy houses (thanks economy!), Scorcher is still haunted by his past as he investigates the murder. Complicating matters is his crazy younger sister, and a new partner on his first murder case. For me, this book drew really strong parallels to the BBC series Broadchurch, which aired on BBC over the summer (I consulted Dr. Google who informed me there was no official link between the two works).

The basic storyline of Broken Harbor was exceptionally engaging, and unlike In the Woods, the ending was satisfactory but book was bogged down by too much narration. In order to paint a picture of a family man coming unglued, the reader is forced to suffer through pages and pages of email and online message board exchanges; suspect interrogations are lengthy and uninformative, and Scorcher is so far into his own head, his internal dialogue often takes center stage. I would not recommend this as a book to read before bed (or on a train, bus, plane) as I did have trouble following along during these lengthy narrative chapters and dozed off once or twice (or fifteen times) mid-page.



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In the Woods by Tana French (image via amazon.com)

By Tana French
Finished: January 25, 2013

Do you ever read the end of a book before you even start the beginning? Not-so-surprising confession time: I always read the last sentence of a book sometime between starting it and finishing the first chapter. It’s almost like a literary Jeopardy!; I know the ending but how did the characters get there? I mention this because, thought I did truly enjoy this book, if I had been able to decipher the ending out of context, I may not of read it at all.

In the Woods is the first tale in Tana French’s “Dublin Murder Squad” series. All the books center around one detective in Dublin, Ireland and a particularly perplexing murder that somehow relates to the investigator’s past, present, family, or mental state. In In the Woods, Detective Rob Ryan returns to his hometown, where he was the sole survivor of a group of three children who went missing, to investigate the murder of young girl. Ryan has no solid recollection of what happened during his disappearance or why he returned when his friends did not. Being back a place with such traumatic memories causes him to experience flashbacks, breakdown mentally, and alienate his partner. But he does, ultimately solve the case (like most of the glut of books called “psychological thrillers” there is an inevitable “twist” in the story. Not to brag, but I called the “twist” pretty early on; you’ll probably notice this is a pattern of mine. Maybe I’m super smart…or maybe I’ve read too many “psychological thrillers.”).

I liked this book. I liked it so much that I ended up reading “Broken Harbor,” also by French, a few months later. My one complaint about this book? It ends on a cliff hanger….and the problem with the cliff hanger is, in each Dublin Murder Squad novel, French picks a new detective to focus on, meaning I will never get answers to my burning questions.


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