Broken Harbor by Tana French

Broken Harbor by Tana French

In this latest installment of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, Detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy takes center stage as he investigates the horrifying attack on a seemingly idyllic suburban family, leaving the father and two young children dead and the mother in critical condition after being stabbed repeatedly.  Who would commit such a heinous crime, and why?  And why was the family’s internet history wiped from their computer around the time of the murders?  Why are there strange holes scattered in the walls of their otherwise pristinely-kept home?  And what’s with all the baby monitors and the deadly animal trap?

Full of strange twists, this story certainly keeps you guessing.  Just when the answer seems obvious, the story takes another turn, exploring the prevalence the internet age, and the impact on personal lives of the housing boom and subsequent crash and recession (which apparently has unfolded in Ireland much as it has in the U.S.)

I eagerly anticipated this latest novel from Tana French since last summer, and I have to say that it was a bit of a disappointment.  I found it a little tedious with the witness interviews that went on for pages and pages, and I’m still not quite sure about the relevance of Mick’s private back story, except that perhaps it’s just meant to give his character more depth.  Although I love how Ms. French brings in peripheral characters from a previous novel and sets them up as the main character, Mick himself feels too similar to Faithful Place’s Frank Mackey (and I liked Frank Mackey better).  Some of the supporting characters in this story, too, just don’t help make the story – for instance, Mick’s younger, mentally ill sister who comes off as mean, narcissistic, and obnoxious more than “crazy as a bag of cats.”

That said, it’s worth the read – just not her best work.

I do hope that Ms. French’s next book puts Det. Richie Curran – Mick’s rookie partner in this story – at center stage.

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