Broken Harbor by Tana French
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Cannonball Read V: Broken Harbor by Tana French

By illynew | Book Reviews | March 20, 2013 | Comments ()


What a bloated, cliched, overwrought mess. I don't understand how this happened. Her first three crime novels were layered with well-developed, multidimensional characters.

Broken Harbor orbited around Detective Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, a peripheral character in her three previous novels. I was looking forward to getting to know more about him, but he turned out to be what everyone else judged him to be in the previous novels: rigid, narrow-minded, cold.

A family gets murdered, with the mother surviving, in the town where his family used to holiday. This brings up all sorts of emotional baggage - his mother killed herself there. I understand that such an event is traumatic and fundamentally affects a person and continues to do so for the rest of their life, but the way it kept being brought up, it was like a broken record. Nothing new was revealed, emotionally, just harped on. His need for control and success are rooted in that event. I get it. How about some growth?

It just didn't make sense. The ham-handed foreshadowing that led to a reveal about his partner and the reveal about what actually took place. Everyone in the story was crazy and it made me feel crazy reading it. I hated all of the characters. None of them were believable. The good friend who turns into a well-meaning stalking creeper? What? I don't recommend this book. I still recommend all three of her other novels.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it , and find more of illynew's reviews on the group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    I just want to add that illynew is one of my best friends and I'm really happy to see her review her.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Review *here* I mean. (*$% can't type today.

  • PaddyDog

    Like you I loved her other three books. I couldn't finish this one. Partly because it didn't grip me story wise and partly because lately I can't deal with stories or movies where bad things happen to little children.

  • Quorren

    I was also disappointed with this book. I hope with her next one, she goes back to telling a Cassie or Rob story. Anyone but Scorcher, really.

  • Bedewcrock

    I've read another detective novel by Tana French (In the Woods) and she's pretty infuriating due to the fact that she doesn't resolve any of the crimes or mysteries in the novel.

    That device can be totally forgivable if the author can then make up for it in the prose and narrative (i.e. P.D. James), but French fails at that as well. It's just unsatisfying and that's no way to write a mystery.

  • illynew

    Her books The Likeness and Faithful Place do have resolutions and are totally worth it. I highly recommend them. Faithful Place, especially, is a great read.

  • badkittyuno

    Oh, I was so hoping this would be good. I just finished Faithful Place and loved it. But Scorcher was by far the worst part of that.

  • illynew

    Faithful Place was my favorite and I read it right before this one. I think that made it much more of a let down.

  • Drake

    Thanks for the review and the warning.

  • illynew

    If you like the genre, I still recommend her first three novels. They were great!

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