07 October 2012

My Thoughts on Tana French, Broken Harbor

Click on the image to buy the book at Powell's
I didn't tell him: the ghost I believe in weren't trapped in the Spains' bloodstains.  They thronged the whole estate, whirling like great moths in and out of the empty doorways and over the expanses of cracked earth, battering against the sparse lighted windows, mouths stretched wide in silent howls: all the people who should have lived here.  The young men who had dreamed of carrying their wives over these threshold, the babies who should have been brought home from the hospital to soft nurseries in these rooms, the teenagers who should have had their first kisses leaning against lampposts that would never be lit. Over time, the ghosts of things that happened start to turn distant; once they've cut you a couple of million times, their edges blunt on your scar tissue, they wear thin. The ones that slice like razors forever are the ghosts of things that never got the chance to happen.
Broken Harbor is a beach town on the coast of Ireland that is as sad and desolate as its name implies. Before the market crash, a supposedly upscale housing development had cropped up there, enticing a few young couples and families to buy  with promises of safe streets and a sense of community outside of the bustling city of Dublin.  One of these families is the Spains, who at first glance are perfect: high school sweethearts, married with a stay at home mom and two lovely kids.  But, the Spains have been murdered, all except for Jenny Spain, the wife and mother who happens to barely survive the attack.

This is the fourth book in Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, but it is the first that I have read.  The detective in the novel is Mick Kennedy, who is also the detective in The Likeness.  He is suitably flawed, and struggling with his own demons as he reveals the significance of Broken Harbor to his own past. His rookie partner, Richie, is also a compelling and likeable character, and the developing relationship between the two detectives is an important facet to the development of the story as well. 

I am relatively new to this genre of books, but I am growing to like it more and more.  I kept wanting to pick up the book to see what would happen next, although I felt that some of the twists and turns were improbably, and some of the backstory seemed baggy and unnecessary.  In particular, without giving too much away, the forays into Patrick Spain's mental state prior to the murders are a little over the top. Overall though, I enjoyed the read, and this won't be the last I will be reading of Tana French. 

Title: Broken Harbor
Author: Tana French
Publisher: Viking
Date: 2012
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Fiction

464  pages.
Where I got it: From the publisher, through Net Galley
 Challenges: The Chunkster Challenge and Readers.Imbibing.Peril

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