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Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad Series #4)

Average Rating 4
( 132 )
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(54)

4 Star

(40)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

With 'Broken Harbor', Tana French has once again brought us a th

With 'Broken Harbor', Tana French has once again brought us a thrilling police procedural with lots of 'crazy' psychological turns and twists. Veteran detective , 'Scorcher' and his new rookie detective, Richie, explore means and methods of working togetherness to solve...
With 'Broken Harbor', Tana French has once again brought us a thrilling police procedural with lots of 'crazy' psychological turns and twists. Veteran detective , 'Scorcher' and his new rookie detective, Richie, explore means and methods of working togetherness to solve a terrible tragedy.

The 'perfect' couple, with their 6 year old Emma, and 3 year old Jack, have been living in the partially developed 'Broken Harbor' by the sea for about a year when their tragedies strikes them. At first it's builders going broke after just starting a new community development. Most of their houses are empty or not completed. All the extras---shops, parks, community centers---have not even begun to be built. But the Spaines and their two children find themselves living there in their new 'dream house' that is anything but a dream. Eventually more tragedy strikes and our story begins with two dead children in their beds, and a bloody mess in the kitchen, where Patrick lies dead with his barely alive wife curled up beside him.

Tana French expertly uses today's headlines to develop her psychological story line. Builders going broke, homes empty, job loses becoming more prevalent amongst the 'climbing' middle classes, and message boards on computers becoming the primary source for information, communications, and the hope of helpful comforting solutions to life's problems.

Mix this case in with a developing working relationship with a veteran and rookie cop, add in a less than admirable fellow officer, plus a large dose of our veteran cop's nearly psychotic sister, and top it off with a stalking 'best friend'. What do you have? Another winning read from Tana French!! Be prepared to keep reading till you complete this book once you open the first pages. I was on page 100 before I realized that we'd not even left the scene of the crime yet, and I was loving it!!

posted by RonnaL on July 24, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

Sadly--a real mixed bag

I LOVE Tana French and have long felt she has only gotten better with each "Dublin Squad" novel--"Faithful Place" is outstanding and one of the best books I've read in the last decade. I waited very impatiently for two years for the new installment--but I cannot rate "H...
I LOVE Tana French and have long felt she has only gotten better with each "Dublin Squad" novel--"Faithful Place" is outstanding and one of the best books I've read in the last decade. I waited very impatiently for two years for the new installment--but I cannot rate "Harbor" above three stars.

On the PLUS side:

***An incredibly creepy crime and once the novel reveals the reasons behind it--OMG; I'm reeling.

***French's uncanny knack for language and dialogue--she is superb in making her characters HEARD. She is cinematic in her use of language.

The DOWN side:

***While I have always loved French's technique of centering a novel around a character previously introduced in a previous novel--Scorcher may have not been the best choice. He's so patently unlikeable, so smug, pretentious and judgemental that [SPOILER-ISH]even when he does get his comeuppance--it wasn't enough. While "Faithful's" Frank is a hard man to like, his charm and inner vulnerablity carry him; even Rob from the first novel is more grabbing than Scorcher. NO character caught me; NO character made me care enough...the Spain family, yes...but not the major characters. PLEASE bring back Cassie or Frank!

***Scorcher's crazy sister is so horrible I couldn't get past her but even she didn't make me care enough about Scorcher. I wanted her GONE.

***TOO much repetitive conversation with the partner, witnesses--it just drags; by page 200 you've read the same speculation and theories to the point of screaming; unlike the other novels, the dysfunctional family backstory just is not intriguing. I could not care about Kennedy's family (although it explained a lot about him) and felt it simply took away from the main crime. Editing? Probably needs more.

I LOVE Tana French--just not this book--but I will wait, impatiently, for book four--like I said--can we find out what Cassie and/or Frank are doing??

posted by irishclaireKG on July 26, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    Sadly--a real mixed bag

    I LOVE Tana French and have long felt she has only gotten better with each "Dublin Squad" novel--"Faithful Place" is outstanding and one of the best books I've read in the last decade. I waited very impatiently for two years for the new installment--but I cannot rate "Harbor" above three stars.

    On the PLUS side:

    ***An incredibly creepy crime and once the novel reveals the reasons behind it--OMG; I'm reeling.

    ***French's uncanny knack for language and dialogue--she is superb in making her characters HEARD. She is cinematic in her use of language.

    The DOWN side:

    ***While I have always loved French's technique of centering a novel around a character previously introduced in a previous novel--Scorcher may have not been the best choice. He's so patently unlikeable, so smug, pretentious and judgemental that [SPOILER-ISH]even when he does get his comeuppance--it wasn't enough. While "Faithful's" Frank is a hard man to like, his charm and inner vulnerablity carry him; even Rob from the first novel is more grabbing than Scorcher. NO character caught me; NO character made me care enough...the Spain family, yes...but not the major characters. PLEASE bring back Cassie or Frank!

    ***Scorcher's crazy sister is so horrible I couldn't get past her but even she didn't make me care enough about Scorcher. I wanted her GONE.

    ***TOO much repetitive conversation with the partner, witnesses--it just drags; by page 200 you've read the same speculation and theories to the point of screaming; unlike the other novels, the dysfunctional family backstory just is not intriguing. I could not care about Kennedy's family (although it explained a lot about him) and felt it simply took away from the main crime. Editing? Probably needs more.

    I LOVE Tana French--just not this book--but I will wait, impatiently, for book four--like I said--can we find out what Cassie and/or Frank are doing??

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 24, 2012

    With 'Broken Harbor', Tana French has once again brought us a th

    With 'Broken Harbor', Tana French has once again brought us a thrilling police procedural with lots of 'crazy' psychological turns and twists. Veteran detective , 'Scorcher' and his new rookie detective, Richie, explore means and methods of working togetherness to solve a terrible tragedy.

    The 'perfect' couple, with their 6 year old Emma, and 3 year old Jack, have been living in the partially developed 'Broken Harbor' by the sea for about a year when their tragedies strikes them. At first it's builders going broke after just starting a new community development. Most of their houses are empty or not completed. All the extras---shops, parks, community centers---have not even begun to be built. But the Spaines and their two children find themselves living there in their new 'dream house' that is anything but a dream. Eventually more tragedy strikes and our story begins with two dead children in their beds, and a bloody mess in the kitchen, where Patrick lies dead with his barely alive wife curled up beside him.

    Tana French expertly uses today's headlines to develop her psychological story line. Builders going broke, homes empty, job loses becoming more prevalent amongst the 'climbing' middle classes, and message boards on computers becoming the primary source for information, communications, and the hope of helpful comforting solutions to life's problems.

    Mix this case in with a developing working relationship with a veteran and rookie cop, add in a less than admirable fellow officer, plus a large dose of our veteran cop's nearly psychotic sister, and top it off with a stalking 'best friend'. What do you have? Another winning read from Tana French!! Be prepared to keep reading till you complete this book once you open the first pages. I was on page 100 before I realized that we'd not even left the scene of the crime yet, and I was loving it!!

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 29, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Really great book. Kept me entertained all the way.

    Really great book. Kept me entertained all the way.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 21, 2012

    I would give five stars to each of the three previous Tana Frenc

    I would give five stars to each of the three previous Tana French books
    and really looked forward to Broken Harbor. It was a disappointment, a
    waste of money and precious time. I only kept going because it was Tana
    French, after all. I skimmed over pages and pages of dialogue that
    didn't go anywhere and more pages and pages of the animal in the attic

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2012

    A cut above the usual in this genre.

    Like Denise Mina, French creates incredibly real characters, pokes at big questions about life and human nature, includes intense psychological drama in an enthralling story. A complete book. Very good literature first and then a crime novel. I have read all her books. I recommend every one. I could hardly wait for this book which is as great as the rest.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    I couldn't put this book down...just brilliant!

    I couldn't put this book down...just brilliant!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    So repetitive with boring plot!

    Love a good mystery anytime and the subject matter seemed interesting but in the end it was dissatisfying and a let down. The plot kept building but it never fulfilled its promise. Very disappointing and not sure what the whole point was. Don't waste your time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2012

    Bored bored bored

    Ive read ms. French's previous books and loved them. I was very bored with broken harbor. Couldnt wait til the end so it'd be over.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy is the top detective in the Mu

    Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy is the top detective in the Murder
    Squad. He is now partnered with rookie Richie Curran, just out of
    uniform. Kennedy has dropped down to #2 in solve rates in his
    department. Then he is handed what should be a dream case. Patrick
    Spain and his two children are found dead in one of the half-built/half
    abandoned "luxury developments" in a place called Brainstown.
    His wife Jenny is in intensive care. What was first thought to be an
    easy case turns out to be a lot harder when too many clues can't be
    explained. The neighborhood used to be called Broken Harbor and
    Kennedy's family has a little history with the place. His sister Dina
    freaks out when she sees the case on the news. She is remembering
    something about the summer they spent there as kids. Something
    "Scorcher" thought was deeply buried. Kennedy has his hands
    full as he tries to solve the case and keep his sister safe and out of
    trouble. I was so looking forward to reading this book. It really had
    me well past halfway but then it just seemed to fall apart. This book
    is a police procedural type story which I usually find very interesting.
    This one started really good but after the middle is really started to
    drag and got boring. Yes, boring. I found myself barely skimming through
    the pages just to get to the end. I had figured out who-dun-it very
    early on and all the dialogue, tons of dialogue was just filling pages
    to tell readers what we already knew. Then at the end there were still
    so many questioned answered. Almost 500 pages and we are left to wonder
    about so much. What really upset me was when the lead character started
    to make some choices a man in his position would never make. A law and
    order guy would not risk his career this way. As far as the other
    characters, his other sister Geri just seems to be too lackadaisical
    about their sister, Dina, with the mental heath issues. Dina was just
    plain annoying. My verdict is still out on the rookie Curran, he could
    develop into a solid character in a future installment. I have enjoyed
    other French novels and by the end of this one I was even questioning if
    she had really written this story. I got to the end and realized I
    really knew nothing about Mike Kennedy. The man had absolutely no real
    back story. His life was his job occasionally uninterrupted by his crazy
    sister. I know Tana French is a much better writer than this and I hope
    her next book is shorter and full of the dynamic characters and the
    thrills I know she can deliver.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    L Not Tana French's best just ok

    Her writing is amazing but the only part i really felt sucked me in was when the wife was describing how her and her husband reached that final point. I got it.

    Still looking forward to her next novel. Still a huge fan.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    A real disappointment after Faithful Place

    So Tana French spoiled all of us with Faithful Place, which was outstanding in every way. I expected Broken Harbor to meet or exceed her work in Faithful Place, but what a disappointment. She is undoubtedly an excellent writer, and has that rare ability to catch, hold and keep the reader page after page after page. Unfortunately, that didn't happen here. The story line was muddled and key characters not well developed. I felt like I read the entire book through a smudged window. All that said, I do look forward to her next book. (I thought Faithful Place was that good.)

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2014

    French is an excellent writer.  Perfect ear fro dialogue, intere

    French is an excellent writer.  Perfect ear fro dialogue, interesting plot.  She kept me to the end on a rainy afternoon.  But, like Donna Tartt, French needs an editor with more control over the material.  I figured out who dunnit  way sooner than I should have, and some situations were enlarged upon to the point of agony for the reader.  The wild animal, the details of Conor's infatuation,s, every detail was  worked to death.  This could have been a much stronger book with proper tightening.  But for  French's organizational sense, her sharp ear for dialogue, and her general all around talent, Broken Harbor gets three stars from me.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2014

    Tana French is brilliant

    Fourth in the series, she evojes a tremendous sense of place, of longing and into her charachters souls,

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 22, 2014

    Broken Harbor follows murder squad detective Mick "Scorcher

    Broken Harbor follows murder squad detective Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy who was the detective investigating Rosie and Kevin's murders
    in the previous book in this series, Faithful Place.

    So in Faithful Place we first met Scorcher but to tell you the truth I did not particularly care for him, some characters you like some you
    don't, but anyway I wasn't to keen when I first started reading Broken Harbor because I held onto a little prejudice against him from the
    previous book. However, I soon changed my mind about old Scorcher once I got to know him past the egotistical attitude that he uses
    as a shield to keep the dark things from his past from devouring him.

    This was a hard read not just because of Scorcher, but because two of the victims are children, young children. So you have been
    warned don't read further if you cannot stand it.

    Patrick Spain, wife Jenny and their two children, Emma and Jack, seemed to be a wonderful family. Even though they were going through
    some money issues since Patrick got laid off from his job they still appeared happy, appeared being the word here. But underneath
    Patrick and Jenny were both becoming unstable and both of the children were in danger. 

    This story has many supporting characters and a web of lies and deceit that are to complicated to try and summarize in the book review
    so this is going to be short and more of a teaser than most of my reviews.

    Scorcher gets assigned to the case at Broken Harbor, Patrick is dead as is Emma and Jack, and Jenny is badly injured and on her way
    to the hospital not sure if she will make it or not. High-profile does not even begin to describe a case where children have been murdered
    and Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, are going to have to get this one right or else. 

    There is a back story to the setting of Broken Harbor and how it relates to those dark things from Scorcher's past, for before it was a
    development it use to be the beach where his family would go during the summer to stay and it is also where Scorcher's mother walked
    into the ocean one day and killed herself. The really sad part is she had tried to walk into the ocean with Scorcher's youngest sister, Dina,
    but she survived whereas her mother did not. Their whole world turned upside down, mother dead, father overcome with grief that he just
    shut down, and Scorcher with sister Geri pretty much raised Dina who is bogged down with a lot of mental issues stemming from
    her experience that night on the beach with her mother. So Dina flip flops out of Scorcher's life right when he needs to be completely
    on the job but he constantly is worried about his sister while trying to track down the murderer.

    Scorcher and Richie finally have a suspect in custody, Conor Brennan, Pat and Jenny's friend from when they were kids, he was even
    Emma's godfather, but due to some spat they had a falling out and Conor was no longer involved in their lives. Well they were wrong,
    for Conor had set up in one of the abandoned homes in the development and was watching the Spain's house. Creepy right!

    Scorcher thinks they got their man but Richie is not so sure and keeps putting pressure on Scorcher to keep checking out Pat, Scorcher
    agrees even though his is so sure Conor was the doer. What Scorcher doesn't know though is that Richie pocketed evidence that directly
    implicates someone else, neither Conor nor Pat, and if it wasn't for Dina, his sister, than Scorcher may have never known of its existence.

    An unreal confession comes out from the evidence and the whole case turns into a huge mess. Richie will never work murder again he is
    lucky to have even kept his badge but can Scorcher fix up this mess so that justice is served.

    Blow's my mind is the perfect way to describe how I feel after I finish one of Tana French's books and even though I didn't care for this
    one as much as I have some of her others it is still a spectacular story of the messed up lives of ordinary people, I think that is why her
    books are so relatable I mean the Spain's could be my next door neighbors for crying out loud. A scary look into the mind of Conor just
    adds to it even though he thought what he was doing was harmless it was still super duper creepy. You'll be putting your blinds down
    for good after you read this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2014

    O

    +.).+.+./%' ~

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Maria Book provided by the publisher for review Revi

    Reviewed by Maria
    Book provided by the publisher for review
    Review originally posted at Romancing the Book

    This book absorbed me and literally claimed my attention until the last satisfying word. Murder Detective Mick ‘Scorcher’ Kennedy is what you might call (in Dublin at least) a sound man. He has it all covered from every angle. As he says himself, if he’s working on a case, it’s getting done right. He’s brash, confident and focused. But the case of a young family, found slaughtered in a house in a ghostly, half abandoned housing estate which came up in Dublin during the boom a few years back affects him deep down in places he thought were sealed and locked forever.

    What happened to Pat and Jenny Spain on that fateful night? They’d more or less kept out of touch and kept their contact with friends and relatives more or less to the minimum after Pat lost his job. What brought about the undoing of a couple so much in love with two beautiful kids? As Scorcher embarks on a journey of discovery, he comes up against his own painful experiences with Broken Harbor, the place where this murder happened, many years before.

    I particularly loved the dialogue in the novel. The Irish have a sense of humor that can laugh in the face of death and it comes out beautifully here. The conversation between Scorcher and the technical expert who comes to examine the scene of the crime is hilarious. Scorcher tells the man: ‘We’ve got enough blood spatter to keep you happy for weeks.’ ‘Oh, lovely,’ comes the reply. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? But methinks deep down, that’s the kind of humor which helps a person to keep their sanity, especially when they’re staring death in the face every other day. ‘One more bedsit overdose and I think I’d have died of boredom.’ That’s the technical expert again. But as Scorcher unravels the story of the crime, slowly and painstakingly, we realize it’s going to take a lot more than a black sense of humor to get him through.

    Crime thriller though it is, it’s very much a comment on the scene in a country reeling from the effects of a recession. The gloom, the soul destroying hopelessness in what was, a few short years ago, a land of plenty and prosperity. Tana French’s books tend to leave you with much to think about. My prayer for Ireland during this time would be that the recession will heal and people will get their lives back again. My wish for Scorcher, were he real and not a figment of an author’s imagination would be that he and his family get some closure and healing for their past tragedies and that Scorcher can meet the right woman, preferably someone who already has grown up kids (as his marriage broke up because he didn’t want any) who can give him the back rubs and the listening ear he so badly needs when he comes home from saving the world.


    Favorite Quote:  “Let’s get one thing straight; I was the perfect man for this case.”
    “Let’s get another thing clear, while we’re at it; I am bloody good at my job. I still believe that. I’ve been on the Murder Squad for ten years, and for seven of those, ever since I found my feel, I’ve had the highest solve rate in the place. This year I’m down to second, but the top guy got a run of slam-dunks, domestics where the suspect practically slapped the cuffs on his own wrists and served himself up on a plate with applesauce.”

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  • Posted January 25, 2014

    This book was a big disappointment after Faithful Place.  I even

    This book was a big disappointment after Faithful Place.  I even enjoyed The Likeness, with all its improbabilities, more.  Most mystery readers will guess what happened and why early on, and will be greatly irritated by the constant repetitions of clues and their possible meanings.  Parts of the book read like a TV show in which characters keep telling each other what they already know, supposedly to elucidate the situation for the audience.  French may intend the crazy sister and Scorcher's devotion to be affecting, but most readers will probably find them either boring or aggravating.  The book is so padded with unnecessary verbiage one wonders whether Ms. French was paid by the paragraph.  Anyone who enjoyed Ms. French's previous books must hope she recovers her skills with the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Realistically creepy.

    This was my first Tana French novel, and I'm craving more. The creepiness of the setting is so vivid and so plausible that it is enough to drive the story. Enough said.

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  • Posted December 30, 2013

    This fourth installment about the Dublin Murder Squad focuses on

    This fourth installment about the Dublin Murder Squad focuses on Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, who was introduced in the prior novel Faithful Place. All of the aspects that made the preceding books great are here: tight plotting, fully-fleshed character development, interesting and informative subplots, insight into police procedures without slowing the story, realistic Irish language/dialect, and twists and surprises that constantly thrill the reader and enrich the story. Toward the end there is perhaps a wee excess of introspection, but if you've liked the other three novels (which do not have to be read to enjoy this one) you'll find this a solid entry in the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    4th in the series and still refreshingly original!

    While I am not sure that any of French's books will top the first. This continued the tradition if being completely unique from its predecessors. The stakes all felt a bit lower but the way the crime plot and character subplots interwine is satisfying and I finished the book enjoying my time in its world.

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