Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Broken Harbor by Tana French

Tana French’s Broken Harbor draws you in with apparent brash simplicity, and then makes you second guess everything even as you hang desperately on to the narrator’s single central truth—Scorch Kennedy’s a good cop. Isn't he?

Irish police detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy lives by the rules. He’s a thorough cop with a great clearance rate, even on the tough cases, and that means everything to him. When a family of four is attacked in their home in a failed and nearly abandoned “luxury development” on the coast of Ireland, Scorcher and rookie detective Richie Curran think it’s going to be an easy one—mom or dad must have been into drugs or gambling, and made one of the usual suspects homicidally angry. Then the false notes begin to add up—holes in the walls, wounds that may have been self-inflicted, and a neighbor boy with flat eyes and something to hide. The only surviving family member is the mother, and when she regains consciousness, it makes the case even murkier.

When Scorch was a kid, his family visited the coast for two weeks every summer, just about where the “luxury development” is now, and working there brings back memories, for him and for his unbalanced sister. The memories illuminate the events that made Scorch the man he is today, and cast doubt on his current interpretation of events and the motivation behind his actions. When everything is taken into account, is Richie Curran a loyal and gifted partner, or a twig waiting to snap? Is the prime suspect the father, the best man, or a stranger?

Broken Harbor is an intense 450 page mystery, twisting through the mad ins and outs of the case and Scorcher’s life, and you will be fascinated if you like mysteries, police procedurals, Ireland, or just plain good writing. (Unless you only like cozies, or pet detectives.) Get on the wait list!

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