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Broken Harbour [Kindle Edition]

Tana French
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin - half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned - two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad's star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once.

Scorcher's personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she's resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk . . .

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I've been enthusiastically telling everyone who will listen to read Tana French. She is, without a doubt, my favorite new mystery writer. Her novels are poignant, compelling, beautifully written and wonderfully atmospheric. Just start reading the first page. You'll see what I mean. (Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author of STAY CLOSE)

Broken Harbour is a complex, well crafted psychological thriller as well as an exemplary dissection of the plight of the disappointed and desperate human wreckage washed up in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland. As always, French's carefully wrought but seemingly effortless prose is a delight. A hugely impressive and intelligent book, with writing to savour. It confirms French as the First Lady of Irish Crime. (Irish Independent)

Observer Thriller of the Month: 'Enticing, threatening, atmospheric prose' . . . Broken Harbour is a tale about the different facets of obsession and insanity, and it winds up to a finale that is almost too distressing. The best yet of French's four excellent thrillers, it leaves its readers - just like the Spains - "throat-deep in terror"' (Observer)

With Broken Harbour, Tana French should cement her name not only as the queen of Irish crime fiction but the queen of Irish fiction. Broken Harbour sucks you into its murky depths that any good novel - crime or otherwise - should . . . the breadth of character is also astonishing . . . This is a writer working at the height of her powers . . . humour, pathos, well-observed social commentary, but above all a cracking story that keeps you guessing until the end . . . A great Irish novel. (Sunday Independent Dublin)

A gripping story in an atmospheric setting by an author who knows how to grab a reader's interest and never let it go . . . not a word of this densely written, long novel was superfluous - I would have been happy for it to be longer still. (Literary Review)

Gradually, an emotionally jolting story of love, obsession and madness is played out to incredible effect in this searing, intense, complex and intelligent thriller by a new master of the art. (Daily Mail)

A thoroughly mesmerising story. After four novels, French is fast becoming one of the best crime writers around . . . a briliantly twisted tale (Heat)

Finely written psychological crime thriller . . . the characters are subtly drawn and the writer reveals a sense of time and place. (Choice)

Tana French is one of those rare novelists who combine a gift for dialogue and characterisation, with suspense, intrigue and fabulous plotting. And she's a beautiful writer, to boot. A real treat. (Kate Mosse)

A beautifully crafted thriller that exposes the bleak repercussions of destroyed hope in recession-riddled Dublin. The setting for Tana French's stunning thriller is an eerie ghost estate on the outskirts of Dublin, where half-finished houses and abandoned buildings provide a chilling backdrop. (Marie Claire)

Nothing short of a masterpiece. French's first three thrillers were all brilliant but this is by far her best and reaches a level of spine-chilling, gripping moreishness that will leave readers open-mouthed with admiration. (Sophie Hannah, Daily Express)

The acclaimed Irish crime writer returns with a timely tale (Irish Times)

Fast-paced psychological thriller . . . Gripping. (Image Magazine Dublin)

French is on finest spine-chilling form in her fourth crime thriller . . . subtlety of plot, language and tone . . . makes this one of the must-read-page-turners (Sunday Times Dublin)

With red herrings and false turns aplenty, Broken Harbour by Tana French will keep you gripped right to the shocking final page. (Good Housekeeping)

Edgar-winner French's eloquently slow-burning fourth Dublin murder squad novel shows her at the top of her game . . . French excels at drawing out complex character dynamics (Publishers Weekly)

As beautifully written as it is gripping (Stellar Magazine Ireland)

Lauded as Tana French's best crime fiction yet, the writer's fourth thriller triumphantly conjures up the atmosphere of an Irish town ravaged by recession and the underlying animosity simmering among its actuely drawn characters (Stylist- Hot New Books of July)

A deftly written thriller (Woman & Home)

Creepy, compelling and uncomfortably believable, this is not just a story about solving a crime, but about the destruction of a generation's hopes and dreams (Independent)

Tana French is one of the most assured crime novelists writing today and BROKEN HARBOUR affirms her reputation. French spins a suspenseful web, which tightens with every chapter. (Time Out)

French is an impressive writer who knows just how to manipulate her readers' emotions . . . as revelation follows revelation, the dark pull of the narrative keeps you enthralled until the entirely satisfying ending. (Spectator)


'Establishing atmosphere is one of French's many strengths. Gradually, an emotionally jolting story of love, obsession and madness is played out to incredible effect. Since her first novel, In The Woods, was larded with awards in 2007 French has garnered a huge legion of fans and they will be thrilled with this, her fourth and possibly best novel.'

(Daily Mail 20120614)

Praise for Tana French

(: 20120614)

'Every holiday needs a good crime novel and French's skilful thrillers are tailor-made to terrify' (Guardian 20120614)

'A gripping, literate thriller laced with black humour' (Irish Times 20120614)

'If you're only going to buy one thriller this year, let it be Tana French's Faithful Place. Searing, utterly Dub, and very funny . . . Tana French, Dublin author of international hits . . . is a wonder. Just don't plan anything if you pick this up; you won't be able to put it down.' (Evening Herald (Dublin) 20120617)

'Gripping. Tana French's third novel hooks the reader from the outset; the characters are masterfully drawn, and the author's ear for Dublin dialogue is pitch-perfect.' (Irish Independent )

'The first thing that Ms. French does so well in Faithful Place is to inhabit fully a scrappy, shrewd, privately heartbroken middle-aged man. The second is to capture the Mackey family's long-brewing resentments in a way that's utterly realistic on many levels. Sibling rivalries, class conflicts, old grudges, adolescent flirtations and memories of childhood violence are all deftly embedded in this novel, as is the richly idiomatic Dublinese.' (New York Times )

'Ambitious and extraordinary'

(Washington Post )

'Crime fiction at its best'

(InStyle magazine )

'One of the most startling debuts I have seen any writer make: polished, assured, ferociously intelligent, at once very original and effortlessly engaged with the conventions of crime fiction'

(Sydney Morning Herald )

'I've been enthusiastically telling everyone who will listen to read Tana French. Her novels are poignant, compelling, beautifully written and wonderfully atmospheric. Just start reading the first page. You'll see what I mean.'

(Harlan Coben )

'Nothing short of a masterpiece. French's first three thrillers were all brilliant but this is by far her best and reaches a level of spine-chilling, gripping moreishness that will leave readers open-mouthed with admiration. If I encounter a better novel than Broken Harbour before French publishes her fifth, I'll eat a milliner's shop full of hats.'

(Sophie Hannah, Daily Express )

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and ultimately painfully moving 2 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Broken Harbour is a nice simple case - 4 members of one family, only one remaining alive, are in a locked house. The detective assigned to the case, Mike Kennedy has a good track record in the Murder squad - what can possibly go wrong? OK - so he has a rookie as his partner and there is some family background in the place that was called Broken Harbour and is now called Brianstown but it can't affect the case can it?

The unfolding of the case caught me from the start. "Obvious" theories looked at and discarded or placed on the back burner at least. The few main characters in the book are gradually, and well, developed. A lot of extra hours are worked and people get tired and I felt for them. The "obvious" becomes much less so as the initial investigation bears some fruit. As time goes by there are some "obvious" pointers. This much of the book is very good indeed. However the last third or so is exceptionally powerful and emotional. Tana French pulls out all the stops and plays with a number of aspects of the characters emotions to great effect. It really was one of those books where the next meal had to wait in the end - I was not going to put the book down much though I regretted it ending.

I read and enjoyed Faithful Place so was glad to have the opportunity to read another Tana French book. There is no question that I will look forward to and read more of her work. This is a very good well written crime thriller that I am happy to recommend.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, menacing and haunting 19 Mar. 2012
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Pat and Jenny Spain are the perfect golden couple - until one morning they are discovered attacked in their kitchen with their children dead upstairs...

I love Tana French and rate her In the Woods as one of my all-time favourite novels - and Broken Harbour is very nearly as good. This is complex, well-written, and emotionally-edgy fiction which just happens to be organised around a crime. The book is dense and detailed, with nothing appearing either hurried or slip-shod, and the creepy sense of disquieting menace grows slowly but surely. French is especially good at conveying a haunting sense of the potential evil of places - the woods in her first book, Broken Harbour here.

French has resisted falling into a crime series and though her books have all taken place in the Dublin murder or undercover squad, they each have a different narrator, with a voice of their own. Mike `Scorcher' Kennedy is a man who prides himself on his control but, like French's previous narrators, he has a dark and troubled past which cannot help but affect his present.

The narrative twists and turns and I don't want to give anything away about the plot which will spoil this for other readers (the Amazon blurb sets the scene well) - it is worth knowing, though, that this is brutal and distressing in parts, and is a book which doesn't shy away from anguish and pain.

This is a wonderfully authentic and atmospheric read and one which I found utterly gripping - highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "In every way there is murder is chaos..." 24 Feb. 2015
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Tana French has this one by the balls and she doesn’t let it go for a second. Tough talking DI Kennedy and his rookie partner Ritchie are in for a ride that barely lets us catch our breath. His boss, O’Kelly, calls him in to give him the case. It’s a bad one. “Husband, wife, two kids, stabbed in their own home. The wife’s headed for hospital. It’s touch and go. The rest are dead.” We get the full details of the scene of crime, text-book isn’t in it, and when young Ritchie can’t face the Post-Mortem, Kennedy makes sure he faces it full on. They have a good routine as far as it goes, but this case is like no other.

Around midway it gets a bit more unguessable, and there are two distinct suspects. Kennedy fancies the father of the children for the crime, though the crime scene is ambiguous and there are various other matters that don’t fall as they should. Ritchie. The other suspect is the prime favourite, except that doesn’t pan out as they hope. When Kennedy’s teenaged sister comes on the scene, we get some insight into Kennedy’s past. She’s unstable to say the least and he spends some time worrying about her when other matters should be occupying his mind.

There’s also the matter of some kind of rogue animal that may or may not be trapped in the walls of the crime scene house and the nature of the surroundings which are far from ideal. They coppers work well as a team, but this is a hefty book at 533pp, and I felt some parts were overcomplicated, stringing certain matters out unnecessarily. The characterisation is good on the whole and I feel French has a good knowledge of the realistic side of policing. It’s a good read, with plenty of creepy moments and dangerous complications. I liked it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read 7 Feb. 2015
Last year I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Secret Place in a Goodreads giveaway and I really enjoyed it. Since then I picked up Broken Harbour in the same series, hung on to it for a while thinking I really should read the first three books in the series first, but finally settled in for a darn good read. The wonderful thing is it doesn’t seem to matter which order you read the books in as each focuses on a different detective in the Dublin Murder Squad with no references to past cases or drama that has been carried over. In Broken Harbour, Detective Mick Kennedy, along with his rookie partner Richie Curran are called to investigate when the murdered bodies of a family are found in their home with just one survivor – mother of the family,Jenny Spain.

At over 500 pages this is quite a long read, rich in detail and description not only of the investigation but also of the setting. A modern housing estate by the sea at Brianstown which should have been the Spain family’s dream home has been left abandoned during the recession, it is now very much a ghost town with half the homes unsold and only half built. Brianstown used to be called Broken Harbour, a place Mick knows well from his childhood and which holds bittersweet memories for him. It isn’t until you get to the very last page of the book that you realise just how close to the bone this investigation is for him.

I loved the way the author showed the relationship between Mick and Richie – how it evolves through the story in a way which is quite unusual and refreshingly original for someone who reads a lot of this genre to read about.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Didn't enjoy this book as much as her other books.
Published 9 days ago by Elaine Hales
2.0 out of 5 stars More interesting watching paint dry
This novel concerns the bloody murder of a family; the sole survivor is the mother, horribly injured, safe in hospital. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jood
4.0 out of 5 stars A real find!!!
This is my first Tana French novel.Dark,haunting,painful and very well -written.Makes you want more.
Published 1 month ago by Mary Leonard
4.0 out of 5 stars it's an excellent portrait of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland and the effect...
The last of Tana French's (to date) 5 books that I've read. Alas, the plot is rather incredible with regard to some big details (there's some damning evidence at the start, so... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story
Book 4, in the Dublin Murder Squad series

Each time I read review I learn something new I never paid enough attention to notice that Ms. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Toni Osborne
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by robert ward
3.0 out of 5 stars Tooooooo slowwwwww
On and on and on and on. Having read Faithful Place and In the Woods I was expecting a page turner. This is a slow monotinous read. Could have been reduced by half. Not her best.
Published 2 months ago by ms
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder in post crash Ireland
Pat and Jenny Spain live in a new housing estate with their two children in Brianstown in Ireland. What was their dream has crashed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alison Gray
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful in places, but as it seems futile to state, overlong.
I think Tana French is a powerful author: the characters at the heart of this book are very well drawn indeed; detective, his office rival, protege, unstable siser, the married... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ken
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very gripping with excellent plot line
Published 3 months ago by amanda williams
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