Like MANY others, I sat down and watched the first episode f the TV series of Broadchurch not quite knowing what to expect – but from that very first episode I was HOOKED. I was drawn into a frenzy with many others, I constantly needed the next episode, I spent many hours online on Twitter discussing theories with my friends, and dissecting every single move characters made. For me personally, Broadchurch was one of the BEST shows I’ve ever seen….so how would the book add up?
The concern that readers might have about this book is that they may be one of the many people like me that have seen the show first, and so essentially know the storyline and the outcome. However let me just tell you – do not worry if this is the case, because there is SO MUCH MORE in this book.
One of the things that I liked most about the novel is that you can really get inside the minds of the characters, Erin Kelly has written it in such a was that you can really feel for the characters and see more of their personal viewpoints. I felt Ellie’s frustration at DI Hardy coming onto the scene and being given the promotion that was going to be Ellie’s. I felt for Ellie as the case about Danny Latimer came in and she discovered it was her friend’s son, and her son’s best friend, who was dead. I also felt desperately for the Latimer family – as I read on, their anger, sadness, feelings and emotions really came through.
Throughout, I genuinely felt like I lived in the Broadchurch, I felt as though the people I was reading about had been my neighbours for years. Even though I had seen the TV series I was still so gripped and hooked by the novel – it drew me in instantly and had my attention throughout. The subject is one that really stays with you and I found myself racing through the book, my head full of emotion, tension and nervousness about reaching the dramatic conclusion of this terrible crime.
Broadchurch is an absolutely fantastic book that pulls you in from the very beginning, with many twists and turns as it delves into the lives of the Broadchurch residents and uncovers the secrets that they may be hiding. Thoroughly recommended.
Right, so, the UK tv sensation of 2013 completely passed me by. Oblivious was I, having watched 10 minutes of the opening episode, then getting distracted by a book or possibly even by chocolate. Luckily I also managed to avoid any and all spoilers, so for me, apart from the fact that there was a body on the beach, I knew nothing.
When I found out that the novel version was to be penned by the devilishly twisty mind of the lovely Erin Kelly I was literally chomping at the bit – for many reasons. Firstly because I adore her books anyway and secondly, being the only person on the planet who did NOT know who murdered Danny Latimer, I wondered if I could work it out. We’ll come back to that one. First lets look at the book overall.
This was a genuine page turner for me, haunting, evocative, looking at a small town coming apart at the seams after a most horrific event. As suspicion rises in all quarters, it was compelling stuff. Its probably good that I can’t make comparisons between the tv portrayal of David (swoon) Tennant and Olivia Coleman and the characterisation provided by Ms Kelly here of Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller, but both of those characters came to life in my head, as did every single one of the others. Emotionally speaking this was a shot straight through the heart – the grief bang in the centre of the Latimer family is brought into stark contrast by the police investigation going on around them – I did often have a tear in my eye especially when Danny’s mum Beth was having her darker moments, alone and in pain.
So yep, packing a definite emotional punch, one that I can’t imagine will be outdone by the viewing of it when I do that – I’ll move onto the heart of the mystery – just who DID kill Danny Latimer and why? Well according to many many people who I have spoken with, on the screen it was glaringly obvious. In the hands of Erin Kelly? Not so much. In fact I got it completely wrong. Utterly, I’m actually embarrassed that now she has had me twice on the twisty turny stuff, once with The Burning Air and now with Broadchurch. When I look back I realise that everything I needed to know was right there – what this author does so well is not hide the facts but make you look the other way. Misdirection. Cleverly done – especially since in this instance she was working from a story already told and to someone elses script. At which point I should say I am VERY much looking forward now to seeing Chris Chibnall’s vision of this story.
For now though I think that if you did watch the show, and loved it as many did, then this novel will absolutely enhance and expand that experience. Because for me, it would not have mattered one little bit if I had already known the culprit, the heart of this novel is not in the whodunnit, but in the emotionally charged atmosphere of the people and place involved. In a community where everybody knows everybody else and there is nowhere to hide, still Broadchurch has many devastating secrets buried just below the surface. And as brilliant as ALL the actors who took part in the show surely are, you cannot see what they are thinking, feeling at depth or considering doing. That is where the novel will absolutely beat the visual medium I have no doubt. Because Erin Kelly can write characters straight out of real life and onto the page – in this case with a deft hand and an imaginative turn that will hold you gripped within the boundaries of Broadchurch for a good while.
Brilliantly done, loved it!
***Source: Publisher Advanced Reading Copy***
UPDATE: I have now watched the Broadchurch television experience and boy that was absolutely perfect. I can honestly at this stage say that the book and the show compliment each other perfectly. My own recommendation is to read then watch if you are lucky enough to still have this to discover…
This novel is based on (although I believe there are subtle differences) the popular recent tv series, which also was broadcast down here in New Zealand. I didn’t watch it, but the book looked interesting, and I had seen the reports of the well-received tv series, so it seemed like it would be a good read.
The story is really the investigation into the death of a young boy, Danny, whose body is found on the beach in the seaside town of Broadchurch. Danny is only eleven years old. Who, in this small, tight-knit community could possibly have done such a thing? The investigation is all the more personal given that Detective Ellie Miller’s son Tom was a close friend of Danny, and Ellie has just been passed over for promotion to Detective Inspector. The new DI is Alec Hardy, a cynical, cold and driven man who has a past he would rather forget. Ellie has enough trouble with the case at all without having to deal with her new unlikeable boss as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story; while it’s ostensibly about solving the murder case, it’s also about what happens to individuals, and from them to their community when a case like this occurs in a small town. Danny’s death touches everybody; and almost everybody could be said to have secrets about their life that they don’t want uncovered by a police investigation. Along the way, peripheral damage, past secrets, personal tragedies and the resolution of professional difficulties for both Miller and Hardy are stones that are turned. What lies beneath is not necessarily pretty. By the end of the story, the community of Broadchurch will be changed forever.
A really good story, this has been extremely well written into a novelised form by Erin Kelly, who has written other psychological thrillers. Her style of writing is very visual; it’s easy to see this story playing out on the screen in front of your eyes, but that doesn’t detract from the narrative experience. Given that I hadn’t seen the tv program the novel is based on, I did not find anything missing from the narrative as presented; it was well written, well paced, well characterised throughout. (Having said that, I had absolutely no trouble picturing the brilliant David Tennant as the hardbitten DI Alec Hardy – a perfect casting, I would think.)
There is apparently a sequel to the series coming out; quite what path that would take I don’t know, although there is apparently a clue in this novel – if so, I haven’t clicked what it is. However, I look forward to more from Broadchurch – in tv or novel form.
I will admit that when Broadchurch was on TV I missed it, much to my annoyance and still haven’t got round to viewing it on DVD; so whether this reads exactly the same as the TV series, I can’t say for sure, but from what I do know about the series I think it is pretty close, although with a novel you do get a better feeling of how people feel when they react to something. I am sure this novel will be a hit and it is well worth reading.
Set in the sleepy Dorsetshire seaside town of Broadchurch Ellie Miller and her family have just returned from holiday. Ellie is looking forward to Monday and being at work as she believes that she will be promoted to DI, but she is disappointed that a certain Alec Hardy is taking the position, as he has some notoriety from the past. On this fateful day though Ellie is hit by another shock, eleven year old Danny Latimer is found dead at the bottom of some cliffs. Danny, a friend of her eldest son and of the family, as both families are friendly is a tragedy, especially when it is shown that it was murder.
As Broadchurch wakes up to the shock, things will never be the same again. As the media move in, especially one journalist, who is after Hardy, the whole town has to come to grips with what has happened. Although this is a very good mystery this is first and foremost about what happens when such a tragedy occurs, especially in a relatively small and tight knit community. The police obviously have to start questioning people, and as we all know the family of the victim is always scrutinised closely. With Hardy who doesn’t trust people, you have the contrast of Miller, who has lived in the town all her life and feels that it can’t really be anyone local. You also have the vicar whom you have to wonder if he is using the tragedy to grab people for the Church and fill his pews, and a man who claims to be psychic. Sorting through all the possible leads and suspects is no easy task, as people are being called back time and time again.
As I have already mentioned, this is a very good mystery, but what draws you in and keeps you reading isn’t that as much as reading and thinking about the devastation that is caused. Mistrust sets in and you realise people that you have known all your life could be a killer, as well as secrets being uncovered that most would wish were kept buried. This story really ratchets up the tension and suspense as you wait to find if the police will identify and catch the culprit, as well as making you want to know how the community will react. In all this is finely written and I am sure will appeal to most readers, not just those who are fans of the TV series.
I was kindly provided with a review copy of this by the publisher via NetGalley.
The outline story here is one which has been done hundreds of times before: a child is murdered, everyone in the small community is under suspicion, an outsider detective ruffles feathers, and everyone asks how well do we know those we’re closest to – and yet, this is written with such empathy, compassion and sheer grip that the story feels fresh again.
I didn’t see the TV drama so came to this without knowing the ending and felt it worked very well. The characters are nicely delineated and the portrait of Beth, especially, the mother of the dead child, is a brilliant rendering of grief.
Objectively, there are a few moments where the plot workings of the authors can be glimpsed though I suspect these might have been less visible in the TV series shown over a number of weeks: the usual unbelievability of a detective on the edge of a breakdown being given charge of such an important case; the way the police seem unable to uncover profiles of suspects even when they’ve been publicly reported in the press; even the ending doesn’t come due to police work but because the murderer chooses to give himself up. But these are small niggles which don’t detract from the power of the story: while the plot is organised around a murder hunt, the interests of the book are really in the emotional journeys of the characters and the way the community reacts.
So a gripping and compelling read that takes the bare bones of a standard police murder hunt but raises it well above the bar – recommended.
(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
Last year, like everybody else in the UK, I fell totally in love with ‘Broadchurch’. I was glued to the screen, week after week, following Hardy and Ellie Miller hunt for the killer of Danny Latimer. The performances of David Tennant and Olivia Colman were mesmerizing, in particular. It was television magic.
Erin Kelly has written the novel version of ‘Broadchurch’, based on the television scripts and added her own touch. She has done a remarkable job. I read the novel, knowing the story inside out and back to front. Kelly added and developed the relationships and the sense of place. I felt like I could feel the pain of Danny’s mum, Beth and the frustration of Alec Hardy, as an outsider. Kelly set just the right tone and did a wonderful job, in all of the characterizations. I loved reading the thoughts of the characters, even know I knew pretty much what they were, from the television series. I feel, after reading the novel, that I understand the series even better.
After the killer is identified, the emotional pace intensifies and I felt the rawness and the sadness of the entire community. A killer was one of their own. The writing had me in tears. It was moving and intense. It was so well done!!!!
I would recommend this book to anyone who watched and loved ‘Broadchurch’. I think Erin Kelly deserves praise for turning one of the best shows on TV last year, into a gripping, exciting and emotional read. I LOVED it.
For those of you who have not seen ‘Broadchurch’, watch it and buy the book. It is an experience worth having. British crime drama at its best.
One reviewer said they must be the only person on the planet not to have seen Broadchurch..... well, they were not alone after all, as it passed me by too. However, finally after all the hype about the series I decided to read the book of the first series, and am so glad I did.
I was engrossed from page one and as everyone now more or less knows how the story goes I won't waste anyone's time by explaining what goes on when Ellie and her boss Hardy have to solve the murder of Danny, an eleven year old boy found on the beach.
I say I was engrossed from page one, but to be truthful I did find the present tense, that the book is written in, rather hard to get my head round at the beginning - I found myself turning the words into the past tense in my head !! Until I told myself to get a grip and just get on with the style of the book - and I did get used to the present tense, but at times it can be a bit tedious. I have to say that the ending took me rather by surprise and I did find it a bit rushed. I didn't feel that any clues had been given to point to the murderer....... or perhaps I just missed them - but that is why I give the book 4 stars instead of 5.
All that said, I did enjoy the book immensely and will be downloading the second one in the series.
on 13 September 2014
I watched and loved Broadchurch on tv and wasn't sure how I'd feel reading the book. I really enjoyed exloring hose the characters felt and refreshing my memory on the storyline. You could still enjoy each twist and turn- even though you knew the eventual ending of the book.
Ellie was passed over for promotion whilst she was on holiday- and the person who took the job she wanted is sick and trying to cover it up. Her best friends little boy is found dead and she is one of the lead detectives on the case. She is torn between having to be a professional and wanting to throw her arm around her friend and promising to catch the killer.
I would really recommend this one- even if you've already seen the tv series .
Many thanks to the publisher
I haven't seen the TV series so I have no point of reference but I found the novel totally gripping and have just read it in one sitting. I was hooked from the beginning when Ellie Miller returns from work after her holiday to find she hasn't got the promotion she was promised and then discovers that the dead body found on the beach is her best friend's 11 year old son. This is an absolute gem of a book which manages, effortlessly and naturally, to cover the despair of the family, the intrusiveness of the press, the guilt and suspicion which envelop a small community and the difficulties of a police investigation. The characterisation is equally good - nobody is entirely good or bad but their frailties are laid bare. It's well worth a read
Like the majority of fellow readers I'd imagine, I picked up the 'Broadchurch' novel after immensely enjoying the hit ITV detective drama of the same name. But as I already knew the story, I did wonder if this 'official' book could offer up anything all that different?. The answer to that is a resounding yes, there is so much more to enjoy here, and discover about the characters who appeared on our television screens. As the front cover states: it contains 'exclusive never-seen-before material'.
Beautifully written by critically acclaimed author Erin Kelly, and very absorbing, I almost felt like I was living in the small town where that shocking disappearance of a lovely little boy took place myself, and knew all of the local residents personally. Kelly added and developed the relationships of the characters very well, allowing them all appear clearly in my mind, as well as the sense of place. Her writing really is marvellous, making me feel the pain of the dead boy's mother, and the frustration of detective Alec Hardy (played by David Tennant in the TV series), as an outsider to the area. As the killer is identified, that's when the emotional pace begins to intensify further, and the sadness of the entire community is one that I was able to feel. The result is one unputdownable read.
For once, a wonderful television series has successfully been turned into an equally wonderful book. This paperback is for fans of 'Broadchurch', and if you haven't even seen the show yet, a read of this will make you want to. Well done Erin Kelly!