Customer Reviews


137 Reviews
5 star:
 (64)
4 star:
 (34)
3 star:
 (22)
2 star:
 (11)
1 star:
 (6)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and ultimately painfully moving
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...
Published on 2 April 2012 by Totnes Nigel

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have done with a good edit.....
The Spain family is found dead or dying in a house on a new estate outside Dublin. Detective Mike Kenned is put in charge with new boy assistant Detective Richie Curran.

The dream estate has already soured since the financial crash – buildings are unfinished, the paths are badly maintained and there is the atmosphere of a ghost town. A snooper seems to...
Published 4 months ago by Wynne Kelly


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and ultimately painfully moving, 2 April 2012
This review is from: Broken Harbour (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, menacing and haunting, 19 Mar. 2012
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Broken Harbour (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read, 7 Feb. 2015
By 
ElaineG (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Broken Harbour (Paperback)
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. As well as guiding Richie through the pitfalls of being a detective, Mick also has to care for and keep watch over his younger sister Dina – a fey character with a very fragile grip on reality whose problems threaten to tear Mick away from the investigation.

As the story develops to the point where we finally find out exactly what happened to the Spain family and why, I was totally mesmerised, especially when I was reading the section of the book that relived the night they were killed. The author put me right there on the Spain’s sofa living through their ordeal with them, feeling every emotion they felt. I really felt quite wrung out afterwards. It was chilling, atmospheric and haunting stuff and I loved every single page of it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a contemporary Irish crime story - and more!, 8 Nov. 2012
By 
maggiefb (Famagusta, Cyprus) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the first crime story set in Ireland that I have read - I tend to go for Scottish ones usually. For the first few pages I wasn't sure if it was set in Ireland or an Irish area of the US!
A family has been found in a house on a new estate by the sea, 40 minutes from Dublin. The setting is very vividly described - a development conceived in the boom years of escalating house prices and unrealistic dreams, now already falling into decay and partly abandoned. Three family members are dead, the survivor seriously injured.
This immediately becomes a murder investigation, headed by experienced detective Mick Kennedy. Chosen to be his partner is young Richie Curran. As the investigation gets under way, personal relationships become an important part of the story: the relationship between 'Scorcher' Kennedy and rookie Curran, and Kennedy's unstable, volatile younger sister Dina; the changing relationship of the married couple involved in the tragic events, with each other, their children and their old friends. The nature of past events and their effects on the present are also explored here.
This story has been criticised for being too long - I find it hard to judge length when reading on a kindle - but I would have liked chapters to be a bit shorter.

However - I enjoyed this book and will definitely read her earlier novels - once I have devoured the latest Rebus from Ian Rankin!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A master class in detective fiction, 21 Mar. 2012
By 
Mrs. K. A. P. Wright - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Broken Harbour (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Detective Scorcher Kennedy makes things clear from the start. He gets given high profile cases because he is the best - and this case is very high profile, a family slaughter on the outskirts of Dublin with one survivor in a coma. Kennedy is given a new partner, rookie Richie Curran and he gives us a master class of good detective practice through showing Richie how it's done. I mean that literally, Kennedy addresses us personally throughout the book. His voice is very strong, so strong that I know exactly what he looks like, even though at no point are we given a physical description of him.

We learn how the master detective keeps cool, detached, professional and above all in control. He does not break the rules, because you can lose convictions that way. He does not let his personal life intrude, even if his sister is having one of her periodic manic spells. If personal stuff can't be avoided, he makes effective provision for cover which he can monitor at all times, even if at a distance. The master detective is a champion of order. That is what he does.

The murder is gruesome. Pat and Jenny Spain are the perfect couple with the perfect children. They are a golden family. Their is house beautiful, even if the new estate on which it is built is proving to be a gerry-built affair. This impression of the family stands up to very close scrutiny. They are loved and admired by all who know them, so it is hard to fit the obvious solution that Pat, losing it after being made redundant, has battered his family to death. Kennedy and Curran work the case diligently, setting all the correct machinery in place. Hard work provides an alternative answer that fits the bill, even if it doesn't answer all the questions. (Why was the family computer wiped clean? Why are there five baby monitors? Why, in such an immaculately kept house are there holes in the walls?)

Kennedy keeps it all together coping with rivalries at work, despite his sister's shenanigans and mixed memories of camping holidays near the murder site. He is confident enough in his methods to test Curran's doubts about the guilt of their suspect, seeing it as part of his learning and sure that it will just strengthen the case they have against the suspect in custody.

This is a very long, dense book that is completely absorbing. I found my engagement with Kennedy was total. His beady eye hooked me and hypnotised me and didn't let me go until he had finished. The story is his and we see what he sees and we know what he wants us to know, and although he is reticent about some things, he is mostly straight with us. The ending came as a surprise but it shouldn't have. This is an excellent thriller, but not a quick read. Don't rush it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have done with a good edit....., 12 Oct. 2014
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Broken Harbour (Paperback)
The Spain family is found dead or dying in a house on a new estate outside Dublin. Detective Mike Kenned is put in charge with new boy assistant Detective Richie Curran.

The dream estate has already soured since the financial crash – buildings are unfinished, the paths are badly maintained and there is the atmosphere of a ghost town. A snooper seems to have watched the family from a nearby empty house. When this turns out to be an old friend of the Spains the police focus their attention on him.

It all seems like and open and shut case but Richie is unconvinced and Kennedy agrees to dig deeper.
The opening scenes were excellent – especially the descriptions of the Broken Harbour estate. But every little detail of the investigation was shared with the reader. At 520 pages it was just too long and became tiresome in places (especially all the shenanigans with wildlife in the attic!) Also some parts of the plot did not really make much sense, such as Richie choosing to withhold vital evidence……

All a bit convoluted – could have done with a good edit!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, tragic, evocative, 21 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the second of Tana French's novels which I have read. Like the first (Faithful Place) it demonstrates a keen ear for Irish idiom/accent/pronunciation and conveys brilliantly dynamics between various social strata in Ireland. The setting for the crime is one of the "ghost estates" which were half-built before the property crash and the recession, and the role played by the Irish economy in the backdrop to the crime can be readily appreciated. "Scorcher" Kennedy, who also appeared in Faithful Place, is the investigating officer and has to handle not only a distressing crime scene (to which he has past connections, it transpires) and a rookie partner whose actions and approach are as compelling as those of the suspects. Like Faithful Place, I found this novel a little over-long. There is a sub-plot relating to the narrator which, although relevant to a point, could probably have been edited out without doing much damage to the overall flow, and indeed would have removed a number of scenes which I found repetitious and not particularly interesting. Overall a good read, psychologically interesting, and leaves you feeling very sad for a number of the characters: there is no neat resolution here, or indeed redemption, and that perhaps is a bonus.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific book, 2 April 2012
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Broken Harbour (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A 500-odd page novel set in the Irish recession isn't a description which attracts me, I must admit. I only tried this on the recommendation of a friend and I am extremely glad I did. I thought it was an exceptionally good book - well written, completely gripping and very intelligent. It is told in the first person by the detective investigating an attack on a family which leaves the father and two young children dead and the mother seriously injured. The investigation of the crime itself is very well done but it is the depth of Dana French's characters and the sharpness and humanity of her insights which marks this out as an exceptionally good book.

The narrative voice is terrifically believable and readable. The narrator, Detective Mike Kennedy is, for all his flaws, a very sympathetic character and the revelations about his personal life and past are delicately and insightfully done. The story unfolds at a very measured pace but is utterly gripping throughout and is genuine it's-very-late-but-just-one-more-chapter stuff. We get a real feel for the lives of both narrator and the victims, a heart-wrenching portrait of what the boom-and-bust economy in Ireland has really done to some of its people, and varied, poignant portraits of what it means when certainty and control of one's life begin to unravel and when well-intentioned actions go wrong.

I thought this was a terrific book. An unequivocal five stars and very warmly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By every rule in the book, this should have been the dream case, 29 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Broken Harbour (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was bowled over by In the Woods, and have loved all of Tana French's books. They are all different but they share a marvellously involving style, which ensures that the reader is increasingly desperate to find out exactly what happened and why.
This is a story made up of love, despair and the hopelessness of dreams gone wrong.
The main character, and narrator, of this story is Detective Mike (Scorcher) Kennedy, who also appeared in Faithful Place. Kennedy is not at first glance a likeable man. He is arrogant, apparently pretty full of himself, and determined that his ideas are right. His mind can be changed but he resents it - he likes things to be simple. His young rookie partner is Richie Curran, poorly dressed and not immediately an authority figure, who prides himself on his empathy with witnesses - not an attribute that appeals that much to Kennedy, though his feelings for the younger man do warm as he comes to like and trust him.
The case is a gruesome one; three members of a family of four, including two small children, are murder victims, the fourth is taken to hospital nearly dead. The husband, Pat, was made redundant. They lived on a housing estate at Brianstown, which the financial crash has left unfinished; a miserable ghost town miles from anywhere.
Kennedy knows Brianstown, or as it was called, Broken Harbour from childhood visits to the seaside where a family tragedy of his own occurred. From the start the isolation and atmosphere of the place gets to him.
At first the case seems clear enough; either the husband or wife killed the children and then, very bloodily, the other one. Gradually though, the simplicity is eroded: why is the house filled with holes and video equipment, and what was in the attic? Is the practically feral family living next door involved or are other family members and childhood friends of the family? What was the truth of the marriage of Pat and Jenny?
In the middle of all this Kennedy has plenty troubles of his own which upset his certainties. He and Richie have very different feelings on the case. I love the way the author handles relationships, in this book especially between these two but also between Kennedy and his sister Dina.
In the course of the book I came to like Detective Kennedy; he even describes himself as pompous, but his attitude and pomposity cover a great deal of feeling and heartache. He needs certainty because he has very little of it in his life.
Altogether another splendid and splendidly written book from an author I increasingly cherish, which doesn't let the reader go until the last page.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful psychological themes, completely compelling., 25 Mar. 2012
By 
Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Broken Harbour (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Set in Ireland, with her tiger economy in relentless retreat, and high hopes being dashed daily, this is a contemporary crime drama that hits the spot. An ad man's dream type perfect family; Mummy and Daddy, children Emma and Jack, are attacked and slaughtered in their own home. Theirs is a newly built house, chosen from a developers brochure, that sadly stands almost alone amidst the half built broken promises of hapless builders and dreams that can never come true. Family and true friends are surprisingly sparse; a situation exacerbated since redundancy, financial crisis and fearful disappointment. A 999 call brings the Murder Squad to a blood stained scene of massacre, mayhem and mystery.

Like Morse and Lewis, a senior detective needs a younger, less experienced sidekick to bounce ideas off and help the reader/viewer along towards the denouement. Thoughtful, damaged, burdened 'Scorcher' Kennedy gives a rookie Richie a chance to work with him on this case, a 'high profile gig'. The young man has a naturally sympathetic common touch and evolves into more than our good detective bargained on. The interaction between these two produces priceless scenes, complete about turns, boots busily being transferred to the other foot. What Tana French doesn't know about the human condition isn't worth knowing - it's all packed in here.

Reassuring skill is demonstrated in maintaining a strong level of excitement and intrigue for well over 500 pages. The crime scene appears water tight, with only two possibilities. It seems a done deal. Kennedy, who confidently pronounces that he always favours the simple answer is to be found readily eating his own words. All through, we are allowed the privilege of exercising our 'little grey cells', which makes for a highly satisfactory experience. I feel really lucky to amongst the first to have a copy of this, having earlier really enjoyed Tana French's other absorbing books. Such an industrious writer, on top form, with much to offer, is a gift to avid readers like me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews