"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Friday, March 07, 2014

Broken Harbor

TITLE: Broken Harbor
AUTHOR: Tana French

Fourth in a series now called the Dublin Murder Squad, this isn't a mystery as much as an exploration of human vulnerability, mental illness, and how the past can't really be escaped. This isn't a series in the traditional sense; French doesn't stick with one protagonist throughout. Instead, each book is seen through the eyes of a detective who appeared in the previous book. In this case, it's Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy who is investigating the murder of a man, his two children, and the near fatal attack on the man's wife. Scorcher has a rookie detective to train, a mentally unbalanced younger sister, and a past he has tried for years to keep buried. But the crime was committed in a housing development in what was once the beach resort where Scorcher and his family went every summer when he was a youth, and where his mother had died.

The investigation focuses on a few suspects only, and the relatively quick apprehension of the prime suspect leads to doubts despite the evidence. As Scorcher and his partner attempt to nail down the case, doubts grow about the man's guilt despite the overwhelming evidence and a confession, and all the while, Scorcher wrestles with his sister's explosive behavior and the memories of their mother's death. By the time the book ends, who killed the Spains won't matter nearly as much as what lead to their deaths and how the case has affected the men investigating it. This book is an emotional rollercoaster that might not keep you guessing, though there are a few ways the resolution could have gone. What it should do is make you feel for the characters. This is the sort of book that tends to linger with me for a while, because the characters feel so real.

I couldn't find any information on a next book. I hope French writes a new one soon.