The first Dublin Murder Squad book I picked up was ‘The Likeness’ and I liked it, but after I read ‘Faithful Place’ I’ve been on an obsessive Tana French kick. Broken Harbour follows Michael Kennedy nicknamed “Scorcher.” This little gem of a book follows this Murder Squad detective who meticulously follows up on all the details and rules of an investigation. He ensure his murderer is locked away nice and tight without any hope of getting off on a technicality. He doesn’t close a case until after the trial. He wants no loose ends. We met Scorcher in ‘Faithful Place’ and our boy Frank left Scorcher hanging. You could say the investigation at Faithful Place started the unraveling of Mr. Kennedy.
Kennedy, like most detective,s and all French’s characters has a scarred childhood. He, however, went to therapy after his divorce and dealt with his issues. He believes he is firmly in control of his own destiny and if you look at life in a positive manner positive things will come to you. The book is about his first big case after Faithful Place and he has no intention of screwing up after working his way back up through the junkie murders. A lot of detectives don’t like the big cases or has an issue with murders involving children. For Scorcher, he believes, if you couldn’t handle it why do you want to work murder in the first place. He takes a new rookie, Richie, through the paces and chose to keep him on the new big case where an entire family is murdered including two young children. The family, the Spain’s, were living in a half finished housing development that got shut down by the economic crash in Dublin. They were in the middle of nowhere and where there are so few neighbors no one may have heard anything.
Kennedy doesn’t get close to people. He prefers rookies because they don’t ask personal questions. No one on the squad who has known him for years knows that he has a sister who is extremely mentally unstable or that his mother committed suicide. She committed suicide in Broken Harbor, the same place as the Spain’s, on a family vacation to the sea when he was a child. There is something strange at Broken Harbor. Nothing seems right. Mental instability is a vein through the entire book and the desperate need for people to control their situation and surrounding.
Tana French did a wonderful job. She ties the story together and while the solution may seem obvious she takes you tracking down many red herrings. As per French’s usual not all our questions are answered and that is part of its beauty. This is a dark tale that spirals out of control and Kennedy doesn’t come out smelling like a fresh lily. Anyone who likes Tana French will be happy. The audible version is narrated by Stephen Hogan. He does a great job. His female voices aren’t perfect but I have listened to far worse. As far as his interpretation of Kennedy or Richie he does a fabulous job. I enjoy listening to her books so I can hear the Irish accent since I won’t create it in my head. If you haven’t read her I recommend you do. This is the fourth installment of the series but there is no need to read the books in order. You won’t miss any crucial background story. Each book is a separate mystery about a separate character on the Dublin Murder Squad. Pick the one you feel most interested in and start there. If you want to start with her latest release, ‘The Secret Place,’ it won’t cause a problem. Just make sure you start reading the Dublin Murder Squad.