Broken Harbor by Tana French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The fourth book in French's excellent Dublin Murder Squad series picks up with Faithful Place's Mick Kennedy. Scorcher, as he's known, is a by-the-book cop famous for his diligence, attitude, and solve rate. However, he's still trying to make amends for one case, so he's given this one - a family found in an estate in the Irish suburbs. Father Patrick and the two children are dead, while mother/wife Jenny is in critical condition at the hospital. At first, Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, think the case is open and shut. But they quickly discover things aren't what they seem--with the Spains themselves or the murder case. Why are there holes all over the family's home, and baby monitors and cameras everywhere? Who erased the family's computer? Why did Jenny pull their young son out of preschool? Scorcher finds himself on a case that will test his resolve and the morals he holds so dearly.
This was an superb book; I don't know how French does it, but her novels never disappoint. It's a bit slow going, but amazingly interesting. Her painstaking detail of a crime scene and murder investigation is thorough and somehow beautiful; she knows her stuff. The first person detail with Mick is a welcome relief, honestly, after the "varying POV" chapters that seem to be the method du jour lately (I know the book is a few years old, but still). Mick is a crazily complex character and hearing his innermost thoughts just adds to his depth.
I won't lie: the book is long and it's probably not for everyone. You need to be a mystery fan and not be thrown off by a main character who talks and shares a lot. There's a dynamic between Mick and his new partner that adds to this detail and character development. Further, Mick and his family have a tie to Broken Harbor (the site of the murder), which involves some flashbacks. Again, it adds length, but also to the depth of his character. Plus, the plot kept me guessing, which I really appreciated. It would have been an easy 4.5 star rating, but it dived a little with the ending and a move that seemed a bit out of character for Mick, but still - an excellent mystery with a detailed and thoughtful plot. I'm glad I've picked up French's series again and look forward to getting completely caught up.
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