Now I #amreading Broken Harbor, by Tana French

Posted on July 25, 2012 by

Actually, this is another wasreading post, if one were to be picky. But it’s true that the new Tana French novel, Broken Harbour, came out this week. I have been panting to read it, and blew through it in three days. It’s another Dublin Murder Squad book, and this time the point of view character is Michael “Scorcher” Kennedy.

Scorcher is a minor character in French’s previous book, Faithful Place, but it is in this book that we get to know him, rather than just seeing him through the eyes of his frenemy, Frank the Undercover guy. The connection between the two books, as usual, is pretty minor–enough to maybe make you curious about reading Faithful Place, not enough to make you feel as though you missed anything big. The point is that after not getting it right on his last big case, Scorcher’s got his first high-profile killing in awhile, and he’s taking a rookie with him as his partner.

Like most of French’s cops, Scorcher is far too emotionally involved in his case. Like most of her mysteries, the murder he’s investigating has a link to his past, and he hasn’t told anyone, and it’s ever so subtly fucking him up.

I love French for her prose, but I noticed it less in this book. I think I liked Frank’s voice better than Scorcher’s. It’s one of those things: Frank is more likable, even though Scorcher is demonstrably a better person. Nice kid, good kid… you know what I’m saying?

What pleased me most about this book was partway through I was absolutely convinced I knew where it was going, how the pieces fit. I thought I was going to see French repeat herself in a very fundamental way. And, to my delight, I was wrong. That is pretty rare for me as a seasoned mystery reader. I have been at the armchair whodunnit racket for so long that I usually know exactly what’s coming.

I followed up this book in pretty short order with Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. That one didn’t surprise me, but it was horrifying on a level that kept me both interested and emotionally engaged. I’ll talk more about that, another time, but in the meantime I want to thank Kristine Smith for the recommendation.

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