‘Broken Harbor’ could be stronger
(MCT) — Contemporary Ireland and the country’s history as seen through the eyes of a Dublin homicide department fuel each of Edgar-winner Tana French’s four novels.
In the fascinating, but unwieldy, “Broken Harbor,” French looks at the precarious financial situation that has seen Ireland move from a booming economy to a floundering one in just a few years.
French keeps her series fresh by focusing on a different member of the police squad in each of her novels. “Broken Harbor” belongs to Det. Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy, an arrogant, headline-grabbing cop who also has the highest “solve rates” in his department. He and Det. Richie Curran, his new, inexperienced partner, are assigned the high-profile case of a family of four attacked in their home in Brianstown, a development abandoned by its financially strapped contractors. Only Jennifer Spain has barely survived the assault that took her family.
Patrick and Jennifer Spain were high school sweethearts who seemed to have the perfect marriage, the perfect children. Jenny especially was obsessed with having everything “right.” But Patrick had lost his job several months ago and the family was nearly broke. Their house has holes punched into walls and several baby monitors set up around the home. Also a victim of the economy, Brianstown has half-built homes, unpaved streets and spotty utilities, making it a magnet for squatters and thrill-seeking teens. A series of seeming benign break-ins in which nothing is stolen but possessions are moved have left many uneasy. Mick remembers Brianstown when it was called Broken Harbor, a quiet seaside village that was the site of a family tragedy in his childhood.
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