Top positive review
"Waiting for the dawn"
Reviewed in the United States on March 31, 2018
Tana French's "Broken Harbor" begins as a typical police procedural. As usual, it features the Dublin Murder Squad. (There are now six novels in the series.) Detectives "Scorcher" Kennedy and rookie partner Richie Curran investigate a gruesome murder in a house in a once-promising suburban development that has fallen victim to recession (it's set in the late 0s, as the "Celtic Tiger" was declawed by recession). Scorcher knows the area, now known as Brianstown, as Broken Harbor. A father and his two children have been killed; his wife has been severely injured. The preliminary investigation turns up a series of holes in the shoddily built structure, and there are more baby monitors that would seem necessary.
The detectives go through the routine (Scorcher tells the tale in the first person) and turn up a promising suspect. And than the book spirals into the darkness. The descent begins when Richie and Scorcher have different ideas as to who might be guilty.
In addition Scorcher has a bipolar younger sister, Dina. And she triggers Kennedy's and the tale's, descent, as during the course of the book we learn that Scorcher and Dina have a history there. Dina tells Scorcher he never should have taken the case, and as we see, he probably shouldn't have.
The book's showpiece is a chapter-long confession sequence that is not for the weak of heart, or stomach. It's a horror show.
NOTES AND ASIDES: Do I really have to say more? If you don't like unpleasant books and characters, stay well away. If you like brilliantly conceived and written novels, order it. And especially keep in mind this is not a routine mystery. Well not just, anyhow.