Note: This review is an older one of mine that somehow missed its review highlight. Because it is older, it's missing my usual long-form review format. I hope you enjoy this "reader's digest" version of my thoughts!
Broken Harbor was such an interesting installation of the Dublin Murder Squad, and it definitely feels similar to French's first novel, In The Woods.
This fourth installment of the Murder Squad follows Scorcher, a "my way or the highway" detective with a haunting childhood who ends up working on a truly bizarre case. In one of Ireland's abandoned house developments, in a town that used to be called Broken Harbor, a family is found dead. Two kids suffocated upstairs, the parents gruesomely attacked on the landing. The mother is alive, but spends much of the novel comatose in intensive care.
The murder is chilling, but the true fear comes from the state of the family's home—there are holes cut into the walls and the ceiling, obviously done on the fly and monitored by several video baby monitors. Someone's been watching this family. And we don't know who, or why.
The questions surround Scorcher and his partner, and French does what she does best: she chokes her protagonist with layers of the past and present, cascading into a crescendo that you can't help but become absorbed in. I find all of French's novels gripping, this is true, but Broken Harbor was an easy slam dunk of so many of my favorite things—the claustrophobic setting, the "watched" element of the found footage, the whodunit and whydunit converging into one mess. You won't be able to put this book down until you know the answer. And that answer might just surprise you...
Familiar detective paradigm aside, this novel truly crackled with suspenseful energy. French does it again.
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.