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Summary

In Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside Dublin - half-built, half-inhabited, half-abandoned - two children and their father are dead. The mother is on her way to intensive care. Scorcher Kennedy is given the case because he is the Murder squad's star detective. At first he and his rookie partner, Richie, think this is a simple one: Pat Spain was a casualty of the recession, so he killed his children, tried to kill his wife Jenny, and finished off with himself. But there are too many inexplicable details and the evidence is pointing in two directions at once. Scorcher's personal life is tugging for his attention. Seeing the case on the news has sent his sister Dina off the rails again, and she's resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family, one summer at Broken Harbour, back when they were children. The neat compartments of his life are breaking down, and the sudden tangle of work and family is putting both at risk.

©2012 Tana French (P)2012 Hodder & Stoughton

Critic reviews

"I've been enthusiastically telling everyone who will listen to read Tana French. Her novels are poignant, compelling, beautifully written and wonderfully atmospheric. Just start reading the first page. You'll see what I mean." (Harlan Coben)
"Every holiday needs a good crime novel and French's skilful thrillers are tailor-made to terrify." ( The Guardian)
"The queen of Irish fiction ... This is a writer working at the height of her powers. As always with Tana French, you can expect humour, pathos and well-observed social commentary, but above all, a cracking story that keeps you guessing until the end." ( The Sunday Independant)
"Establishing atmosphere is one of French's many strengths. Gradually, an emotionally jolting story of love, obsession and madness is played out to incredible effect. Since her first novel, In The Woods, was larded with awards in 2007 French has garnered a huge legion of fans and they will be thrilled with this, her fourth and possibly best novel." ( Daily Mail)
"The first thing that Ms. French does so well in Faithful Place is to inhabit fully a scrappy, shrewd, privately heartbroken middle-aged man. The second is to capture the Mackey family's long-brewing resentments in a way that's utterly realistic on many levels. Sibling rivalries, class conflicts, old grudges, adolescent flirtations and memories of childhood violence are all deftly embedded in this novel, as is the richly idiomatic Dublinese." ( New York Times)
"Nothing short of a masterpiece. French's first three thrillers were all brilliant but this is by far her best and reaches a level of spine-chilling, gripping moreishness that will leave readers open-mouthed with admiration. If I encounter a better novel than Broken Harbour before French publishes her fifth, I'll eat a milliner's shop full of hats." ( Sophie Hannah, Daily Express)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Not A Run of the Mill Murder Mystery

This was my first experience of anything written byTana French but it certainly won't be my last. The story had me hooked from the very beginning and the unfolding of the victims and the murderer's story was astonishingly mundane and exceptionally terrifying. All the characters were well developed and believable, and the two detectives were flawed but immensely likeable at the same time. The narration was perfect and added to my enjoyment of the story.

I don't want to give too much away but this is no ordinary murder mystery. It does far more than tell the tale, it explains the unfolding of a tragedy that befalls ordinary people in ordinary circumstances who become victims of something much bigger than a murderer, they are victims of today's society. The most frightening aspect of this novel is the certain knowledge that what happened to this one family could happen to yours.

I would certainly recommend this audiobook despite finding it harrowing at times. Great story, well read...what more can you ask for?

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

A new author for me and I'll be searching out her other books based on this gripping story that seemed to be unfolding before my eyes owing to the superb narrator. I had to check that there weren't several narrators as the voices were so realistic ranging across age, gender and local accent. A brilliant listen.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • c
  • WALSALL, United Kingdom
  • 01-10-12

A Very Classy Thriller Indeed- Fabulous Narrator

It was after reading other member's reviews and those of the critics, that I chose this novel. My thanks to those of you out there who took the trouble because listening to this novel was a real experience that I may otherwise have missed. It is a truly realistic and tremendously well crafted story-line that you could well believe had its' roots in fact and not fiction. The characters are so compellingly believable that you will be hooked from start to finish! Most definitely this will be the first of many Tana French novels for me. Hugh Lee is just SUPERB! You must buy this!



13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MRS
  • LINCOLN, United Kingdom
  • 29-08-12

BROKEN HARBOUR

Excellent really enjoyed it, Hugh Lee narrated it very well it was like listening to a play, sorry when it finished.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alicia
  • Halstead, United Kingdom
  • 17-08-12

This novel wrapped itself about me like seaweed...

What a wonderful read. A story within a story, we solve the tragedy of his childhood as he solves the crime. Beautifully written with delightful meanders, this is one of the best reads I've had and a refreshing break from other, faster-paced writers in the genre.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs
  • Wokingham, United Kingdom
  • 17-10-12

Absolutely brilliant

This book is absolutely brilliant and the reading of it here was superb. Each character was brought to life through the narrator's excellent dramatisation.A haunting gripping story that has made me a real fan of Tana French and I'm looking forward to hearing/reading more of her work.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sally
  • THEIL-RABIER, France
  • 26-08-12

what a narrator

brilliant listen, great story that got me through pruning the raspberries and polishing the caravan. etc etc Can't believe the narrator did all the voices, especially the women, I had to check to see if there was a women reading as well. My husband and I had a debate about it, he was so convincing. I'll deffo look out for him again, made it for me.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent insights into many things broken

Fascinating and frightening insights into some of the awful impacts of the 2007/8 'Credit Crunch', using the so-called 'Celtic Tiger' backdrop, and with some delightful insights into 'how life used to be' before the EU, the financial recklessness of the '90s and early Noughties. Quite a convoluted plot, built around the human impacts on life, 'post crunch', and the challenges that can result for those responsible for everyday policing and crime-solving, but well narrated by Hugh Lee and Associates. Well worth a Listen!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sharon R
  • WIDNES, United Kingdom
  • 21-09-12

detailed

The story covers just a few days in a very detailed murder investigation, good characters , excellent reading. T

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

A gripping police investigation, which kept me hooked throughout. The narration was amazingly good - so many variations on accents and the women done as well as the men - Brilliant.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maxine Griffiths
  • 04-02-13

Best thriller for ages

Where does Broken Harbour rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Probably the best mystery/thriller I have listened to.

What did you like best about this story?

The narrator was excellent - his characterisation impeccable. It was easy to believe you were listening to an extensive cast.

Which character – as performed by Hugh Lee – was your favorite?

DI Kennedy - Scorcher.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A modern Irish tragedy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Catherine
  • 30-04-14

A masterful reading

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Darned gripping yarn that gets the cognitive skills chugging. Romantic Ireland might be dead and gone but it leaves in its wake a great whodunit.

What did you like best about this story?

Hugh Lee's performance.

Have you listened to any of Hugh Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No idea who Hugh Lee is but this guy is an absolutely terrific reader. He's a one-man cast of regional, social, and gender accents. I wish I could read out loud like this.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Sly story in crafty times.

Any additional comments?

Get Hugh Lee to do more readings.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Susannah
  • 19-11-13

I really liked this book!

What did you love best about Broken Harbour?

The story was most unusual and I could really picture the suburban environment and characters as the narrator was very consistent with his voices and characterisations.
I like all the loose ends to be tied up in a book, and in this case there were a few left 'hanging' however that has given me food for thought...so not such a bad thing.

Who was your favorite character and why?


Richie Curran - empathy empathy empathy...read it and find out why!

What does Hugh Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His Irish accents were really spot on...I particularly liked the voice of the nosey neighbour.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Really enjoyable all round.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alexandra
  • 05-07-13

Gripping story and amazing performance

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I already have! This series in general is notable for the amazing character studies, and Lee's reading truly makes it come to life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The narrator. Lee truly brought out all his humanity.

Have you listened to any of Hugh Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't, but I have already started looking at other pieces he's done.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It terrified me, it captivated me, it saddened me deeply-- all in the best possible way.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 28-04-18

Good but got less gripping towards the end

Loved the plot at the beginning and I was really enjoying the character development most of the way, but ultimately it didn't wow me - ending good but not great. Narrator was fabulous, and the authors writing is beautiful - together they created intense imagery. I felt connected to the characters and their struggles - they were multi dimensional and not too predictable. But unfortunately the ending just wasn't as convincing as i would have liked. I'm hard to please in this sense though and often say that about crime plots. Definitely worth the read and overall enjoyed.