In French's fourth Dublin Murder Squad mystery, Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy investigates the death of Patrick Spain and his two young children—in one of the half-built, half-abandoned "luxury" developments that litter Ireland—while Spain's wife, Jenny, is in intensive care.
Tana French’s new novel begins as a police procedural and evolves into a psychological thriller of exceptional complexity and depth ... Broken Harbor provides a fascinating and suspenseful plot, believable characters and writing that is precise, knowing and lyrical. Underlying it all is a formidable intelligence, one that moves relentlessly from a family tragedy to the ugly side of police work to the sorrows of a generation.
...[a] devious, deeply felt psychological chiller ... This may sound like a routine police procedural. But like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl...Broken Harbor is something more. It’s true that Ms. French takes readers to all the familiar way stations of a murder investigation: the forensics, the autopsies, the serial interrogations and so on. But she has urgent points to make about the social and economic underpinnings of the Spain family murders. And she has irresistibly sly ways of toying with readers’ expectations ... Ms. French’s books all give the same first impression. They start slowly and seem to need tighter editing. But...she patiently lays her groundwork, then moves into full page-turner mode ... That Ms. French is also an actress surely accounts for her skill with minor characters.
...[a] moody and ingenious tale ... French brilliantly evokes the isolation of a Gothic landscape out of the Brontes and transposes it to a luxury suburban development gone bust ... like all superior detective fiction, French's novels are as much social criticism as they are whodunit ... Broken Harbor gets a lot more deliciously complicated and chaotic before any illusion of order is restored. The construction of the houses in that blasted development may be shoddy, but not so French's plot and characters. They're as sound and neatly fitting as a coffin lid.