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Other titles in the Dublin Murder Squad series:

Broken Harbor

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Broken Harbor Cover

ISBN13: 9780670023653
ISBN10: 0670023655
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Excerpt

I used to know Broken Harbor like the back of my hand, when I was a skinny little guy with home-cut hair and mended jeans. Kids nowadays grew up on sun holidays during the boom, two weeks in the Costa del Sol is their bare minimum. But I’m forty-two and our generation had low expectations. A few days by the Irish Sea in a rented caravan put you ahead of the pack.

Broken Harbor was nowhere, back then. A dozen scattered houses full of families named Whelan or Lynch who’d been there since evolution began, a shop called Lynch’s and a pub called Whelan’s, and a handful of caravan spaces, just a fast barefoot run over slipping sand dunes and between tufts of marram grass to the cream-colored sweep of beach. We got two weeks there every June, in a rusty four-bunker that my dad booked a year in advance.

The three of us were up and out at daybreak with a slice of bread and sugar in each hand. We had all-day games of pirates with the kids from the other caravans, went freckly and peeling from salt and windburn and the odd hour of sunshine. For tea my mother would fry up eggs and sausages on a camping stove, and afterwards my father would send us to Lynch’s for ice creams. We’d come back to find my mum sitting on his lap, leaning her head into the curve of his neck and smiling dreamily out at the water; he’d wind her hair around his free hand, so the sea breeze wouldn’t whip it into her ice cream. I waited all year to see them look like that.

Once I got the Beemer off the main roads I started remembering the route, like I had known I would, just a faded sketch at the back of my head: past this clump of trees—taller, now—left at that kink in the stone wall. Right where the water should have risen into view over a low green hill, though, the estate came charging up out of nowhere and blocked our way like a barricade: rows of slate roofs and white gables stretching for what looked like miles in either direction, behind a high breeze-block wall. The signboard at the entrance said, in flamboyant curly lettering the size of my head, WELCOME TO OCEAN VIEW, BRIANSTOWN. A NEW REVELATION IN PREMIER LIVING. LUXURY HOUSES AND APARTMENTS NOW VIEWING. Someone had spray painted a big red cock and balls over it.

At first glance, Ocean View looked pretty tasty: big detached houses that gave you something substantial for your money, trim strips of green, quaint signposts pointing you towards LITTLE GEMS CHILDCARE and DIAMONDCUT LEISURE CENTER. Second glance, the grass needed weeding and there were gaps in the footpaths. Third glance, something was wrong.

The houses were too much alike. Even on the ones where a triumphant red-and-blue sign yelled SOLD, no one had painted the front door a crap color, put flowerpots on the windowsills or tossed plastic kiddie toys on the lawn. There was a scattering of parked cars, but most of the driveways were empty, and not in a way that said everyone was out powering the economy. You could look straight through three out of four houses, to bare rear windows and gray patches of sky. A heavyset girl in a red anorak was shoving a buggy along a footpath, wind grabbing at her hair. She and her moon-faced kid could have been the only people within miles.

“Jaysus,” Richie said; in the silence his voice was loud enough that both of us jumped. “The village of the damned.”

* * *

The door of the house was a few inches open, swaying gently when the breeze caught it. When it was in one piece it had looked like solid oak, but where the uniforms had splintered it away from the lock you could see the powdery reconstituted crap underneath. It had probably taken them one shove. Through the crack: a geometric black-and-white rug, high-trend with a high price tag to match.

I said to Richie, “This is just a preliminary walk-through. The serious stuff can wait till the Bureau lads have the scene on record. For now, we don’t touch anything, we try not to stand on anything, we try not to breathe on anything, we get a basic sense of what we’re dealing with and we get out. Ready?”

He nodded. I pushed the door open with one fingertip on the splintered edge.

My first thought was that if this was what Garda Whatever called disorder, he had OCD issues. The hallway was dim and perfect: sparkling mirror, organized coatrack, smell of lemon room freshener. The walls were clean. On one of them was a watercolor, something green and peaceful with cows.

My second thought: the Spains had had an alarm system. The panel was a fancy modern one, discreetly tucked away behind the door. The OFF light was a steady yellow.

Then I saw the hole in the wall. Someone had moved the phone table in front of it, but it was big enough that a jagged half-moon still poked out. That was when I felt it: that needle-fine vibration, starting in my temples and moving down the bones into my eardrums. Some detectives feel it in the backs of their necks, some get it in the hair on their arms—I know one poor sap who gets it in the bladder, which can be inconvenient—but all the good ones feel it somewhere. It gets me in the skull bones. Call it what you want—social deviance, psychological disturbance, the animal within, evil if you believe in that: it’s the thing we spend our lives chasing. All the training in the world won’t give you that warning when it comes close. You get it or you don’t.

I took a quick look at Richie: grimacing and licking his lips, like an animal that’s tasted something putrid. He got it in his mouth, which he would need to learn to hide, but at least he got it.

Off to our left was a half-open door: sitting room. Straight ahead, the stairs and the kitchen.

Someone had put time into doing up the sitting room. Brown leather sofas, sleek chrome-and-glass coffee table, one wall painted butter yellow for one of those reasons that only women and interior designers understand. For the lived-in look, there was a good big telly, a Wii, a scattering of glossy gadgets, a little shelf for paperbacks and another one for DVDs and games, candles and blond photos on the mantelpiece of the gas fire. It should have felt welcoming, but damp had buckled the flooring and blotched a wall, and the low ceiling and the just-wrong proportions were stubborn. They outweighed all that loving care and turned the room cramped and dim, a place where no one could feel comfortable for long.

Curtains almost drawn, just the crack that the uniforms had looked through. Standing lamps on. Whatever had happened, it had happened at night, or someone wanted me to think it had.

Above the gas fire was another hole in the wall, about the size of a dinner plate. There was a bigger one by the sofa. Pipes and straggling wires half showed from the dark inside.

Beside me Richie was trying to keep the fidgeting down to a minimum, but I could feel one knee jiggling. He wanted the bad moments over and done with. I said, “Kitchen.”

It was hard to believe that the same guy who had designed the sitting room had come up with this. It was a kitchen-cum-dining-room-cum-playroom, running the whole length of the back of the house, and it was mostly made of glass. Outside the day was still gray, but the light in that room was full and dazzling enough to make you blink, with a lift and a clarity that told you the sea was very near. I’ve never been able to see why it’s supposed to be a plus if your neighbors can check out what you’re having for breakfast—give me net-curtain privacy any day, trendy or not—but that light almost made me understand.

The room was an estate agent’s dream, except that it was impossible to imagine anyone living there, ever again. Some frantic struggle had thrown the table over, slamming one corner into a window and cracking a great star across the glass. More holes in the walls: one high above the table, a big one behind an overturned Lego castle. A beanbag had burst open and spilled tiny white pellets everywhere; a trail of cookbooks fanned out across the floor, shards of glass glinted where a picture frame had smashed. The blood was everywhere: fans of spatter flying up the walls, crazy trails of drips and footprints crisscrossing the tile floor, wide smears on the windows, thick clumps soaked into the yellow fabric of the chairs. A few inches from my feet was one ripped half of a height chart, big beanstalk leaves and a climbing cartoon kid, Emma 17/06/09 almost obliterated by clotting red.

Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from Broken Harbor by Tana French. Copyright © 2012 by Tana French. Available July 24, 2012 wherever books are sold.

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Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

ery3612, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by ery3612)
Tana French blurs the lines between genres with this police procedural that could also be described as literary fiction. The suspense gets thicker the further you read, and when the answers are finally revealed, you won't be able to stop turning the pages. Get ready for some sleepless nights until you finish this one.
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savin2retire, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by savin2retire)
Tana French just gets better and better - I just turn pages faster and faster. Broken Harbor is her best yet!
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suevt1, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by suevt1)
"...and I have always been caught by the pull of the unremarkable, by the easily missed, infinitely nourishing beauty of the mundane." Wow! This is the kind of writing that Tana French offers in this, her latest mystery.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780670023653
Author:
French, Tana
Publisher:
Viking Books
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Subject:
Thrillers
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20120731
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Broken Harbor Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Viking Books - English 9780670023653 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Edgar-winner French's eloquently slow-burning fourth Dublin murder squad novel shows her at the top of her game. In a half-built luxury development near Dublin, a family of four is attacked and left for dead, with only the mother clinging to life. For Det. Mick 'Scorcher' Kennedy, introduced in 2010's Faithful Place, this is a case that makes — or breaks — a career. With his new rookie partner, Det. Richie Curran, Mick arrives soon after Patrick Spain and his two children, six-year-old Emma and three-year-old Jack, are discovered stabbed to death in their home, while mother Jennifer is taken to the hospital. The house, one of the few completed in the Brianstown development, is a bloody mess, and suspicion immediately falls on Patrick, who recently lost his job. The recession figures prominently, as Brianstown — once known as Broken Harbor — was abandoned by contractors when money dried up. Mick's own childhood memories of Broken Harbor are marred by tragedy and intertwined with watching over his mentally unstable sister, Dina. As usual, French excels at drawing out complex character dynamics. 5-city author tour. Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary, TV & Film Agency. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “Ms. French created haunting, damaged characters who have been hit hard by some cataclysm....This may sound like a routine police procedural. But like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, this summer’s other dagger-sharp display of mind games, Broken Harbor is something more.”
"Review" by , “So much of the pleasure inherent in reading these novels is in trying to figure out where things are going and being constantly surprised, not to mention thoroughly spooked. I predict Broken Harbor will be on more than one Best of 2012 lists — it’s definitely at the top of mine.”
"Review" by , "Broken Harbor is truly a book for, and of, our broken times. It's literature masquerading as a police procedural."
"Review" by , “French has that procedural pro's knack for making mundane police work seem fascinating. And she's drawn not just to the who but also to the why — those bigger mysteries about the human weaknesses that drive somebody to such inhuman brutality. What really gives Broken Harbor its nerve-rattling force is her [French’s] exploration of events leading up to the murders, rendered just as vividly as the detectives' scramble to solve them."
"Review" by , “These four novels have instated Ms. French as one of crime fiction’s reigning grand dames — a Celtic tigress....It’s not the fashion in literary fiction these days to address such things as the psychological devastation that a fallout of the middle class can wreak on those who have never known anything else, and Ms. French does it with aplomb — and a headless sparrow and dozens of infrared baby monitors."
"Review" by , “The fourth book in Tana French’s brilliant, genre-busting series about the (fictitious) Dublin Murder Squad....Invoking atmosphere is one of French’s particular gifts, and in this department, Broken Harbor (the name of the town before the developers got hold of it) is a tour de force.”
"Review" by , “Ms. French has come to be regarded as one of the most distinct and exciting new voices in crime writing. She constructs her plots in a dreamlike, meandering fashion that seems at odds with genre's fixed narrative conventions. Sometimes, it's not even clear whodunit. Her novels have been translated into 31 languages, with 1.5 million copies in print....Broken Harbor has the hallmarks of a standard police procedural: a cocky homicide detective with a troubled past who educates his younger partner with pat lessons; a shocking crime that seems to defy explanation; a heart-stopping twist at the end. But Ms. French undercuts expectations at every turn. The victims begin to look less like victims; the case starts to unravel and the lead detective makes compromises that could ruin him.”
"Synopsis" by , The latest New York Times bestseller from the acclaimed author of In the Woods and Faithful Place.

Tana French’s rise can only be called meteoric. Starting with her award-winning debut, French has scored four consecutive New York Times bestsellers and established herself as one of the top names in the genre. Broken Harbor is quintessential French — a damaged hero, an unspeakable crime, and an intricately plotted mystery — nestled in a timely examination of lives shattered by the global economic downturn.

Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy always brings in the killer. Always. That’s why he’s landed this high-profile triple homicide. At first, he thinks it’s going to be simple, but the murder scene holds terrifying memories for Scorcher. Memories of something that happened there back when he was a boy.

"Synopsis" by ,
Detective Aector McAvoy returns in a thrilling new case set in Yorkshire; a series of salacious murders has him on the hunt for a sadistic killer in David Marks critically acclaimed series.

 

When “swinger” Simon Appleyard is found strung-up and naked in his Hull apartment, the authorities are only too happy to chalk up his death to a suicide. After all, a new gang has taken over the local drug trade, and Detective Superintendent Trish Pharaohs Serious and Organized Crime Unit is being run ragged by this well-connected and merciless group of criminals. With violent drug-related crime on the rise, the last thing the police need is an investigation of a depressed young mans death.

But more bodies begin to turn up, and all are somehow connected to the local underground erotic scene. Although Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy would be perfectly content to stay at home with his beloved wife and newborn baby, he begins to suspect that murder is just the tip of the iceberg. As his shrewd investigation brings him uncomfortably close to the local political elite—powerful people who would kill to keep their secrets buried, and who have the power to make or break his career—McAvoy realizes he is hunting a killer who has plenty more targets in sight, and a lust that wont be satisfied until the River Humber runs red.

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