I have a new reviewer *singing… * (ummm like shower singing NOT karaoke 😛 ) I have a new reviewer! I am so delighted to welcome The Page
to Tartlandia and my review court. I adore how she expresses herself. <g> ok, ok already, you’ve convinced me! I need to read Tana French
! After, this review I really, really want to 😀
The Queen of Tarts
Page of Tarts Review
My book collection is similar to USA Network: Characters Welcome. This is why, with the aid of one of my dearest friends, Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series practically walked into my life, cleared a spot on my shelf, and made itself at home. I get the feeling that every minor character in this series could be pulled to the forefront and given their own full length novel.
I wanted to reread and review book #1 for the Queen of Tarts (because SHE STILL HASN’T READ IT !), but our favorite QofTs said, “Review book #4! It’s fine to review from the middle of a series!” or something like that.
So here we are.
Broken Harbor is told from the view of Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy. I met him in book #3 (Faithful Place) and thought Ms. French had lost her marbles when I heard he would now play front and center. In Faithful Place Scorcher’s take-the-most-obvious-solution attitude and myriads of platitudes grated. He would say something, I would facepalm.
From the synopsis I knew the murder and the puzzling out of events would take Scorcher back to a place that blah-blah-blah held bad memories from his childhood.
My brother-in-law and I tweeted our concerns back and forth:
“…doubts about focusing on Scorcher…”
“…hoping to see growth…”
And worried it might start “…with us seeing the inner workings of his mind and how he has just been horribly misunderstood…”
So with a mix of anticipation and trepidation I stepped into Broken Harbor.
Did I love Scorcher? No. But he made sense. I cared what was happening to him, our tweeted fears found no ground, and the story was nowhere near “blah”.
The story starts with the case coming in and it’s big. The media will be crawling all over this one. Detective Kennedy has one of the highest solve rates on the squad and is given the case:
“Husband, wife and two kids, stabbed in their own home.”
Scorcher goes to bat for keeping his rookie partner, Detective Richie Curran, instead of being paired with a more seasoned option because:
“The bonus of newbie wrangling is that it saves you a load of hassle…”
and Scorcher can’t,
“afford to waste time playing after-you-no-after-you, not on this one.”
Scorcher began taking shape for me. He is very controlled on the job and off. He chooses the green partner, alphabetizes his book shelf, and thinks if trouble comes your way then somewhere along the way you courted it.
Detective Curran was much easier to like. He has his green ways, a knack for conversing with people that puts them at ease, and a view of the world where maybe the simplest solution needs just a bit more prodding before you could pass down a life sentence.
I may have identified a little too much with the victims. They had purchased a home in what promised to be an up and coming development. The brochures were lovely, reality was bleak. Most of the new homes now stood empty or unfinished. It was a location that was dead and dying before having ever really lived. There was something mournful knowing that before the tragedy the family was already fighting against the feeling of isolation. To know you were isolated and yet having something creep into your home while you were gone and adjust the curtains. To need video baby monitors scattered throughout the home to keep an eye out for something that lurked just out of view. To have holes knocked in your walls for unknown reasons. And all the while you were TRYING to hold things together and live the dream.
The jacket describes Ms. French’s writing as “a blend of police procedural and psychological thriller,” and I agree. In each book I felt like something was stalking up on me, just out of my peripheral vision. There is the feeling that if I just had the time to stop and puzzle things out I would know what was coming, but instead I am driven to keep reading at a breakneck speed.
This series is enthralling. I finished book #1 within 24 hours, books #2 and #3 earned similar reading marathons and #4 keep me up long enough to consume my extra Daylight Savings hour. Heck, I could have waited until the proper 2am to turn my clocks back because I was still awake and reading.
Have a look at book #1’s synopsis:
In The Woods
‘Three children leave their small Dublin neighborhood to play in the surrounding woods. Hours later, their mothers’ calls go unanswered. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.
Twenty years later, Detective Rob Ryan-the found boy, who has kept his past a secret- and his partner Cassie Maddox investigate the murder of a twelve-year-old girl in the same woods. Now, with only snippets of long buried memories to guide him. Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him, and that of his own shadowy past.’