Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Review of Broken Harbour by Tana French (Hachette, 2012)
Broken Harbour won the Crime Fiction Book of the Year at 2012’s Irish Book Awards. The story has a very contemporary feel, concerned with the murder of a family on a ghost estate in post-crash Ireland. Where the book excels is with respect to providing a highly detailed account of an investigation that microscopically charts the procedural elements. It also has a strong sense of place and in-depth characterisation. These come, however, at the expense pace and length. The style adopted is to reproduce the entire case, including whole conversations that often go on for pages without adding much to the plot. It’s an interesting approach, creating a certain enclosed atmospherics. However, it felt as if a good quarter of the text could have been edited out without impacting on the plot or its affective resonance. At times the plot veers towards melodrama, some of the elements are difficult to believe, and it relies a little too much on lengthy confessions, but nonetheless it provides an engaging story. Overall, an entertaining if overly long tale.