Saturday, January 25, 2014
Staff Pick - Broken Harbour by Tana French
Part of the Dublin Murder Squad series (although absolutely readable as a standalone), Broken Harbour (M) by Tana French is a haunting and layered mystery that will keep you engaged for its 500+ pages. Don't let its size put you off!
Pat and Jenny Spain were the golden couple who were the envy of all who knew them. Intelligent and attractive, they were high school sweethearts who were totally each other's focus. Their friends desired no more than to find a relationship like theirs. Pat and Jenny were brought up in the comfortable middle class and had no coping skills to deal with the economic crisis that was looming. Duped by disreputable property developers, they rushed to get on the property ladder and bought a shoddily constructed house that was crumbling around them and would never have any resale value. The unthinkable happens and Pat loses his job taking away the one thing that he was most proud of - supporting Jenny and his two children.
It's Detective Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy's job to figure out how they got from there to viciously slaughtered in their own home. The children are found smothered in their beds and Pat and Jenny repeatedly stabbed, leaving Pat dead and Jenny clinging to life. Kennedy is the department's star detective whose success inspires awe in his junior detectives and savage jealousy in some of his colleagues. He is orderly, methodical and approaches his cases in a dispassionate and clinical way. He firmly believes that the world is not random and that people invite the chaos that enters their lives. As he peels away the layers of the case that are hiding the truth, he is also revealing the layers of his own troubled life and the guilt that has been haunting him.
Broken Harbour is not only a fast-paced absorbing police procedural that will keep you guessing as each piece of evidence is collected and examined, but also a series of fascinating character studies as everyone - victims, accused, and detectives - are revealed as complex and essential parts of the mystery. I highly recommend this excellent novel.
Gillian Flynn's highly acclaimed novel Gone Girl (M) by explores the darker side of a perfect seeming marriage gone wrong.
"On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around." publisher