Monday, October 29, 2012

Double Dip Book Reviews: Faithful Place and Broken Harbor by Tana French

After THE LIKENESS, I am a complete Tana French fangirl.  And while neither FAITHFUL PLACE nor BROKEN HARBOR eclipsed my love for THE LIKENESS (please, Tana, bring back Cassie!!), both were solid literary thrillers.

I'll start with FAITHFUL PLACE (which I read back in April).  I liked Frank Mackey in THE LIKENESS (he was Cassie's former boss in the undercover unit) and I liked even more here.  He hasn't spoken to his family for years (except for his sister), but when he gets a call that his former girlfriend Rosie's suitcase was found in a derelict house in his old neighborhood, he is sucked back into the dysfunctional family dynamics of his childhood.

As the story unfolds, both Frank and the reader learn truths about Rosie that have been long hidden - truths that will have consequences for Frank and his entire family.  I loved Frank's voice here - and the authentic feeling interactions he had with his parents and siblings.  There are also several very well executed twists that ratchet up the tension considerably.  I very much enjoyed this one!

BROKEN HARBOR focuses on Scorcher Kennedy, a minor character from FAITHFUL PLACE, and one that I didn't particularly like.  You come to understand him more in this novel, but he's at the bottom of my list of favorite Tana French protagonists.  Likewise, I found the premise and the story to be the least riveting of the four - although the setting (an abandoned estate of houses with only a few occupants) was super creepy.

Basically, Scorcher investigates a murder of a family that looks like a murder-suicide except that the wife is still clinging to life and the clues point to there being someone else at the scene. What follows is a tale rife with class differences and mental illness. Although I didn't like this one as much as her other books, it's still a cut above most thrillers, so if you like French, definitely give it a go.  I'd start with one of her others though, if you haven't had the pleasure of reading her work yet.

Very much looking forward to French's 2014 novel in this series: THE SECRET PLACE.

FTC disclosure: For review from publisher


bermudaonion said...

I still need to read In the Woods. I need more time.

Zibilee said...

I am listening to In the Woods with my husband right now, and we are loving it. French is such a gifted author, and her writing and characterizations are perfect. Glad to see that you enjoyed these two!

Sandy Nawrot said...

2014????? AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH! I can't wait that long! I'd call myself a fangirl, but I'm not sure if that is a manic enough word. Her writing and plotting is simply amazing. I think it is brilliant how she plucks a person from one story (and not always do we know much about them or like them) and features them in the next. I like how she doesn't always give us the neat answers. I love the chemistry she creates between people. And I loved these two books. Not sure if they eclipse The Likeness either, but I still didn't want either of them to end.

Kyle Stephen said...

Looks like an interesting story. Never read any of her books, but according to your comments - she's good. I gotta grab it.