Wednesday, October 17, 2012

If It Isn't Broken, Don't Fix It

Remember back in July (was it really that long ago?!) when I won a complete set of Tana French's books and I said I would write my review of the new one ASAP?

Apparently "ASAP" is actually an abbreviation for 2.5 months later.  Sheesh.

I decided to re-read her first three books (reviews here and here) which is part of what took me so long.  That and the whole "taking a break from blogging" thing, and the fact that I'm traveling a lot, and am in the midst of some pretty big life things.  It's not even like I read it a long time ago and haven't written about it yet.  I just finished it last weekend.  Finally.  But let me tell you, the first three were just as good the second (third or fourth) time around.

Just like her other books, she follows the familiar formula of focusing on a character that was first introduced in the book before.  In this case, the detective solving the murder in Faithful Place is the lead in Broken Harbor.  I've noticed a trend after reading all four back-to-back that she has been tying the books back into the previous stories less and less, which I miss.  Nonetheless, this novel does not disappoint.

"Scorcher" - the aforementioned detective - stumbles upon a case that at first glance is open-and-shut.  An entire family is murdered, the mother barely hanging on, and a suspect is in custody (well not at first, but whatever... not really a spoiler in a detective novel that there is a suspect in custody at some point.)  But everything about this case is not what it seems.

I can honestly say that I had no freaking clue what had actually happened until just as the catharsis was unfolding.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend who had also read In the Woods who was really upset with the ending because we were never really given all the answers.  But I will say that (again, after reading the books back-to-back) I have to disagree with my friend.  I think the beauty of French's books is that she doesn't give it all away.  You're still left with questions.  It's what makes these mysteries so haunting.  Can anyone disagree that the creepiest horror movies are those where the creature / spirit / evil being aren't actually shown clearly?!  Has anyone seen Signs?!  That movie is ruined when the creature is shown.  These books wouldn't give me chills if French revealed exactly what happened.

In the case of Broken Harbor, I'm left with a few very important questions that will eventually be answered...
1 - When is her next book coming out?
2 - Who will she feature as her next lead character?
3 - Will she begin tying the characters back together?  Because that would make me very happy.
...and a few that probably won't ever be answered...
1 - How much of a psychological mess is Scorcher really?
2 - Should he really have seen was was going on?
3 - (Ok, I can't reveal number three because it would give away the ending)

There you have it.  Another excellent read by Tana French.  Like I said in my post heading - if it isn't broken, don't fix it.  Keep bringing up these mysteries full of intrigue but lacking answers and I can guarantee I'll keep reading.


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