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Broken Harbor by Tana French: Where to Find the PDF Version of This Award-Winning Novel

Broken Harbor by Tana French: A Gripping Mystery Thriller

If you are looking for a captivating and engrossing crime novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you should definitely check out Broken Harbor by Tana French. This is the fourth book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, but it can be read as a standalone novel. In this article, we will give you an overview of the book and its author, summarize the plot and the characters, analyze the themes and the style, and review the reception and the ratings of this best-selling novel.

Tana French Broken Harbor Download Pdf


The Plot: A Family Tragedy in a Ghost Estate

The story begins with a horrific crime scene in a half-built, half-abandoned housing development called Broken Harbor, outside Dublin. A father and his two children are found dead in their home, while the mother is barely alive in intensive care. The case is assigned to Detective Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, who is known as the star of the Dublin Murder Squad. He is partnered with a rookie detective, Richie Curran, who is eager to learn from him.

At first glance, it seems like a straightforward case of a family murder-suicide, triggered by the financial crisis and the collapse of the housing market. But as Scorcher and Richie dig deeper into the evidence, they discover that there are too many inexplicable details and inconsistencies that point to a different scenario. For instance, why are there holes smashed in the walls of the house? Why are there half a dozen baby monitors pointed at them? Why are all the files erased from the family's computer? And why did the mother tell her sister about a shadowy intruder who was stalking them?

As Scorcher and Richie try to unravel the mystery, they also have to deal with their own personal issues. Scorcher is haunted by his past, as Broken Harbor holds painful memories for him and his troubled sister Dina, who suffers from mental illness. Richie is struggling with his marriage and his sense of identity, as he questions his own morals and values. The two detectives have to work together to find out what really happened to the Spain family, and what secrets they were hiding behind their seemingly perfect facade.

The Characters: A Complex Cast of Suspects and Detectives

One of the strengths of Broken Harbor is its rich and realistic characterization. Tana French creates a complex cast of characters who are flawed, human, and relatable. The main characters are:

  • Scorcher Kennedy: The protagonist and narrator of the book. He is a veteran detective who prides himself on his professionalism and his high solve rate. He follows the rules and plays hard, but he also has a compassionate side. He has a traumatic history that involves Broken Harbor, where his mother committed suicide when he was a child. He also has to take care of his sister Dina, who suffers from mental breakdowns.

  • Richie Curran: Scorcher's partner and sidekick. He is a rookie detective who admires Scorcher and wants to learn from him. He is smart, loyal, and enthusiastic, but he also has doubts and insecurities. He comes from a working-class background and feels out of place in the middle-class world of the Spains. He is married to a woman he loves, but he is not sure if he wants to have children with her.

  • Patrick Spain: The father and victim of the crime. He was a successful IT consultant who lost his job and his savings in the recession. He moved his family to Broken Harbor, hoping for a better future, but he ended up in a ghost estate with no prospects. He was devoted to his wife and children, but he also had a dark side that he kept hidden from them.

  • Jennifer Spain: The mother and survivor of the crime. She was a beautiful and loving woman who tried to support her husband and children through their difficulties. She was also ambitious and independent, and she had dreams of her own that she had to give up. She was the only witness of the attack, but she was too injured and traumatized to remember anything clearly.

  • Emma and Jack Spain: The children and victims of the crime. They were six-year-old twins who were bright, happy, and curious. They loved their parents and each other, but they also sensed that something was wrong in their home. They were fascinated by the holes in the walls and the noises they heard from them.

In addition to these main characters, there are also other minor characters who play important roles in the story, such as Conor Brennan, the Spains' neighbor who claims to have seen the intruder; Fiona Waters, Jennifer's sister who is worried about her; and Dr. Cooper, the chief medical examiner who helps Scorcher and Richie with the forensic evidence.

The Themes: Obsession, Insanity, and Betrayal

Broken Harbor is not just a thrilling mystery novel, but also a profound exploration of some universal themes that resonate with the readers. Some of the main themes are:

  • Obsession: The book shows how obsession can drive people to do irrational and dangerous things, and how it can blind them to reality. For example, Patrick becomes obsessed with finding out what is behind the holes in the walls, and he spends hours watching the baby monitors and recording everything. Jennifer becomes obsessed with keeping up appearances and pretending that everything is fine, even when it is not. Scorcher becomes obsessed with solving the case and proving himself right, even when it puts him at odds with his partner and his boss.

  • Insanity: The book explores the thin line between sanity and insanity, and how it can be crossed by anyone under extreme circumstances. For example, Dina suffers from mental illness that makes her see things that are not there, and she tries to warn Scorcher about the dangers of Broken Harbor. Jennifer suffers from postpartum depression that makes her feel detached from her children and her husband. Patrick suffers from paranoia that makes him believe that someone is out to get him and his family.

  • Betrayal: The book reveals how betrayal can shatter trust and relationships, and how it can have devastating consequences. For example, Patrick betrays Jennifer by having an affair with a co-worker, and by hiding his financial troubles from her. Jennifer betrays Patrick by lying to him about her pregnancy, and by planning to leave him for another man. Scorcher betrays Richie by withholding information from him, and by accusing him of leaking details to the press.

The Style: A Masterful Blend of Suspense and Psychology

Another strength of Broken Harbor is its superb writing style that combines suspense and psychology in a masterful way. Tana French uses various techniques to create a gripping and immersive reading experience for the readers. Some of these techniques are:

  • First-person narration: The book is narrated by Scorcher in the first person, which allows the readers to get inside his head and see his thoughts and feelings. This also creates a sense of intimacy and authenticity, as well as unreliability, as Scorcher may not be telling the whole truth or may be biased by his own perspective.

  • Detailed descriptions: The book is full of vivid and realistic descriptions that bring the settings and the characters to life. For example, French describes Broken Harbor as "a half-finished ghost town surrounded by fields of rubble", which creates a contrast between the idealized vision of a luxury estate and the harsh reality of a failed project. She also describes the Spains' house as "a show home gone wrong", which reflects their superficial happiness and their hidden problems.

  • Dialogue: The book uses dialogue effectively to reveal the personalities and the relationships of the characters, as well as to advance the plot and create tension. For example, French uses dialogue to show the rapport and the conflict between Scorcher and Richie, as they exchange jokes, opinions, arguments, and secrets. She also uses dialogue to show the clues and the red herrings that emerge during the investigation Flashbacks: The book uses flashbacks effectively to reveal the backstory and the motives of the characters, as well as to create suspense and mystery. For example, French uses flashbacks to show Scorcher's childhood memories of Broken Harbor, where he spent a happy summer with his family before his mother's suicide. She also uses flashbacks to show Jennifer's diary entries, where she writes about her feelings and her plans.

The Reception: A Critical and Commercial Success

Broken Harbor was a critical and commercial success, receiving positive reviews and high ratings from critics and readers alike. Some of the accolades and achievements of the book are:

  • It was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Mystery & Thriller in 2012, and it received 3.95 stars out of 5 from over 95,000 ratings on Goodreads. [1]

  • It was awarded the Irish Crime Fiction Award in 2012, and it was listed in the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Books of the Year 20092013. [2] [4]

  • It was praised by The Guardian as "a tale about the different facets of obsession and insanity, and it winds up to a finale that is almost too distressing. The best yet of French's four excellent thrillers, it leaves its readers just like the Spains throat-deep in terror." [8]

  • It was hailed by The Washington Post as "a tour de force . . . one of the most talented crime writers alive." [9]

  • It was featured by The New York Times as "a complex and well-crafted psychological thriller." [10]

Conclusion: Why You Should Read Broken Harbor by Tana French

In conclusion, Broken Harbor by Tana French is a gripping and engrossing mystery thriller that will keep you hooked from the first page to the last. It is a book that offers more than just a whodunit, but also a deep and insightful exploration of human nature, society, and culture. It is a book that will make you think, feel, and question your own assumptions and beliefs. It is a book that will challenge you, surprise you, and haunt you long after you finish it.

If you are a fan of crime fiction, or if you are looking for a captivating and immersive reading experience, you should definitely read Broken Harbor by Tana French. You will not regret it.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Broken Harbor by Tana French:

  • Do I need to read the previous books in the Dublin Murder Squad series before reading Broken Harbor?

No, you do not need to read the previous books in the series before reading Broken Harbor. Each book in the series features a different protagonist and a different case, and they can be read as standalone novels. However, if you want to get a better understanding of the characters and their backgrounds, you may want to read the previous books in order.

  • Is Broken Harbor based on a true story?

No, Broken Harbor is not based on a true story. However, it is inspired by some real-life events and issues that occurred in Ireland during the economic crisis of 2008-2012. For example, the ghost estate of Broken Harbor is based on some of the unfinished housing developments that were abandoned after the housing bubble burst. The financial difficulties and the psychological pressures that the Spains faced are also reflective of some of the challenges that many Irish families faced during that time.

  • What is the meaning of the title Broken Harbor?

The title Broken Harbor has multiple meanings and layers in the book. On one level, it refers to the name of the housing development where the crime took place, which was originally called Brianstown but was renamed by Scorcher's father as Broken Harbor after his mother's suicide. On another level, it refers to the broken dreams and hopes of the Spains and other families who moved there expecting a better life but ended up in a nightmare. On yet another level, it refers to the broken relationships and trust between the characters, as well as their broken sense of self and reality.

  • What is the significance of the holes in the walls?

The holes in the walls are one of the most mysterious and intriguing elements of the book. They are the source of Patrick's obsession and paranoia, as he believes that they are hiding something or someone that is threatening his family. They are also the source of Emma and Jack's curiosity and fear, as they hear noises and voices from them. They are also the source of Scorcher and Richie's confusion and frustration, as they try to figure out what they mean and how they relate to the crime. The holes in the walls symbolize the cracks and gaps in the Spains' lives, as well as the secrets and lies that they kept from each other.

  • What is the message of Broken Harbor?

Broken Harbor has many messages and themes that can be interpreted in different ways by different readers. However, one possible message of the book is that nothing is as it seems, and that appearances can be deceiving. The book shows how people can create illusions and delusions to cope with their problems, but also how these illusions and delusions can backfire and destroy them. The book also shows how people can be influenced and manipulated by their environment, their history, and their emotions, but also how they can resist and overcome them. The book ultimately challenges the readers to question their own perceptions and assumptions, and to seek the truth behind the surface.



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