Welcome to my weekly review. This week I read what are for me “major” reads. That means they are long and intridate stories with lots of details, either character-wise or plot/activities. They are the kind of stories I become totally immersed into. I can’t think of anything else.
The first book I want to tell you about is Broken Harbor by Tana French. Broken Harbor is the old name for an Irish seaside village. Now it’s Brianstown, an upscale housing development begun when the Irish economy was up, and then abandoned by the developers when the recession hit. Now the few families living there are stuck with few options. At one of these houses the Spain family was discovered in a bloody and gruesome mess: the two children were dead in their beds and in the kitchen, in a pool of blood lies the dead father and a barely-alive mother.
Assigned to investigate the crime is one of the best detectives on the Dublin Murder Squad, Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy. Scorcher is also asked to take on a new partner, Richie Curran, who is a rookie in the Murder Squad. For me, one of the most interesting parts of this story was the relationship between these two detectives. Scorcher gives Richie an in-depth tutorial on investigating a murder, although Richie has a really good natural feel for the right way to handle people.
Tana French’s story development is simply amazing. She gives her readers a deep look at the psychology of all her characters, an examination of how the vagaries of society effect the people, a mystery that is obvious until its suddenly not and a certain touch to the story that says this has to be an Irish tale. There are so many different parts to this story. It’s not just about the victims and the mystery of what happened in that house. We alsodr learn the details about what drives the two detectives, especially the personal life of Scorcher and his past connections to Broken Harbor.
Broken Harbor is Book #4 in The Dublin Murder Squad series. I think book is best “read” in audiobook. You can’t beat those Irish accents if you want to get all that Irish flavor.
I also read In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen. Maybe it’s the time period — World War II — or the setting — the English countryside, but I just loved the “feel” of this novel. I hated it when it ended. The publisher’s description of this story is so good that I’m going to take the easy way here and share it with you:
World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.
The characters had an old-fashioned goodness to them that reminded me of people in my childhood. They were decent peopled, but still with plenty of flaws. I also liked that we saw the mystery of the dead parachutist from a variety of perspectives — from the two twelve-year-olds who discovered the body to the aristocrats to the servants and villag people as well as the government soldiers and spies. The story was so well told and extremely satisfying — all the way to the end.
Thanks to Kay at Kay’s Reading Life for recommending this book and Rhys Bowen. I can’t wait to read more of this author. (I actually have several lined up right now.) So take Kay’s and my advice and find In Farleigh Field.
And in my non-rereading life . . .
This past month I
have enjoyed been obsessed with all the college basketball games – up until my alma mater, Kansas, lost in the elite eight. The crying is over and I’m moving on. I’m actually going to switch my allegiance to Oregon since my eldest daughter and her family live in Oregon. Yes, Oregon did beat Kansas, but I’m on my way to Oregon tomorrow so I’ll root for that local team. I’m not really dis-loyal. I just love basketball. It all comes down to this weekend and the Final Four. Happy Hoops, everyone!