Broken Harbor by Tana French
Series: Murder Squad Series, 4
BROKEN HARBOR is the fourth book in the Murder Squad series that started off with the Edgar award winning novel, In the Woods (2007). The four novels are loosely connected and one can feel free to start anywhere in this series. Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy is a cop who likes high profile cases. He’s partnered with a rookie to investigate the murder of a family of four found murdered in their home in Brianstown, formerly known as Broken Harbor. That’s the basic premise but if you want more details you can read more about the plot description here. To cut to the chase, this book was okay but overall a disappointment for this reader.
Broken Harbor was a major disappointment for several reasons which I will try to explain. When compared to the other books this author has written, this novel’s structure was kind of a departure from the rest. Broken Harbor has kind of a gothic feel to it and is a more leisurely paced novel. That last element about the pacing is nothing new for Ms. French’s books. Her novels tend to be very long and verbose and deeply involved. One of the disappointments for me was my lack of engagement with the story. I thought the premise sounded great but the execution of it fell flat for me. I continued to stay disengaged as I kept turning the pages in this book. Continue reading
Give Us A Kiss by Daniel Woodrell
Setting: Ozark Mountains, USA
Daniel Woodrell labels his books as country noir. His novels take place out in the backcountry, in the heart of the Ozark mountains that’s geographically located between Missouri and Arkansas and extends further out to southeastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma. I’ve read that most of his stories tend to take place in the Missouri Ozarks. This one is set in the fictional town of West Table, Mo– twenty miles north of the Arkansas line, the “bulls-eye heart of the Ozarks.”
GIVE US A KISS introduces Doyle Redmond. He’s a ex-Marine and a published, unknown writer who comes from a family of outlaws. The story is told from his first person pov and is set somewhere around the 1980′s. Kansas lawmen with warrant in hand have been visiting the Redmonds daily, asking for the whereabouts of their son, Smoke. They’ve dispatched Doyle to go find him so he can cop a plea to stop the harassment.
Doyle steals his wife’s Volvo and heads out to the heart of the Ozarks where his big brother’s been hiding out with his girlfriend Big Annie and her daughter, Niagra (she’s named after a Marilyn Monroe flick) for two years. When he gets there, well, his purpose for coming gets tossed when Smoke offers him a chance to make some quick money. The story takes off from there.
This novel is short and a quick read. It was so compulsively readable that I read almost all in one sitting. This is a comical tale of sorts about the Redmond family and their heritage and their ties to the land. The town where the Redmonds grew up in have shops with a soda fountain where stores thrive without Wal-Mart. Everybody knows each other’s names. Being kin by blood is important especially when it comes to skirting the law. Like the Ozark mountains, the Redmonds tower instead of hunkering down. Continue reading
Taxi Driver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Sundays, I like to discuss movies – older and newer – in the genre of crime fiction and suspense. This week’s pick is Taxi Driver, starring Robert De Niro, written by Paul Schrader and directed by Martin Scorsese. The genre this film is said to belong to is psychological suspense. Taxi Driver is a powerful film that still has relevance. The movie is about a mentally disturbed 26 year-old ex-war vet who drives the streets of 1970′s New York as a taxi driver at night because he can’t sleep.
We gain whatever insight there is to know about Travis Bickle through his diary and through his few exchanges with other people. This is the heart of the movie to me. One of the many themes of this movie is about isolation and being powerless and unable to fit in. Bickle comes off as an oddity to most people (and me included). Travis lives a solitary life and everything that goes with it: no friends, plagued with social awkwardness and there’s a lack of connection to other people. Travis has strong opinions about the city and describes the people there as “scum.”
We watch as Travis morphs from a lonely man alienated and rejected by society through his failed relationship attempts with the beautiful Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) who he says with utter disappointment that she is “just like the rest” in being cold and distant. Failure prompts Travis into action. His mind becomes preoccupied with violent thoughts. He soon becomes focused on assassinating a presidential candidate and is driven to save a young prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster) from her captors. That’s basic premise of this movie. Continue reading
New finds (or not so new) of mostly American mysteries/suspense novels and all book descriptions are copied/pasted so off we go!
A new standalone from Johan Theorin – Asylum (UK, October 2012)
WHAT MAKES GOOD TURN TO EVIL? A dark passageway leads from the nursery to Saint Patricia’s asylum. Those who enter are innocents u children visiting their parents. Those inside are some of the most dangerous psychopaths in the country… Jan, a new employee at the nursery, has secrets that he must hide, whatever the cost. There’s his growing obsession with an asylum inmate, Alice Rami. And then there’s that fateful summer’s day in the forest nine years ago a day when a young boy went missing…