Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “tana french”

sonk’s #CBR4 Review #36: The Likeness by Tana French

Detective Cassie Maddox is a recent transfer to the Domestic Violence unit of the Dublin police force after a horrific case in her old department (Homicide) shook her up so much that she needed to get out (this is the mystery in Into the Woods). She’s finally adjusting to her new position when she’s called to a murder scene in the countryside. The victim, a young woman, looks exactly like her. And to further complicate things, her I.D. identifies her as Alexandra Madison–the alter-ego Cassie created as an undercover cop at the beginning of her career.

I wasn’t kidding when I said Tana French is like crack to me. This was SO GOOD.

Read the rest of my review here.

sonk’s #CBR4 Review #34: Broken Harbor by Tana French

This book was AMAZING.

I love mysteries, but I hate the fact that they’re usually poorly-written or too obvious. I dig the really twisty mysteries, the ones that are scary and confusing and utterly engrossing. I was not expecting this to be one of those, but it turned out to be one of the best mysteries I’ve ever read.

This is actually book #4 of a series, but don’t worry about that–I hadn’t read the first three, and it doesn’t matter. The main characters are all different; they all just happen to work on the same police force. I was a little nervous about ruining the other books for myself, but as far as I can tell, it doesn’t make much of a difference what order you read them in.

Broken Harbor‘s protagonist is Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy, a detective in the homicide unit of Dublin’s police force. He’s arrogant, but rightfully so–he has an extremely high success rate, and prides himself on his ability to solve murders without letting his emotions get in the way. Along with his new partner, Richie, a rookie cop, he’s assigned to a case in the beach-side housing development of Brianstown, in which a man, his wife, and their two children were brutally attacked. Initially, the family seems picture-perfect, but Kennedy soon begins to discover things that indicate that all was not well, including dozens of holes in their walls, video-monitor baby cameras placed around the house. Kennedy must confront the most difficult case of his career while also dealing with his pain and emotions involving Brianstown–the town where his family used to vacation, back when it was known as Broken Harbor, and where tragedy struck when he was a young boy.

I just can’t express enough how fantastic this book is. I was guessing right up until the very end, which almost never happens–I can usually call a mystery about halfway through. French is masterful, creating a story that never feels implausible, even as it ramps up the creepiness and chaotic confusion. I was absolutely glued to the page, and literally could not put it down. I was sneaking reading breaks in at work because I just had to find out what happened. This book was like crack, and I loved every minute of it.

It’s genuinely scary–this was problematic, because I read much of it when I was babysitting and got super creeped out and paranoid–and SO well-written. This was literary genre fiction, something that you don’t find too often, and that I appreciated so much. It felt great to read a mystery without groaning at the cheesy dialogue or cringing at the author’s terrible writing. French is a brilliant author who just happens to write mysteries, and there should be more authors like her.

Go read this, now. It’s new, so the wait at the library might be long, but it’s definitely worth buying (I’m weird about buying books unless I’m pretty sure I’ll love them, so I didn’t buy this, but I should have).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to track down French’s other books and go on a reading binge.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 61 In The Woods by Tana French

I read Broken Harbour a few months ago and didn’t really enjoy it, but I got recommendations to read this book before giving up on Tana French.  I’m glad I followed those recommendations, because I enjoyed this book much better. The characters were more likeable or maybe there was less “backstory” to understand.

Overall this book was an excellent mystery and kept me on the edge of my seat.  I wish there was more discovered about the older case, but perhaps that is a future book for French.  The local town atmosphere played into the plot well. There was good dynamics between the main characters as well.  French’s writing style is similar between the two books.

Janel’s #CBR4 Review 44 Broken Harbour by Tana French

I’ve been interested in reading something by Tana French for a while.   Reading the description I thought the premise sounded interesting, but I felt Scorcher’s family plot line was a distraction.  Perhaps it would have been more interesting if I had read her earlier books.

It was interesting how the “suspect” was arrested half way through the boom versus near the end.  It made me wonder what was left to solve and the book was less like an Law & Order episode. Even so I was disappointed by the ending of the book. I am curious to read other books by French.

HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #31: Broken Harbour by Tana French

*I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Tana French’s Broken Harbour through a Goodreads giveaway.

Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series is fantastic, and Broken Harbour is no exception.  Mike “Scorcher” Kennedy may have been burned by Detective Frank Mackey in Faithful Place  when he tried ally with Mackey in hopes of  making a name for himself, but as the featured detective in this novel, he knocks it out of the park. When a family is brutally attacked in their home and the wife barely survives, Kennedy takes on the defining case of his career that  parallels his struggles with his bipolar sister.

Broken Harbour combined my favorite elements of French’s past novels.  Her mysteries are particularly fascinating because she narrows the field of suspects to two or three real suspects.  Here, French gives us an in depth character study of the husband, wife and their childhood friend.  You become emotionally invested in the potential suspects, and most importantly – this is no bait and switch.  There’s no random stranger or undiscovered evidence that comes in at the end and let’s everyone off the hook.  Someone you care about deeply about by the end of the story will be the killer, which only heightens the emotional impact.

Continue reading…

genericwhitegirl’s #CBR4 Review #7: The Likeness by Tana French

This is French’s second novel. I read her first book, In The Woods, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it was about. Apparently the main character in The Likeness, Cassie, was a primary character in her first book. That was totally lost on me. Fortunately, you don’t need to have read In The Woods to know what is going on in The Likeness.

The Likeness takes place in Ireland, where a Trinity college student has been found murdered in a cabin. Although Cassie Maddox works in the domestic violence unit, she is called back to work undercover on the Murder Squad for this case. We get hints of her previous time on the murder squad, which she left after nearly getting killed while undercover. Despite her hesitation, Cassie is drawn to this case, partially because she is bored with her current unit, and also because the victim bears a striking resemblance to herself. So much so, that Cassie is able to pose as the victim, Lexie, and continue Lexie’s life with her four unknowing roommates.

At its heart, this is a murder mystery, from the perspective of an undercover cop. We have the usual suspects, the not so usual suspects, and a lot of emotional baggage thrown in for many involved. The pace of the story is a bit slow. It took me several months to read the book – I would read it between other books. As the story evolved, I found myself more interested, but I can’t say I was entrenched in it. I wasn’t a fan of many of the main characters, either. Lexie’s four roommates are all Trinity College students, academics. And if you want to stereotype an academic (no TV, listening to old music no one’s ever heard of, peppering your conversations with literary references, blah blah blah) then you have that in this book. I was annoyed with the roommates’ pretentiousness. My apologies if you do any of these things, but trust me, it’s not to the extent as this lot. If it is, we’re probably not friends anyway.

So I guess I kinda have a meh feeling toward this book. It wasn’t horrible, but it is one I’ll probably quickly forget. If you have nothing else to read, it will do. But don’t go out of your way to buy it.

Check out The Blist to read more reviews by genericwhitegirl.

HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #16: Faithful Place by Tana French

Satisfying mysteries come in two flavors.  The first kind of engaging mystery is driven by the plot – the twists, turns and surprising character developments keep you guessing throughout the entire novel.  It’s like a brain teaser, or LSAT logic game, in reading form. The second kind of engaging mystery is plot driven, focusing heavily on the major characters, their backgrounds, their motivations and their particular circumstances.  All of Tana French’s novels, especially Faithful Place, fall into the second category.

Frank Mackey escaped his poor Irish neighborhood more than twenty years ago, abandoning his family to become an undercover cop after his high school girlfriend Rosie Daly left him a break up note the night they were supposed to run away together to a better life.  Or so he thought.  Twenty years later, Rosie’s suitcase turns up in the run down neighborhood building where Frank and Rosie were supposed to meet, and Frank sets in on figuring out what happened to Rosie, and whether or not she left him.


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