Updated: December 2019: Nothing more to add except this was a great read! I just re-read since I finished up French's "The Witch Elm" and that book had me missing the Dublin Murder Squad. This book really does knock you in the teeth with a great ending I did not see coming.
What a great installment in the Dublin Murder Squad. I didn't like Scorcher in the last book, but loved him here. It makes you sad that he was thinking of a long time partner and wanting that connection with someone and realizing he wasn't going to get it. I honestly don't have any criticism of this book. I think a lot of people may not like Scorcher, but honestly this book helps you understand him a lot. I think he may be my second favorite character after Rob.
"Broken Harbor" is about the faces you present to the outside world and what's going on beneath. Scorcher has a connection to Broken Harbor, his family used to spend summer holidays there. Something tragic happened to Scorcher when he was a teenager that still ripples in his life today. Being called out to a murder investigation there leads a potential that it will negatively affect his younger sister Dina. Trying to juggle a new detective (Curran) and his family obligations, you can see why Scorcher keeps such a tight control of himself.
A family of four is found assaulted with one member of the family barely alive. Scorcher and his partner Curran go in deep on the picture perfect family to see what was going on below the surface.
There's reference to the last case with Mackey and now I feel like he was even more of a jerk when you see how that case impacted Scorcher.
His relationship with his sister Dina was hard to read about. He and his sister Geri are eventually going to have to make some hard decisions there. The book ends with Scorcher just accepting what this case has done to him and what he's going to have to do next.
What gets me is that Scorcher is lonely. He's protective of both of his sisters and takes a certain pride that Geri's life looks perfect. With the latest murder case he has a chance to show someone the ropes, but also starts to see why so many people in partnerships in the murder squad do very well. The best parts for me were reading how in synch he and Curran we're becoming and how both of them were learning from each other. However the story begins with knowing something with this case goes wrong, it just takes us a while to get there.
The writing was great. I felt for mostly every character. The flow was good too and you get to read about the hard work of a murder investigation and how it impacts you when children are involved.
The setting of Ireland during the recession reads as an almost broken country. Most people are broke and or about to lose their homes. Broken Harbor reads as perfect from afar until you get up close and see the empty homes. Even homes with people living there know they are on borrowed time and the shoddiness of the construction is impacting things as well. It's about two years since the events of "Faithful Place". We hear references to Mackey, but don't see him in this book.
The ending leaves Scorcher adrift. I hope there's some references to him in the next book.