Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy is a straight, strictly by the book veteran detective of the Dublin Murder Squad with an impressive record of solved cases. Scorcher felt certain he was the right person to bring one of the biggest murder cases to cross his desk to a satisfying conclusion. When the bottom fell out of the real estate market, Broken Harbor like many housing developments across Ireland, sat half finished leaving luxury homes scattered over a damaged landscape. Patrick and Jennifer Spain appeared to be the perfect couple; they bought a palatial big home in Broken Harbor, had two sweet kids, entertained frequently and were happy with their lives. All that changed when Patrick lost his job and then slowly but surely, lost his grip on reality as well. Jennifer meanwhile, worked tirelessly to maintain the appearance of a happy home while providing a stable environment for their two children. When the Patrick and two kids are discovered dead and Jennifer barely alive after a gruesome multiple murder, an old friend is held responsible but as Scorcher knows all too well, looks are deceiving and betrayal can be found in the most unlikely places.
Unlike Faithful Place that took the perspective of Frank Mackey, French’s latest mystery thriller takes Kennedy’s point of view, revealing him to be a much more complex man. Kennedy has his own bad memories centering on events that took place in Broken Harbor when he was a teenager and there was a caravan park there instead of a housing development. His sister Dina is less then mentally stable and news of the Broken Harbor murders sends her into a tailspin which only adds to Kennedy’s emotional burden. Getting to the bottom of the Spain family murders will take everything Kennedy has and compromise his ideals like no other case. Psychology, mental illness and economic crisis add up to a powerful, compelling read in French’s very capable hands.