Mini-reviews: The Human Factor by Graham Greene and Broken Harbor by Tana French

Title: The Human Factor
Author: Graham Greene
Genre: Spy thriller
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: Castle, ever since he had joined the firm as a young recruit more than thirty years ago, had taken his lunch in a public house behind St. James’s Street, not far from the office.

I couldn’t find a plot synopsis for this one that didn’t give away too much. Since this is a Graham Greene book, here’s what to expect: realistically flawed humans, gorgeous writing, and a not-very-optimistic look at human nature. This is a spy thriller in which the nature of good guys vs. bad guys is all turned upside down and sideways. People do the wrong thing for the right reason – or very wrong things for simply no reason at all. It was a page-turner, and the ending was very sad.

Title: Broken Harbor
Author: Tana French
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Viking Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the library
First line: Let’s get one thing straight: I was the perfect man for this case.

Goodreads blurb: Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy, the brash cop from Tana French’s bestselling Faithful Place, plays by the book and plays hard. That’s what’s made him the Murder squad’s top detective—and that’s what puts the biggest case of the year into his hands.

On one of the half-built, half-abandoned “luxury” developments that litter Ireland, Patrick Spain and his two young children are dead. His wife, Jenny, is in intensive care.

At first, Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, think it’s going to be an easy solve. But too many small things can’t be explained. The half dozen baby monitors, their cameras pointing at holes smashed in the Spains’ walls. The files erased from the Spains’ computer. The story Jenny told her sister about a shadowy intruder who was slipping past all the locks.

And Broken Harbor holds memories for Scorcher. Seeing the case on the news sends his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family one summer at Broken Harbor, back when they were children.

Ah, Tana French! If anyone’s book deserves a full review, it is hers, but I’m in the middle of moving, so this is all I have time for. I loved Scorcher and his voice – again, I was amazed at how different each of her books are! She writes in first person from a different character’s point of view every time, and each one has their own unique way of telling their story. This mystery kept me guessing until almost the very end, and once I reached the last hundred pages, I neglected packing and sleep in order to find out how everything turned out. If you haven’t read Tana French yet, what on earth are you waiting for?

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20 Responses to Mini-reviews: The Human Factor by Graham Greene and Broken Harbor by Tana French

  1. So true about Tana French! But so true also about the time constraints of moving! LOL

  2. irene says:

    I generally love the same books as you, but I was so disappointed in the A Faithful Place, I haven’t ventured into Tana’s books again, but may this time.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Irene – that’s the cool thing about all of her books being different – you might like this one!

  3. bermudaonion(Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    I really do want to start the Tana French books – everyone loves them!

  4. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    Every book makes me fall under her spell. And I’ve only read one in print (In the Woods) and the rest on audio, because they are some of the best audios I’ve ever heard. It is certainly worth it to wait around to get them and not give in to print. I was listening to this one when I went to SIBA so it was hard to get time, and it drove me nuts. (I pray for you to get through this move ASAP!!!)

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sandy – I have done all of hers in print – my library simply doesn’t get that many audiobooks – but I hope to do an audio of hers someday!

  5. Both books sound so good. I loved French’s first book but still haven’t managed to squeeze in her other books. I am glad to hear it was so good!

  6. Michelle says:

    I really need to get going on the rest of Tana French’s novels. That seems to be the motto of my life these days.

  7. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads

    I can’t believe I haven’t yet read French. I’ll remedy one of these days.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Candace – I bet most of us have several authors that are on our “I must get to that!” list.

  8. susan says:

    yeah what am I waiting for? I would like to read her In the Woods someday soon. Is that her best one?

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Susan – I’m not sure if it’s her best one, but it’s certainly her most polarizing! It’s my least favorite of hers, because she leaves one of the mysteries unresolved. Some reviewers called it “courageous,” but I found it frustrating. I think my favorite of hers is The Likeness, with Broken Harbor in second, and Faithful Place in third – but all really close. 🙂

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  10. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads

    I really need to read Broken Harbour. Once I start her books I always enjoy them!

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