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
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?