Monday, August 18, 2014
Broadchurch by Erin Kelly
4.0 out of 5 stars -- I had no idea when I began reading this book that there was a BBC television series that I could watch! So, I had no preconceptions other than the basic plot premise and the fact that the novel is in the police procedural category and set in a small British West Bay town on the coast. The landscape of Dorset provides the cliffs, beach and sea that are extremely important aspects of the drama played out there when the body of 11 year old Danny Latimer is found one morning in summer season. The town in the book is known as Broadchurch.
DS Ellie Miller is recently returned to work from a family holiday when she is rudely denied an expected promotion and passed over for Detective Inspector by another whose reputation precedes him -- DI Alec Hardy. In a matter of moments, still reeling after that disappointment, she is thrust into a murder investigation when the call comes to the police station about Danny's body. Ellie is shaken because Danny is her son's best friend and the son of her own girlfriend, Beth. The Latimers and Millers were a tight group and the town is close knit. Without any immediate suspects or clues, Ellie can't believe that anyone she knows could have committed this murder. The extremely well plotted investigation proceeds from there and involves many of the townspeople whose secrets and lies are unearthed slowly but surely. Red herrings are dangled as first one and then another comes under the scrutiny of DI Hardy and DS Miller. An unlikely partnership between personality and style on the opposite spectrum, Hardy and Miller are at odds with each other and with those whom they interrogate as they search for answers.
The characters are complex and well drawn; the narrative shifts in point of view revealing tantalizing snippets and details as the plot thickens. I thought every one was guilty -- and they were -- of something. Who knew the neighbors as well as they thought they did?
I can see where this would be a great show and I plan to get the DVDs and watch it as soon as possible. I really enjoyed the novel and the ending was perfect given the somber tone of the book. I'd like to read other books by this author. I will definitely be recommending this novelization to any who enjoy British crime novels.
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press (Minotaur Books) for the e-book ARC to review.