Broadchurch by Erin Kelly and Chris Chibnall

broachchurchBroadchurch by Erin Kelly and Chris Chibnall

Minotaur Books, September 2014

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.

I decided to read the novelization of the series Broadchurch because I haven’t seen the TV version and had heard good things. In some ways it was a very good book and story, and in other ways it didn’t quite take off for me.

I’m pretty picky about books about murdered children: I often give them a pass. Broadchurch involves the death of eleven year old Danny, who lives next door to Detective Ellie Miller, who expects to lead the investigation until returning from vacation to find out that the promotion she anticipated was given to an outsider, Detective Alec Hardy, who was responsible for botching a child murder trial some time before. Miller and Hardy are both interesting and troubled characters to varying degrees, and their stories are interesting because they are dealing with such a harrowing case.

But my main concern about the book was that absolutely every character had a very sad or troubled backstory, and it was a bit overwhelming an approach to the town and its residents.  I think it may be a difference between the book and the filmed version: the novelization is a lot more in the characters’ heads than the show was, I presume.

Finally, because the book took place in such a small resort town, it was sort of easy to figure out who did it by process of elimination. The conclusion was a bit of a letdown, and it made me remember this interesting post about the original version of The Killing: the discussion about different investigative approaches was very illuminating.

Overall, this was an interesting read, but I’m not in a rush to watch the show now.

Other reviews appear in Cleopatra Loves Books and Crime Fiction Lover.

12 thoughts on “Broadchurch by Erin Kelly and Chris Chibnall

  1. Thanks for linking to my review. I thought the book was incredibly well written, even more so since I watched the series and I could compare the two. Great review, it certainly isn’t an uplifting read although I enjoyed the way the whole town was involved.

    • You’re welcome, and I’m glad you liked the series as well. I’ve been reading more than I’ve been watching TV lately so it’s still on my list. I definitely will space out the viewing because it’s a heavy story.

  2. Rebecca – I really do appreciate your candor about this. I’ll confess I’ve not seen the TV show or read the book. I agree with you that stories about child abduction/murders are hard for me unless they are very, very good. So not sure I’ll read this one. Still, it does sound solidly structured.

  3. Rebecca, coincidentally, I began to watch last night the first two episodes in Spanish TV Antena 3. It seemed to me a TV series well above average. Now, I’m looking for an undubbed version.

    • Hope you enjoy it, Jose Ignacio. With geographic restrictions it’s hard to tell where you can find an undubbed version: hope you find a source soon! BTW, I’m eagerly awaiting the end of September so I can watch Borgen series 2 here in the US.

  4. True. The topic is very difficult to bear. However, the TV episodes, spaced for one hour a week, was fine. I looked forward to it every week. It is bleak, even the scenery is bleak at times.

    Many people in that town have difficult, sad lives. That’s why there are enough red herrings in the series for a dinner party of 20. So many sad souls.

    But the acting by David Tennant and Olivia Coleman as the two detectives is terrific. (Tennant is one of the stars of the superb “The Escape Artist,” which every mystery lover should see.

    And the suspense builds well. It’s a TV series that should be seen. It’s quite a cut above most of those shown in the U.S. There is not gratuitous violence or gore. It’s a police investigation and psychological suspense tale, all of it done very well.

    • Thanks for the information about the series, Kathy. I just haven’t been watching many crime shows for months, but when I’m in the mood, I’ll put this at the top of my list.

  5. Maybe I will try the TV series and go from there, if I get the opportunity. We have such a backlog of TV series to watch that I hate to add any more right now, though. Thanks for more background on the series and the book.

    • I’ve heard lots of recommendations for the show, so I hope you like it. Realistically, I knew I’d be more likely to finish a book than a tv series because I can fit in reading in small bursts throughout the day. TV shows not so much!

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