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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Based-On-TV-Series Mystery Novel Tells Fuller, More Compelling Story

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When the dead body of an 11-year-old boy is found on the beach in the sleepy, seaside hamlet of Broadchurch, it rocks the small Dorset community to its core.  Danny Latimer had grown up in the town, was well known by many.  Did he purposely jump off the cliffs in order to end his own life?  Did he fall?  Was he pushed?  These are the questions that haunt Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller.  For her, it's a very personal case—Danny was her son's best friend.  Ellie knows the Latimers well.  Their grief pierces her to the soul.

Ellie's keen to solve the case, knowing closure will do the Latimers a world of good.  She's not thrilled, however, when a brusque outsider—Detective Inspector Alec Hardy—is brought in to help the local police investigate Danny's death.  Not only does DI Hardy harbor his own secrets, but he's certain the good folks of Broadchurch keep plenty of their own.  He's not wrong.  As the detectives pummel Ellie's friends, neighbors, and acquaintances for answers, she's shocked by what they uncover.  Someone killed Danny.  Someone from Broadchurch.  Who would do such a thing?  And why?  As the Latimers slowly fall apart, it's up to Ellie—their friend and confidante—to figure out what really happened to their little boy.  The truth will bring an already outraged town to its knees.  It always does when the monster is one of your own ...

You may have heard of Broadchurch, a British crime drama that ran on ITV for three seasons starting in 2013.  Starring David Tennant (best known as the Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who) as DI Hardy and Olivia Colman as Ellie, the series is available to view on Netflix.  Interestingly, Broadchurch the show is not based on Broadchurch the novel, but the other way around.  This is so odd because, to me, the latter is much better than the former.  Perhaps this simply has to do with my preference for print over film, but Broadchurch by Erin Kelly tells a much fuller story than the t.v. version.  In fact, if I hadn't read the book first I think I would have been a bit lost watching the series as its filmed in an artsy way with a choppy storyline and lots of moody, melodramatic scenes that offer more in the way of creativity than clarity.   Still, both versions are complex, compelling, and well-plotted.  The twists mostly caught me off-guard.  As did the identity of the murderer.  I did not see it coming at all.  While I always like a small-town-with-big-secrets story, some are more disturbing than others.  I'm not going to lie—Broadchurch was difficult to read (and watch) at certain points.  It's depressing.  And the ending made me sick to my stomach, truth be told.  Overall, though, the book's an engrossing page turner that I had trouble putting down even when I really, really wanted to.  I'll definitely look for more of Kelly's work at my local library.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. It's so weird when books are written based on a movie or tv show. At least in my opinion it is. And books are always better. They just have the ability to be more detailed. I'm intrigued by the show now, though.

    1. I think this is the first book I've ever read that was based on a t.v. show. Weird.

  2. So, is this based on the first season of Broadchurch? We watched that, but I've not watched the second season.

    1. The first two seasons. The third season deals with a case that D.I. Hardy is involved in before he comes to Broadchurch. It's referred to in the book, but not solved. In the third season of the show, that case is solved as well.


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