Broadchurch aired as a British Crime drama in the UK in 2013, a labour of love from the creator, Chris Chibnall, who aim was to create a big ensemble drama which concentrated on what happens to a community when a death happens within its midst, particularly when that death is that of a child.
Now, I didn’t watch this drama, I’m often slow on the uptake and before I was even aware of it, the show was halfway through, but I know it was big with those millions of viewers avidly discussing the twists and turns. So why did I chose to read the book? Mainly because it is written by one of my favourite authors Erin Kelly but also because a little bit of me felt like I missed out. So this review is probably one of the few you will read that makes no comparison to the series.
Set in Dorset the book starts with a brief introduction to the Latimer household along with the introduction to Detective Inspector Alec Hardy who has been relocated for mysterious reasons to Broadchurch where he now holds the position which Ellie Miller had hoped would be hers. With the death of Danny Latimer the whole town suspect each other of the murder while the police battle to find the truth and the media battle to tell the best story.
I think this is the first time that I have read a book based on a TV series, it usually works the other way around, and in the early chapters it did feel like a different type of reading experience and I could clearly imagine a silent shoot of a darkened town in the following description.
The church on the hill is unlit, the rich jewel colours of its stained-glass windows dulled to a uniform satin black. A weathered poster reading LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF flaps uselessly from the parish noticeboard.
Obviously this tale has an incredibly strong plot and what Erin Kelly has done is translate this into a great read, handling the sheer number of characters alone must have been quite a task and she does it magnificently. This is a clear-sighted read, with the language used to conjure up the fear in the town flawless, the grief of the Latimer’s acute and the actions of those with secrets to keep gently exposed. I’m fairly sure that the roots to the dry humour were present in the show but the author has managed to translate all those looks into inspired words which say so much
Grief is like a splinter deep into every fingertip; to touch anything is torture.
although at times the feeling that you are watching the action from afar is more acute
With trade so slow, you’d think she’d be falling over herself to look after the few customers she has. What’s Becca looking at that’s more important than her business?
There are so many themes of grief, secrets, love and trust that at times this was an emotional read, I have to confess shedding a few tears at one point which rarely happens when reading and it is even rarer while reading crime fiction. There really is something for everyone in this book as well as a being a big fat juicy whodunit.
This has my wholehearted recommendation, I will definitely make sure I watch the next series and for those of you who are Broadchurch aficionados apparently there is a clue to the second series early on it this book, I missed it but apparently if you know the show well there is a line that doesn’t fit.
I’d like to say an enormous thank you to The Little Brown Book Group UK for my copy of this book in return for my honest opinion; it’s a brilliant read! Broadchurch is due to be published on 14 August 2014