REVIEW Of Broadchurch: The Novel For The Broadchurch Beacon Blogger Tour

We are very honoured at to have been asked to take part in the Broadchurch Beacon Blogger Tour to celebrate the release of Broadchurch: The Official Novel this week.

At the start of the summer season in the fictional Dorset seaside town of Broadchurch, the body of eleven year old Danny Latimer is discovered on the picturesque beach at the foot of the imposing cliffs. It’s the beginning of a murder investigation, led by detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller, which threatens to tear the small community apart. So begins the TV phenomenon that held the country gripped in spring 2013. Broadchurch: The Official Novel is adapted from the award-winning ITV series and hits the shops on Thursday 14th August.

It’s a big ask to take a series as revered and beloved as hit drama Broadchurch and turn it into a book that will do justice to the on-screen experience. But fans of the show can rest assured. Series creator Chris Chibnall couldn’t have made a better choice when he approached acclaimed thriller writer Erin Kelly to take on the task. The author of The Poison Tree and The Sick Rose has embraced the emotional narrative and the complex array of characters that populate the fictional Dorset town and produced a story that leaps as expressively from the page as it originally did from millions of TV screens.

Writing in the present tense, Ms. Kelly allows the narrative a startling immediacy as first the shocking crime and then its after-effects unfold before the reader. What’s more is that the novel gives the reader the opportunity to experience events through the eyes of the protagonists and gain understanding of their thoughts, reactions and motivations and to learn more about their relationships to one another. Hardy’s underlying cynicism is underpinned by more detail about his past, with tantalising glimpses of his estranged family. Ellie’s initial irritation at the arrival of her new boss soon gives way to a shift in perspective as she starts to see her town and neighbours through his eyes. Seeing the murder of Danny from the viewpoint of his killer gives a chilling and uncomfortable closure. But the greatest insight is awarded to the character of Beth, Danny’s mother, with whom we ride the tumbling, battering tidal wave of grief and her struggle to accept that life for her, in so many ways, will never be the same again.

For readers who have already seen the drama, the novelisation has enough fresh insight to counter fears that its impact might be lessened through foreknowledge of the ending. It is actually very satisfying to take the journey to the big reveal again and pick out the clues that were missed first time around. Furthermore there is previously unseen material which series devotees will enjoy exploring, while the most emotional moments pull no less of a punch on paper than they do on screen. New visitors to the world of Broadchurch will discover a beautifully crafted traditional murder mystery with a fine array of well-realised suspects and a flawed anti-hero in Hardy. Either way, Broadchurch: The Official Novel is nothing less than a moving, thrilling and ultimately satisfying read. And it’s perfectly timed for the summer holiday season – just how many copies will be devoured beneath those iconic cliffs this year?

A last minute note: Erin Kelly has just revealed that the novel contains a cryptic clue to the second series of Broadchurch. So, for a mystery within the mystery look out for “ line quite early on in the book that won't make sense to anybody...” which Chris Chibnall asked to be included in the final draft.

With many thanks to The Crime Vault and the Little, Brown Book Group for inviting us to review the novel. We’re passing the Broadchurch Blogging Beacon for tomorrow on to Crime Time who will be featuring an exclusive guest blog by author Erin Kelly.

Broadchurch: The Novel is released in the UK on Thursday 14th August
For the paperback and Kindle click here 
For the audio download read by Carolyn Pickles (Maggie Radcliffe) click here

About the authors

Chris Chibnall is the creator, writer and executive producer of the award winning ITV drama, Broadchurch. He has also written for TV shows including Life On Mars, Law & Order:UK, Doctor Who and its spin-off, Torchwood. Chris's latest BBC1 drama, The Great Train Robbery, tells the story of the infamous 1963 British heist. He lives in Dorset with his family.

Erin Kelly is the author of the critically acclaimed psychological thrillers, The Poison Tree, The Sick Rose, The Burning Air and The Ties That BindThe Poison Tree was a bestselling Richard & Judy Book Club selection in 2010 and was adapted for the screen as a major ITV drama in 2012. Erin also works as a freelance journalist, writing for newspapers including The Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Mail as well as magazines including Red, Psychologies, Marie Claire and Elle. She lives in London with her family.