The story is set in the fictional town of Broadchurch, a small town in Dorset. The town is a close-knit touristy type town on the English coast. The story begins with the murder of an 11-year old boy.
Detective Inspector Alec Hardy is brought in to run the investigation. Detective Sargent Ellie Miller is not pleased as she had hoped for (and been promised) the promotion herself. DI Hardy is brusque and unapproachable. He is fresh off of an unsolved criminal investigation of a young girl’s murder in Sandbrook. Hardy refuses to talk about Sandbrook much to the dismay of a persistent and annoying reporter who reported on the Sandbrook murder and is determined to bring Hardy down in Broadchurch.
The town begins to fall apart in its shock and grief, and neighbors turn on each other. There are several suspects as the investigation moves along. As Hardy investigates and eliminates suspects, he begins to have health issues. DS Miller resents his attempts to mold her into a detached and objective investigator (like he is) as she knows everyone in town and refuses to stop trusting her friends and neighbors.
I really enjoyed this book. I normally don’t read (or watch) crime dramas. As I read, I immersed myself in the town and its culture. I never figured out who committed the murder. It was a complete surprise to me when it was revealed.
I, of course, knew of the TV series, and as I read, I could picture David Tennant as Hardy and Olivia Colman as Miller. They fit the parts well. I am now watching the show on Netflix and have seen the first few episodes. The book was true to the script, and it provides additional details beyond the show. I think if you like the series, you will enjoy the book. I certainly did.