Release Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Minotaur Books
In the sleepy British seaside town of Broadchurch, Detective Ellie Miller has just returned from vacation, only to learn that she’s been passed over for a promotion at work in favor of outsider Alec Hardy. He, escaping the spectacular failure of his last case, is having trouble finding his way into this tight-knit community wary of new faces. But professional rivalry aside, both detectives are about to receive some terrible news: 11-year-old Danny Latimer has been found murdered on the beach.
For Ellie it's a personal blow; Danny was her older son’s best friend. She can’t believe anyone in Broadchurch would ever have harmed him. But Alec considers everyone, even Danny’s parents, suspect in his death. It’s a living nightmare for everyone involved…even before the press arrive and start stirring up the secrets every town member keeps hidden behind closed doors.
An intimate portrait of a town and the ordinary grievances that have slowly simmered for years before boiling over in an unthinkable crime, this remarkable adaptation of the hit television show Broadchurch tells the story of a shattered family, a reeling town, and the two imperfect detectives trying to bring them answers.(courtesy of Goodreads)
I don't usually read screen-to-book adaptations. At least not since devouring the book adaptation of My Girl fifty times when I was about 11 and had a crush on Macaulay Culkin. I loved the British television series Broadchurch - now remade in the US as Gracepoint. I came to it because I will watch anything with David Tennant in it, but I stayed for the riveting story. Despite knowing who-dunnit, I have gone back and watched the series twice and will probably do it again. It is layered and beautiful and the acting is superb.
I came to this book adaptation with understandable skepticism. Could it capture the intangible "it" factor of the television show? To my surprise, it did. In fact, it made me love the television series even more. I rewatched the show as I was reading the book, because I just had to "see" while I read.
First question: Can you read this without watching the show? I'd say no. Having the visual and auditory memories of the show in my head as I read it clarified a lot of the emotions of the prose, which felt a little flat on its own. On the other hand, I've read numerous reviews of people who read the book without watching the show and loved it.
The best part of this book is that it added things to the TV show. Not major scenes, although there are a few that weren't in the TV show. It allowed me to understand the characters' thoughts better. Most notably, a few of the killer's motivations that weren't spelled out in the show. The book follows the show very closely, but a few things are said at different times or happen in different order. It's not so much that the book has more time to explore things - in fact, I thought the book was a little rushed as opposed to the show. More of the differences in how things work on screen versus the page.
If you loved Broadchurch, you must read the novelized version. The book makes the show so much better and the show makes the book so much better. On its own, I'd say it's an okay book, but with the show, it becomes something special.