“An absolutely mesmerizing read. . . . Tana French is simply this: a truly great writer.” —Gillian Flynn
Read the New York Times bestseller by Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Hunter and “the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years” (The Washington Post).
A year ago a boy was found murdered at a girlsʼ boarding school, and the case was never solved. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to join Dublin’s Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey arrives in his office with a photo of the boy with the caption: “I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.” Stephen joins with Detective Antoinette Conway to reopen the case—beneath the watchful eye of Holly’s father, fellow detective Frank Mackey. With the clues leading back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends, to their rival clique, and to the tangle of relationships that bound them all to the murdered boy, the private underworld of teenage girls turns out to be more mysterious and more dangerous than the detectives imagined.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The fifth book in Irish crime writer Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series revolves around the cold case of a murdered teenage boy discovered on the grounds of a posh girls’ school. Dazzlingly written and richly atmospheric, The Secret Place is a nail-biting affair. French crafts a winning police detective duo: kindly Stephen Moran tries his best to build a rapport with the aloof girls at the heart of the mystery, while Antoinette Conway goes to great lengths to prove herself as tough as her macho peers.
In French's mesmerizing fifth Dublin Murder Squad mystery (after 2012's Broken Harbor), Det. Stephen Moran, who works in the cold-case unit, is biding his time until he can make the Murder Squad. When 16-year-old Holly Mackey, a colleague's daughter, shows up with a clue to an old crime, Moran sees his chance. A student at St. Kilda's boarding school, Holly vividly remembers the previous year's murder of Chris Harper, a popular teen from Colm's, the neighboring boys' school. From the St. Kilda's personal notice board known as the Secret Place, Holly brings Moran a photo of Chris with the words "I know who killed him" pasted across his chest. Moran joins forces with the murder squad's feisty Det. Antoinette Conway, and the pair visit the school, setting off a chain of events that ensnares Holly and her three best mates. French stealthily spins a web of teenage secrets with a very adult crime at the center.
Interesting characters but long
This book had interesting characters but the story involved many interviews and little action. It could have been shortened by a considerable amount to hold interest. It just seemed too long and slow. I really enjoyed the precursor to this story, The Faithful Place, with some of the same characters, so this was a bit disappointing.
Good, too long
I enjoy Tana French’s writing. Like so many mystery authors now, the last five chapters are unnecessary filler, I assume to meet a word quota? Just when the story should ramp up, it devolves into back story, redundant explanations, and a list of adjectives. If you page through and just read dialogue, it’s a serviceable ending.
Tana French, brilliant again
Great mystery. But even better, this is writing that is lyrical and strong, with characters who are complex and compelling, traveling across moments that almost bring you to tears with their poignancy and poetry. Highly recommended.