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The Secret Place by Tana French
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The Secret Place (2014)

by Tana French

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1,8801296,123 (3.85)198
"The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls' boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin's Murder Squad--and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. "The Secret Place," a board where the girls at St. Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why. But everything they discover leads them back to Holly's close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique--and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen's links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda's will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly's father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined." --… (more)
  1. 10
    Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Both books deal with the death of a teenage boy and private boarding schools in Ireland.
  2. 00
    Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (sarahx2012)
    sarahx2012: Similar elements of mystery, plus a focus on what teenage girls are capable of.
  3. 00
    Dare Me by Megan Abbott (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Teenage girls are more dangerous than you think.
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» See also 198 mentions

English (128)  German (1)  All languages (129)
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
I've just read Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad books back-to-back. Hugely talented author, although her work is gritty and dark, and not my usual reading fare, I've enjoyed this series of gripping crime novels. Disappointed that her next book is stand-alone, and not continuing the stories of the Dublin detectives. Here's a brief review of each of the books:

In The Woods 3* A well-written, realistic and gritty psychological crime thriller set in Dublin. What I loved about the book: Beautiful use of language; rich descriptions, complex characters and intriguing plot, although I correctly guessed the main villain early. What I disliked about the book: too often the main protagonist (Detective Rob/Adam Ryan) acted, thought and sounded like a teenage girl (throughout the book I was fully aware that I was reading from a male point of view as written by a female author); also, I prefer more resolution and less melancholy in the endings to the novels I read for relaxation (I want reassurance that good will triumph, even if only between the pages of a book.) However, once I started IN THE WOODS, I read compulsively until the end - there's an edge to it that keeps you reading long after midnight.

The Likeness 3* Fast paced, tense and fascinating glimpse into the life of an undercover cop, and how dangerously seductive living a false life can be.

Faithful Place 4* As Frank Mackey learns we can never escape our past; the bonds of family ties are inextricably wound up in our own psyches, affecting our choices and our perspective. French's descriptions add depth to great characterisations.

Broken Harbour 3* The incredible psychological insight into Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy is so well done, turning him from an unlikable character in "Faithful Place" to a deeply wounded hero, tightly controlled and overly responsible. Brilliant and poignant characterisation. Unfortunately, the entirely gratuitous and extremely detailed description of the autopsies destroyed my enjoyment of the book. Also, the pace slowed in the middle - the hunt for Patrick Spain's animal went on for too long and became repetitive. However, worth reading for the insight into Detective Kennedy.

The Secret Place 5* Sheer brilliance. The juxta-positioning of the school children's lives building up to the murder and Detectives Moran & Conway's hunt for the killer was perfectly balanced. The tentative burgeoning of the professional relationship between Moran and Conway added depth. The last chapter was a great twist.

The Trespasser 4* We're back with Detectives Conway and Moran, this time from Conway's perspective. Hard-core and prickly, she makes it difficult to like her although her professional commitment is admirable. We come to know (and like) her better as she allows herself to become more vulnerable and trusting in the partnership with Moran as they work on a case which builds towards an excruciating moral dilemma: do they choose loyalty or truth?

Throughout the Dublin Murder Squad novels, French's world perspective is dark and bleakly realistic. I prefer books that are less nihilistic in outlook; that I couldn't stop reading this series is indicative of French's talent as a story-teller. ( )
  JudyCroome | May 30, 2020 |
I received an advanced galley of this through Penguin's First to Read program.

If you were disappointed by "Broken Harbor" and hoping this one would be better...Tana French is back. ( )
  ChristopherSwann | May 15, 2020 |
Familiar characters in this book again come together to solve a murder in a private school. I like the way French weaves her stories, including characters that we have read about in previous books. Sometimes characters have been only minor players but come forward to play a major role in the next book. This story spotlights the intense loyalty and idealism of teen friendships and friendship groups.
Most of the action in this book takes place over the course of one day with flashbacks over the past year and a half.

Characters:
Stephen Moran
Holly and Francis Mackey
Detective Antoinette Conway ( )
  Jeanene_KP | Apr 6, 2020 |
In French's first book, [In the Woods], she layered the police procedural and mystery with an element of the supernatural, and never makes it clear whether something otherworldly is going on or whether it's just in the narrators heads. She returns to that kind of story with this novel, focusing on four girls who dedicate themselves to each other so wholly as friends that something special starts to happen around them. The book isn't as good as the previous ones, and there is some surprisingly and unfortunate negative female stuff - not what I'd expect from a female author. But I still like the series enough to keep reading. ( )
  blackdogbooks | Mar 1, 2020 |
I'm actually a big fan of the Dublin Murder Squad, but this time I wasn't really warm with the story.
The story switches between then and now. A boy was murdered. At the girls' boarding school, a note suddenly appears' I know who did it '. The investigators are dealing with eight pubescent girls. Not easy, because there is a big cat fight among the young women. On the one hand there is a group of four who want to protect each other and on the other hand there is a group of four with a boss and three who only say what their boss wants. Investigators try bad cops good cops and so get the girls out of their secrets. ( )
  Ameise1 | Feb 28, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
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For Dana, Elana, Marianne and Quynh Giao,
Who luckily were nothing like this.
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There's this song that keeps coming on the radio, but Holly can only ever catch bits of it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.

Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. “The Secret Place,” a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

But everything they discover leads them back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships
that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen’s links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda’s will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly’s father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined.
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