Book Review: The Secret Place by: Tana French

Publisher: Viking Adult

Publication Date: September 2, 2014

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: 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.

The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.

Series: Dublin Murder Squad

Review: One year ago, Chris Harper was murdered on the grounds of St. Kilda’s School, an all-girls Irish boarding school. Now Detective Stephen Moran, of Cold Cases, gets a clue in the form of a postcard with Chris’s picture which says “I know who killed him”. The postcard is brought to him by an old acquaintance, Holly Mackey, who is a student at St. Kilda’s. Moran brings the postcard and the story to Homicide Detective Antoinette Conway who grudgingly agrees to work with Moran. What they find keeps drawing them back to Holly, her friends, and a rival clique. Together, Moran and Conway must wade through the secrets, lies, and detritus of teenage life in order to find a killer. THE SECRET PLACE is a masterful mystery, delving into the delicate psychology of teenagers. The setting and atmosphere add to the suspense. THE SECRET PLACE will haunt your senses and ensnare your mind. Plus I got to learn some new slang words!

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