Review: The Secret Place

September 23, 2014 Whitney Review 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Secret PlaceThe Secret Place by Tana French
Series: Dublin Murder Squad #5
Published by Viking on September 2, 2014
Genres: Mystery
Source: Netgalley

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.

Fond of:

Not only do we get one returning character, but three.  Stephen, Holly, and Frank Mackey are older and smarter than they were the last time we met.  I loved seeing their development and the stubbornness all three took on.  Like In The Woods, where a teen is the focus and inevitable culprit I really liked the daring  all eight girls provided, giving a Rhoda Penmark/Bed Seed vibe to it.  Also, I enjoyed that parts of The Secret Place were told in flashback, precipitated with “Chris Harper has x month/week/days to live.  Through these segments leading up to the murder, the reader got a fuller view of the goings on at St. Kilda’s.

Not Fond of:

All eight girls were caddy Lindsey Lohans and got a little tired of hearing the word “Awesomesauce”.  Antoinette Conway, while she exhibits a badass I can do anything as good or better than men, she seemed a little incompetent.  She spent a year with Chris Harper’s murder as an open case, Stephen Moran comes on the scene and solves it in less than 24 hours.  Don’t get me wrong, I wanted Stephen to succeed, but if I had to listen to “I can’t believe I missed that” one more time…

Final Thoughts:

My kindle’s battery died with 30 minutes left to read and I annoyingly had to charge it for an hour.  By saying this, it exposes that I was so engrossed in The Secret Place that I lost all track of time and did not want to be interrupted for anything.  The Secret Place is a thrillingly good read that will take your head for a spin.



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