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This title in other editions

Other titles in the Dublin Murder Squad series:

The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad)

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The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad) Cover

ISBN13: 9780670026326
ISBN10: 0670026328
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New Favorite

Staff Pick

Tana French's talent for gorgeously crafted psychological mysteries shines in The Secret Place, the latest installment of her Dublin Murder Squad series. The narrative centers on the murder of a boy in the gardens of an exclusive girls' school, but its real drama is in the fraught relationships between teenage girls and the awkward partnership of the detectives working the case. French perfectly captures the slang and posturing of girls and cops alike, making every moment of the novel as engrossing as the whodunit.
Recommended by Rhianna Walton, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The sensational new novel from “one of the most talented crime writers alive” (The Washington Post).

The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, in 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-yearold 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 find leads them back to Holly's group of close-knit 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 Stephens 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 towards 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.

Review:

"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. Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary, TV & Film Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the United States, and Malawi. She is the author of In the Woods (winner of the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards), The Likeness, Faithful Place and Broken Harbor (winner of the Los Angeles Times prize for Best Mystery/Thriller). She lives in Dublin with her husband and two children.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

kalireads, September 7, 2014 (view all comments by kalireads)
Detective Frank Mackey’s daughter, Holly Mackey, has some bad luck where murder is concerned. We met her in Tana French‘s third Dublin Murder Squad book, Faithful Place. In that story, Holly, along with Detective Mackey and the rest of his family, seemed inescapably weaved into the investigation of a long-forgotten disappearance.

In French’s new novel, The Secret Place, it’s six years later, and Holly has sprouted up into a young woman, all sarcasm and hair-tosses. Once again, a murder investigation has found her. She comes to Detective Stephen Moran, also from Faithful Place, with a note she found on an anonymous board at her posh boarding school, Kilda’s. The note claims to know who killed a boy from a neighboring school on Kilda’s grounds last year. Last year, the investigation went nowhere. This year, Moran is determined to solve the case and move up to Murder from what he sees as the dead end of Cold Cases. Detective Antoinette Conway, a door-slamming, in-your-face woman in a Murder Squad that likes its women flirty and accommodating, agrees to let Moran ride along and talk to the girls. Holly came to him, after all.

Thus the setup for a day of teenage interrogations, alternated with flashbacks of Holly and her girl gang the previous year, leading up to the murder.

At first glance, The Secret Place seems to be a clash of two starkly different worlds. Placing these brash and calculating detectives into the dreamy, fantastical boarding school world of adolescent girls, with all their wide-eyed, moon-struck whimsy and best-friends-forever chatter, Tana French might as well have set this book on another planet. Moran and Conway could be wearing space suits as they walk through the bizarre landscape of the boarding school’s halls, listening to the choir’s melodies echoing from down a corridor, watching nuns walk slowly over the well-manicured lawns.

But slowly, slowly, French lets us see that perhaps these boarders are the detectives perfect match. The girls are compared to carnivorous jungle beasts multiple times--jaguars with sharp, ripping claws, “big cats released for the night.” At one point Detective Moran says he knows he’s outnumbered by some of them as if he saw three guys with “a bad walk roll around the corner and pick up the pace towards you.” These girls are giggling ugg-wearing thugs; they’re long-haired, lip-glossed, yes, but they’re manipulative, and maybe murderers.

Or are they? Moran seems to ebb back and forth in his views just as the girls seem to gain and lose their confidence. One moment these are young women in total control, and the next moment they’re kids, panicking, hysterical, too young and so easily manipulated. It seems like the detectives aren’t sure if it is naivety tripping them up, or its opposite.

As the long day passes, the girls are kept in seclusion from the rest of the school, made available for the detectives to interview in groups and individually, kept quarantined to prevent their teenage gossip and outbreaks of hysteria from catching. A less talented author could have made this feel tedious, as the single day of investigation alternates each chapter with a flashback to Holly and her three best friends before the murder took place.

But this isn’t a less talented author, this is Tana French, who takes the police procedural out of the squad room and finds it wherever she chooses--the darkness of the woods or the isolation of an abandoned construction site. She finds it here, too, amidst the art projects of teenage girls and the glades they find magic in at night. The flashbacks give the reader a chance to compare conclusions formed by the detectives in each interview with what actually plays out, what behaviors each girl reveals contrasted with her actual role in friendships and crimes, in an amateur sleuth’s ideal setup. Layers upon layers of motive and manipulation are peeled back in a way that seems possible only amongst teenage girls or incredibly dysfunctional families, where so much of what matters is how others behave.

And for those that are concerned (no spoiler alert needed), this is a Tana French novel that answers the question “Whodunnit?” clearly, so you won’t feel left cheated if you are looking for a solve. But don’t expect to understand everything that happens on the grounds of Kilda’s, as so much of the magic of adolescence isn’t meant for the outside world.
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techeditor, August 30, 2014 (view all comments by techeditor)
No one writes dialog like Tana French. For that reason, combined with her unpredictable twists and turns, all her books, including this one, are difficult to put down, the kind you keep reading long past bedtime.

THE SECRET PLACE continues the Dublin murder squad series of books. This is one day. It begins with Holly (the teenage daughter of a police detective, Frank Mackey, who is a main character in an earlier Tana French novel, FAITHFUL PLACE) bringing a suspicious card to Stephen Moran (another detective who appeared in FAITHFUL PLACE). From there, a year-old murder that took place at Holly's Catholic boarding school is reinvestigated. Moran and another detective, Antoinette Conway, reinterview eight girls, including Holly.

Every-other chapter of the book is a flashback to the times leading up to and since the murder. These flashbacks involve Holly and her classmates, 15- and 16-year-old girls.

Sometimes the flashbacks seem silly and implausible. This is especially true when the girls claim to see the murder victim's ghost. The ghost is even used by the detectives to deal with one of the girls. Come on, these are teenagers, not 6-year-olds!

But if you just go with it and accept the girls' immaturity and dirty mouths, this book is another winner for Tana French and her Dublin murder squad series. She's one author who is so predictably good that it's always safe to preorder her books.

I won an ARC of THE SECRET PLACE through goodreads.com.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780670026326
Author:
French, Tana
Publisher:
Viking Books
Author:
Hogan, Stephen
Author:
Hutchinson, Lara
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad) Sale Hardcover
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$19.57 In Stock
Product details 464 pages Viking Books - English 9780670026326 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Tana French's talent for gorgeously crafted psychological mysteries shines in The Secret Place, the latest installment of her Dublin Murder Squad series. The narrative centers on the murder of a boy in the gardens of an exclusive girls' school, but its real drama is in the fraught relationships between teenage girls and the awkward partnership of the detectives working the case. French perfectly captures the slang and posturing of girls and cops alike, making every moment of the novel as engrossing as the whodunit.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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. Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary, TV & Film Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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