When Holly Mackey brings Detective Stephen Moran a picture from her boarding school, he immediately knows it’s related to a cold case.
The Secret Place is an intricately drawn mystery with fascinating characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Tana French writes intricate, gripping mystery novels that edge into the territory of psychological thrillers. French weaves a complex mystery in The Secret Place, one that will keep readers guessing until the end.
Hi, I haven’t read any of her novels and I’m wondering if I could just pick this book to read and not be lost?
I do accept books for review, but please take a look at my review policy before pitching me a book. 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. 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.
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.
The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series. It’s going to be difficult to cover everything about this book but here is a good starting point: The Secret Place blew my mind. It’s been one year since popular teenage boy Chris Harper was found murdered on the grounds of the posh St. Holly found the photo pinned up at St Kilda’s School’s Secret Place, a board where the girls can pin up their unspoken secrets and fears anonymously. Determining the time that the photo is likely to have been posted is but the first step and then everything leads them back to two different groups of girls, one of them Holly’s own close-knit group of friends. Set in the grounds of St Kilda’s for the duration of one day, the narrative is mostly from Stephen’s viewpoint but interspersed by flashbacks of Holly’s group leading up to the murder. Because despite how the murder case in itself is actually pretty good, The Secret Place is in fact, a brilliant, astute psychological study taking place against a backdrop of patriarchy, misogyny, class differences and more.
The girls of St Kilda’s, specially the two main groups of girls, are deftly characterised with sympathy and compassion, their arcs engaging thoughtfully with prejudice and stereotypical notions of girlhood. One of the most effective ways of presenting all of this is by showing not only their inner lives and internal monologues as unique to each girl but also by providing a counterpoint with the way that Stephen engages them.
The interesting dynamics between the two detectives and how their relationship progresses from uneasy partnership to a point where they can rely on each other is another strong focus of the plot and equally well, awesome.
At around page 180, it is revealed that Holly’s group of friends have developed paranormal powers. Because this is so completely unexpected it ends up being – at first – a cool mind-blowing twist that reinforces the idea of these girls’ closeness and friendship.
It implies that they – with their strong sense of self, their understanding of patriarchy – are so different, so unique, that they are not normal.
Those two points are the only discordant elements in an otherwise harmonious, incredible novel. Enough manpower to build an office block, enough overtime to pay off mortgages, enough paper to dam a river. As to the magical realism aspect, I think French always incorporates some inexplicable facet to her thrillers-well, there was one in the very first book, so my basis remains solely these two books. AmaryllisSeptember 2, 2014 at 10:19 amBecause despite how the murder case in itself is actually pretty good, The Secret Place is in fact, a brilliant, astute psychological study taking place against a backdrop of patriarchy, misogyny, class differences and more. That said, I also loved the entire book except the supernatural thing, which did not appear anywhere else. I do hope there will be more diversity of all kinds (applies to pretty much every media), but at the same time though, why does the fact that at an all girl’s school there has to be an obvious lesbian relationship? It’s just that if you make a group vow of chastity in a cypress grove with the moon as witness, you may attract the notice of something that is genuinely Other. Liz TiltonApril 5, 2015 at 12:36 pmI understand Becca did the murder but at the very end holly is making another card to hang on the secret place why? 1 : a book review blog specializing in speculative fiction and popgeekery for all ages since 2008. The Book Smugglers purchase books for review on this site, but also receive free review copies from authors, publishers, and other third parties. If you have a curious bone in your body then surely you want to know who killed him?  And even if you don’t have a curious bone, surely you want to read a book with amazing characters and an intricate plot?  And if you love books, surely you want to read one of the best (if not THE best book) published in 2014?

Even in her exclusive boarding school, in the graceful golden world that Stephen has always longed for, bad things happen and people have secrets. Thanks to BooksUnderground for sending me a physical copy of this book with a matching bookmark after I won it on twitter.  And thanks to Edelweiss and Viking Hardcover for giving me an E-Arc in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Just to reassure you, none of the other books have such an ambiguous ending as Into The Woods.
Trish, I answered yes to all of your questions and this sounds like quite the mystery thriller..perfect for fall!
New York NYC Crime Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Education Obituaries Sports Yankees Mets Giants Jets Knicks Nets Rangers Islanders Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer College High School The Score News Crime U.S. Therea€™s an ethereal quality to Tana Frencha€™s seductive new mystery, a€?The Secret Place,a€? even in the midst of the gritty class warfare that has become a hallmark of her series set in the Dublin murder squad. From the stellar a€?In the Woodsa€? on, each new book has featured a squad detective working a fresh crime. The day comes when 16-year-old Holly Mackey brings him a lead on an unsolved murder at a private girlsa€™ school. Holly brings Moran a small piece of evidence that suggests the year-old crime can still be solved. The story alternates between the current investigation and events from the year leading up to the murder.
Holly, Selena, Rebecca and Julie have formed an insular quartet, sneaking out at night to a protected glade where their fused energy seems to produce supernatural phenomena. After all, it is vying for the attention of those good-looking sons of privilege that incites the savage rivalries at St. The stalled murder investigation is alive again and in the course of an intense day, Conway and Moran will be met with class prejudice and dish it out, too.
These linked short stories begin with Josephine, a 14-year-old in a turn-of-the-century Italian village suddenly married to an older man. This is an oddity, a novel by an author whose best sellers have all been nonfiction, including the a€?The Accidental Billionaires,a€? on which the movie a€?The Social Networka€? was based. As Moran and Conway slowly unravel the case and contemplate new evidence, the reader is drawn into the book more and more. The novels are related to one another, but each of the main characters is different and it’s not a series. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. It’s the fifth book in Tana French’s ongoing Dublin Murder Squad series but my first Tana French book altogether 1. Stephen, a minor character from Faithful Place, who had being working cold cases, sees this as an opportunity to move to the Murder Squad, partnering up with hardened murder Detective Antoinette Conway to reopen the case. The novel’s progression divided as it is in this dual narrative timeline is incredibly, fantastically tense and richly layered.
Most of them think of, engage with, react to, the way that our society expects girls to behave – some of them absorb and internalise these notions, some of them actively question those roles. Detective Conway made my heart go all pitter-patter and I loved the snippets of her difficulties as a female detective within the murder squad, specially her struggles with being accepted as a part of the in-crowd without having to put up with casual sexism and harassment. One is the lack of obvious LGBT characters – a girls only school and no lesbian relationship? I feel I should engage with this aspect of the novel even though it completely spoils one of the most shocking elements of the book. One wrong question and she’d be gone, I’d be thrown away: got too old, another useless adult who didn’t understand.
The magic element (didn’t really feel like magical realism to me) was completely out of left field with, as you mention, no real point to it. I would love for there to be one, but I also would love it for it to be set anywhere – it just seems like another stereotype and I believe we can do better than that. The previous year, Christopher Harper, from the neighbouring boys' school, was found murdered on the grounds. But to get that solved, he will have to work with Detective Antoinette Conway - tough, prickly, an outsider, everything Stephen doesn't want in a partner. I suppose the themes are depressing but I just find them honest and realistic so it never gets me down.
In this, Frencha€™s fifth novel, Detective Stephen Moran only aspires to joining the prestigious homicide unit. He takes the new info to the detective in charge of the case, the hard-bitten Antoinette Conway.

The structure allows French to provide a close view of life beyond the gates, where the viciousness of teen girls is only barely contained by the strictures of the nuns.
Themes include resilience, clarity, power and joy, all directed toward becoming a€?the person who you were intended to be, to grow out of and into yourself again and again.a€? A small book thata€™s going to find its way onto a lot of nightstands. A mathematician a€” who has uncovered a secret link between the Seven Wonders of the World that could have profound consequences a€” is murdered. His dream is to work for homicide, and he’s not above leveraging the information he has in order to get there.
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. One morning, one of St Kilda’s students, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey (the daughter of a recurring character, Frank Mackey) walks into Stephen Moran’s office bringing him a photo of Chris with the caption I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.
A telling moment is when he is first interviewing the girls and his attempts at pining them all down by comparing them all to girls he met before when he was a teenager. Laughing it off as just a “boy will be boys” thing is just not an option for her, causing her to develop a reputation as a humourless shrew.
A year back, two of the nuns went for an early stroll and found a boy lying in a grove of trees, in a back corner of the school grounds. She works with translations in RL and hopes one day The Book Smugglers will be her day job.
Detective Stephen Moran hasn't seen Holly Mackey since she was a nine-year-old witness to the events of Faithful Place.
And today, in the Secret Place - the school noticeboard where girls can pin up their secrets anonymously - Holly found the card.
And he will have to find a way into the strange, charged, mysterious world that Holly and her three closest friends inhabit and disentangle the truth from their knot of secrets, even as he starts to suspect that the truth might be something he doesn't want to hear. I have this book on my radar to look for, and will be buying it soon if I can’t get it any other way. Kildaa€™s preps the daughters of Dublina€™s elite families but it was a student from a nearby boysa€™ school found with his head bashed in on its grounds. Theya€™re both the product of Irelanda€™s working class and approach the seemingly gilded St. The girls, gloriously freed from all that, draw even closer, their friendship reaching intoxicating new levels. Though the detectives are there to serve justice, theya€™re invading a haven where at least some of the girls have found sanctuary. That being said, he has a lot of integrity and is more than happy to work with Detective Conway, despite some rumors about her. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why. Another strong focus is the harmful, negative way with which those notions affect teenage lives – both boys and girls. Interestingly, Stephen yearns for a glimpse of this posh world, wanting desperately the beautiful things in display.
Oh and you get my free pdf download – NOTE TO BOOK – so you can record all your own bookish thoughts! Now she's sixteen and she's shown up outside his squad room, with a photograph and a story.
The stories follow Josephinea€™s search for her daughter, the fate of her other children and her grandchildren. More than that, though, he sees that they are dangerous and will do and risk anything to achieve their own ends. That judgemental side of him also almost ruins his budding partnership with Detective Conway. I will be continuing with her, but should I read book #2 first, or can I jump right into The Secret Place?
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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