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The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad) Hardcover – September 2, 2014

Book 5 of 5 in the Dublin Murder Squad Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2014: A fallow murder investigation is resuscitated when Holly Mackey (daughter of Frank Mackey, both last seen in Faithful Place) brings Detective Stephen Moran (Mackey’s protege in Faithful Place) a fresh clue she’s discovered at her posh girls’ school where the murder took place. Hoping this is his chance to trade Cold Cases for the Dublin Murder Squad and revive his own career, Moran finagles himself a partnership with prickly lead cop Antoinette Conway. Together the detectives try to find the truth inside the secrets, loyalties, and misdirection thrown their way by two rival groups of teenage schoolgirls. As in her previous books, just when you think you’ve solved the mystery another curious twist appears and French keeps you guessing right up until the very end. –Seira Wilson

Review

The new Tartt - the thriller that's every bit as good as The Secret History ... Classic in the making ... French's scintillating dialogue ... captures how teenagers talk now as expertly as any young-adult novel, and she sustains suspense flawlessly. The Secret Place is at least as good as Donna Tartt's The Secret History and every bit as well written. A film looks inevitable. -- John Dugdale Sunday Times French's pitch-perfect prose nails teenage lives with uncanny precision and the result is that rare beast, a literary page turner. Sunday Express French is one of the most consistently exciting crime novelists working today. The Secret Place may be her most ambitious book yet ... completely riveting. French offers a chilling portrait of the ways in which teenage friendships can overrule any conventional morality. - Thriller of the Week Mail on Sunday Prepare to be hooked by one of the stand-out books of the year. Fabulous Tana French is now the undisputed queen of Irish crime fiction ... her books transcend genre. Her prose is "literary fiction", her plots are intricate, her characters and dialogue compellingly real. Sunday Independent I haven't been so absorbed in a boarding school story since Malory Towers, though St Kilda's in Dublin is altogether a darker place, and even had Enid Blyton been on speed, she could never have achieved Tana French's whip-smart skills when it comes to teenage girl dialogue (Enid would have been horrified at their language) and plot development ... French ratchets up the tension in familiar fashion and is a marvellous chronicler of the intense, anxious and passionate lives of teenagers. Daily Mail Unmissable Mystery ... Exquisitely crafted and utterly absorbing. Read it! Heat An absolutely mesmerizing read -- Gillian Flynn, author of GONE GIRL Winning combination of intricate plotting and psychological depth -- Laura Wilson Saturday Guardian I know who killed him - but I'm envious of anyone who does not, because it means they have yet to read the new novel by the bestselling, multiple award-winning Irish author, Tana French, already acclaimed as "one of the finest crime writers in the world". Herald Expect fine characterisation, good writing and some clever red herrings. CHOICE: Book of The Month I've been enthusiastically telling everyone who will listen to read Tana French -- Harlan Coben The thing Tana French does better than almost any living crime writer is create suspense. She makes you feel as if you're the detective, and your whole future career, not to mention your mental equilibrium, depends upon working out the solution to the puzzle. The Secret Place is another nail-biting ordeal of mysteriousness that will have readers frantically turning pages in their eagerness to discover the truth -- Sophie Hannah, bestselling author of The Carrier A wonderfully tender and savage thriller about loyalty, teenage friendship and first loves. Gripping and ingenious -- Kate Mosse, bestselling author of Labyrinth A gripping read for those still pining for Gone Girl ELLE's Top Five Beach Reads She's a seriously talented writer and I love her Dublin Murder Squad series. I've been eagerly awaiting this one for ages. -- Stephanie Merritt Observer It's terrific - terrifying, amazing, and the prose is incandescent -- Stephen King, No. 1 bestselling author This riveting crime novel may be set in a girls' school but it is definitely not kids' stuff. French's prose glitters, creating a gripping mystery set in a world of shadows and tension Sunday Mirror French's talent for creating great characters and intimate relationships shines in this gripping novel - creating an intense atmosphere for the two detectives to find the killer. Essentials Clearly the work of a criminal mastermind Metro French's novel is fraught with menace; it's also a poignant, heart-piercing reminder of life as a teenager. The Observer --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Dublin Murder Squad
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1St Edition edition (September 2, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670026328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670026326
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tana French grew up in Ireland, the US, Italy and Malawi. She trained as an actress at Trinity College Dublin and has worked in theatre, film and voiceover. She is the author of In the Woods (2007), The Likeness (2008) and Faithful Place (2010). Her books have won Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, Barry and ICVA Clarion awards and have been finalists for LA Times and Strand Magazine awards. She lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter.

Customer Reviews

Way too long, tedious, repetitive.
Penny Lane
Not as dark and hopeless as some of French's other mysteries but very well developed plot and characters.
Irma Marzan
Well plotted, well written, good story.
angela gall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

119 of 132 people found the following review helpful By the GreatReads! TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 17, 2014
Format: Audible Audio Edition
St. Kilda's School, an Irish boarding school, which is brimming with teenage girls serves as the setting for the latest mystery thriller of New York Times bestselling novelist, Tana French. Located in the suburbs of Dublin, it was here over a year ago that a 16-year-old boy, Chris Harper, from a neighboring boys' school was murdered. His killer remained untraced, and the case remained unsolved. When Detective Frank Mackey's daughter, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey, shows up one morning at the police station with a postcard that reads, "I know who killed him," the cold case takes a dramatic turn.

The Secret Place by Tana French is the fifth book in the Dublin Murder Squad series and follows Detective Stephen Moran and Detective Antoinette Conway as they delve deep into a crime which has refused to die down, and yet couldn't make much headway. After Holly's unexpected appearance Detective Stephen quickly questioned her and heads to St. Kilda's School where the boy was murdered and the postcard found. It was found on a pin-board called The Secret Place where girls can privately share their secrets without anyone else knowing.

Detectives Stephen and Conway wade their way through the secrets, lies, relationships, rivalries and gossips of teenage girls, and must meticulously sift fact from rumor to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the postcard and find the killer of Chris Harper. As the detectives whittled down their list of suspects to four - Selena, Becca, Julia and Holly - who usually hang out together, Detective Stephen begins to suspect that the truth might be something he doesn't want to hear.

Author Tana French masterfully crafted a superb story that is stunning both in details and prose.
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101 of 113 people found the following review helpful By S. Phillips on September 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of Tana French, I think you should go ahead and read this. However if you're new to her work, skip this and go read The Likeness instead. Something was lacking in the substance of this novel that I have hard time articulating. Her writing style is stellar and the overall plot compelling. Something in the execution just absolutely fell flat and false to me. I think I felt that I needed more background on the girl's relationships to render their choices believable. Their texting/Kardashianesque dialogue should have belied a greater depth of their relationship and intentions than we experienced. Any exposition on the girls' friendships and motivations felt cursory and flat. Exploring the friendships and personalities deeper would have lent more credibility to the actions. I understand the book was largely from an adult male's perspective, but the deeper elements of the girls' story shouldn't have been marginalized. I love suspense stories about young adults in tight friend packs, and perhaps I've been spoiled by the stories built by Wolitzer, Lippman, and Tartt around too-close friendships. What surprises me is that French did a bang-up job of this herself in The Likeness! All this said...I still read it in 3 days. That is the power of French!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Deb on September 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I began this novel with lovely anticipation. I have loved Tana French's writing from book #1. At page 200-something, I found myself actually counting the number of pages left but wanting to know who-done-it. Now at page 300-something, I'm finding I just don't care.

Can't speed read this story - might miss one of French's lovely, aching passages - which are there. Her prose is amazing and wonderful. But - OMG ! Enough with the constant re-caps and going over and over and over the same thing.

The chapters alternate and more is revealed in each one - and that started out being fun. But reveal faster, please - the world might end before this story does! Where the heck was Ms. French's editor on this one?

I hate not loving this novel.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have read all of Tana French's books and she is on her mark with her latest, The Secret Place. It is filled with atmosphere, great characterization, language that calls for the reader not to skip even one word, and a story that keeps getting better with each page. Ms. French writes literary fiction that just happens to be a mystery as well.The Secret Place is about a lot of things: friendships, jealousies, love, teenagers, police investigations, and murder.

Holly Mackey, 16 years old and the daughter of a detective who was featured in one of Ms. French's earlier books, is a student at St. Kilda's, a posh girls' school in Ireland. The Secret Place is a noticeboard in the school. If you have a secret, you put it on a card and tack it to the board. "The students use images and captions to convey their messages anonymously." Holly finds a note on the board that says "I know who killed him". The note refers to the murder of Chris Harper, a student at the boys' school next door. His head was bashed in about one year ago and his murder has become a cold case. Holly takes the card to Detective Stephen Moran, a detective in the cold case department of police headquarters.

Detective Moran is 32 years old and wants to move up. "Cold cases is good. Murder is better." "I'd been wishing for the murder squad for a long time." He takes the card to Detective Antoinette Conway of the murder squad who was the lead detective in the Christopher Harper murder. Her partner recently retired and Moran sees an opening for himself. "Conway wasn't going to want me. She was getting me anyway." Together, the two of them go to St. Kilda's and re-open the investigation.

What they find at St. Kilda's shakes them to the core. The adolescents are secretive, mocking, and altogether not helpful.
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