Book review: The Secret Place by Tana French

The Secret Place by Tana French
Series: Dublin Murder Squad #5
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Source: Purchased

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.

Two fun facts before I get started with my review:

  • I was on a book-buying ban when I bought this because I’d just spent an unreasonable amount of money to go visit my mom in Wisconsin and I also had no room in my carry on for anything other than what was already packed, but I got to the bookstore and this was 50% off, so I couldn’t not get it.
  • I was forced to have lunch with my mom’s boss (who is maybe her best friend also? I’m unclear) right after I bought it and this boss told me she actually knows Tana French? I just about died right there in the office. But then I was talking with Daniel and he found some holes in the story… like Tana French doesn’t even live in the US, so how does that work? brb, flying back home to Wisconsin to interrogate my mom’s boss.

Anyway, it took me forever and a day to read this book (or 11 days if we’re actually counting) because I didn’t want to miss anything. I probably still missed a bunch of clues that were scattered throughout the book, but that’s okay. I had such a great time reading this book.

I’m not really going to say anything about the plot because I’m so paranoid about accidentally spoiling anything that happens, but I loved this book. I loved the characters, I loved the mystery, and I loved the final reveal at the end. I had absolutely no idea who the killer was up until the reveal and now I need to read everything else that Tana French has ever written. I just bought In the Woods, so hopefully I’ll be reading that one soon.

Highly recommended.

Have you read The Secret Place? Are you a Tana French fan?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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13 thoughts on “Book review: The Secret Place by Tana French

  1. bwreviews says:

    Great review! This was one of those I liked and I think I have a favorite quote ever from this book about the things society tells young women. French just kills it. (Pun slightly intended.)

    – Caidyn

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Akshay kumar das says:

    I read this, this book shows.. loyalty among teen and great insights of a concept of friendships.. thrillers aren’t a genre I read often but a great book to be read by anyone…
    as usual, you are best in reviewing this.. supab.. 😊😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Becky @ Velvet Spade Reads says:

    Oh man, if you loved this one you’re going to love the others. This is excellent and it is still on bottom half of my favorite French novels. She is so damn good. I think The Likeness is my personal favorite. Hope you continue to love her. Also, she was born in the US and did live here for a while so …. maybe??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I haven’t read The Likeness yet but I’ll make it the next one that I buy! Also, I think we might need to have a team interrogation. My mom’s boss made it sound like it was recently, but I suppose it’s possible that it was a while ago. I don’t know enough about her yet to figure this out!


  4. Leslie says:

    I like Tana French! I’ve only read the first one in this series but really enjoyed it! I’m glad you likd it. LOL! I’m kinda intrigued now about your mom’s boss.What a conundrum!

    Liked by 1 person

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