Friday, July 3, 2015

Alice's Review: The Secret Place

Author: Tana French
Series: Dublin Murder Squad
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 464
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Crime
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A taut mystery that has other great elements
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: 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 Dublins Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-yearold Holly Mackey brings him this photo. “The Secret Place,” a board where the girls at St Kildas 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 Hollys 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 Kildas will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Hollys 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:  Tana French is back with another intriguing installment of Dublin’s Murder Squad. Although I am not a huge fan of Mystery/Crime novels, I completely soak these in. I really enjoyed how different this novel was from her earlier work. This novel had a clear resolution whereas her others left something unanswered. The best part of this novel is the resurrection of one of my favorite literary characters, Frank Mackey.

I will seriously read anything, ANYTHING, that features Frank Mackey even in the smallest capacity. I love me some Frank. Give me an entire novel focused on him and I am in reading heaven. He can be so rough and crass and well, sometimes a jerk. I loved seeing him in what is probably his favorite role, Father.

Enough about my fictional husband, the meat and bones of this novel is about friendship. Any woman who had girlfriends understands the power that holds, especially when you are 16 and your life centers around these relationships. Tana French captured that beautifully. Each girl was so different, yet it was easy to see how they fit together. My favorite of the four was Julia. She had moxie, tough as nails, but probably the most sensitive of the bunch. She was the leader, the one who would go to bat for the others.

I enjoyed the mystery in The Secret Place. Tana French is a sorceress. She writes strong character driven mysteries where you are invested in their lives and situations. You open one of her novel and begin to read it, the next thing you know it is 4 hours later and you are elbows deep in a story you can’t tear yourself away from. There is a mystery you must get to the bottom of. Thankfully, there are one or two detectives asking all the right questions unraveling the mystery layer by layer. You don’t know who you can trust, you don’t know who is lying or who is telling you the truth. The only thing you do know is you are on one hell of a ride.

This isn’t the strongest of her work, but it’s still fantastic. I hope we have another go at the reluctant villain of this novel, Detective Stephen Moran. I didn’t envy his task and I can’t wait to see what comes next for him.


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