MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of The Secret Place by Tana French

The Secret Place

A Dublin Murder Squad Novel

by Tana French

The Secret Place by Tana French X
The Secret Place by Tana French
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2014, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2015, 464 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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, 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.

The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.

Excerpt
The Secret Place

Holly dumped her schoolbag on the floor. Hooked a thumb under her lapel, to point the crest at me. Said, 'I go to Kilda's now.' And watched me.

St Kilda's: the kind of school the likes of me aren't supposed to have heard of. Never would have heard of, if it wasn't for a dead young fella.

Girls' secondary, private, leafy suburb. Nuns. 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. At first they thought he was asleep, drunk maybe. The full-on nun-voice thunder: Young man! But he didn't move.

Christopher Harper, sixteen, from the boys' school one road and two extra-high walls away. Sometime during the night, someone had bashed his head in.

Enough manpower to build an office block, enough overtime to pay off mortgages, enough paper to dam a river. A dodgy janitor, handyman, something: eliminated. A classmate who'd...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Writing realistic teenagers is a challenge for even the most talented author. Not only does French accomplish this perfectly but she establishes a separate personality for each, all completely convincing. Additionally, the interaction between the individual members of the cliques and the dynamics between the two groups is so authentic that one wonders if French snuck a tape recorder into a girls' school to research the novel...continued

Full Review (739 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

The Mail on Sunday (UK)
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.

Sunday Independent (UK)
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.

The Sunday Express (UK)
French's pitch-perfect prose nails teenage lives with uncanny precision and the result is that rare beast, a literary page turner.

The Observer (UK)
She's a seriously talented writer and I love her Dublin Murder Squad series. I've been eagerly awaiting this one for ages

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. French stealthily spins a web of teenage secrets with a very adult crime at the center.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Beyond the murder mystery, which leaves the reader in suspense throughout, the novel explores the mysteries of friendship, loyalty and betrayal, not only among adolescents, but within the police force as well. Everyone is this meticulously crafted novel might be playing—or being played by—everyone else.

Author Blurb Harlan Coben
I've been enthusiastically telling everyone who will listen to read Tana French

Author Blurb Sophie Hannah, bestselling author of The Carrier
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.

Author Blurb Kate Mosse, bestselling author of Labyrinth
A wonderfully tender and savage thriller about loyalty, teenage friendship and first loves. Gripping and ingenious

Author Blurb Stephen King, No. 1 bestselling author
It's terrific - terrifying, amazing, and the prose is incandescent

Author Blurb Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
Prepare to be hooked by one of the stand-out books of the year. Fabulous An absolutely mesmerizing read

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Boarding Schools in the UK

The Secret Place is set on the grounds of an Irish boarding school, an educational institution where children live on campus while they attend classes.

The King's School in Canterbury Boarding schools have a rich history in Ireland and neighboring UK (The Republic of Ireland was part of the UK through the 19th century and up to 1922). It is believed The King's School in Canterbury was the world's first true boarding institution, where a monastery school was established in 597 CE. Winchester College founded by Bishop William of Wykeham in 1382 CE and Oswestry School founded by David Holbache in 1407 CE are the oldest boarding schools in continuous operation.

Approximately 90,000 children attend a boarding school each year in the UK, which currently has ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Tana French

If you liked The Secret Place, try these:

  • The Long Call jacket

    The Long Call

    by Ann Cleeves

    Published 2020

    About this book

    More books by this author

    From Ann Cleeves - bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows - comes the first in a gripping new series.

  • If We Were Villains jacket

    If We Were Villains

    by M L. Rio

    Published 2018

    About this book

    Intelligent, thrilling, and richly detailed, If We Were Villains is a captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Sleepovers
    Sleepovers
    by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
    In Ashleigh Bryant Phillips' debut story collection, Sleepovers, it can be difficult to keep tabs on...
  • Book Jacket
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Cantoras
    by Carolina De Robertis
    Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis follows five characters who share a house, troubles, joys and parts...
  • Book Jacket: Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    by Ava Homa
    Ava Homa's debut novel begins with an epigraph by Sherko Bekas, a Kurdish poet, the last lines of ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Voyage of the Morning Light
    by Marina Endicott

    A sweeping novel set aboard a merchant ship sailing through the South Pacific in 1912.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

A charming account of holding local office with an entertaining, quirky cast of characters.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S Louder T W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.