The Secret Place

The Secret Place

3.86 (66,812 ratings by Goodreads)
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The photo shows a boy who was murdered a year ago.
The caption says, 'I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM'.

Detective Stephen Moran hasn't seen Holly Mackey since she was a nine-year-old witness to the events of Faithful Place. Now she's sixteen and she's shown up outside his squad room, with a photograph and a story.

Even in her exclusive boarding school, in the graceful golden world that Stephen has always longed for, bad things happen and people have secrets. The previous year, Christopher Harper, from the neighbouring boys' school, was found murdered on the grounds. And today, in the Secret Place - the school noticeboard where girls can pin up their secrets anonymously - Holly found the card.

Solving this case could take Stephen onto the Murder squad. 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. 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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 155 x 232 x 38mm | 672g
  • Castleknock, Ireland
  • English
  • 144479650X
  • 9781444796506
  • 100,685

Review quote

The Secret Place is excellent - chilling and poetic, perfectly paced and decidedly moreish * Hot Press * The Secret Place is cleverly plotted and beautifully written, offering an unrivalled insight into the hormone-fuelled world of privileged teenagers * Irish Independent * French is simply a brilliant writer...her books transcend genre. Her prose is 'literary fiction', her plots are intricate, her characters and dialogue compellingly real * Sunday Independent * Lyrical descriptions and a taut plot make this a pitch-perfect thriller * Evening Echo * Evocative of Donna Tartt's New England college campus mystery The Secret History...French has the ability to transport one back to the awkward, stumbling days of one's teenage years * Irish Examiner * A gripping tale...[a] vivid account of the crackling intensity of adolescence * Irish Times *
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About Tana French

Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the United States and Malawi. She trained as an actor at Trinity College Dublin and has worked mainly in theatre. Her first novel, In the Woods, was published in 2007; it won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry awards for Best First Novel and the IVCA Clarion Award for Best Fiction. In the Woods and her second novel, The Likeness, were both New York Times bestsellers. Broken Harbour won the BGE Crime Fiction Book of the Year award in 2012 and the LA Times prize for best Mystery/Thriller.
She lives in Dublin with her husband and daughters.
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Rating details

66,812 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 26% (17,499)
4 43% (28,514)
3 24% (15,711)
2 6% (3,891)
1 2% (1,197)

Our customer reviews

"The Secret Place" by Tana French is the latest book that I've been reading. I have to say, it's really not up my alley, so to speak. I've tried to analyze why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. Mainly, I think it's because Tana French is an english-style writer. For many of you, that's not a bad thing. But I found that with other books who's authors were from across the pond I was similarly unsatisfied with. This made me think that it just may be me. With some analysis, that's generally the conclusion I came to. Although it was never diagnosed, I know I have a mild form of dyslexia. My brain, early on, figured out how to rearrange the letters to get the words right, without any conscious help from me. I think reading non-North American authors makes my brain stutter a little, making reading just that much less enjoyable. Reading a page always takes me more time than others but if I'm unused to the cadence of the author's style, if she's foreign, then it takes even more time for my brain to acclimate. This makes reading just less enjoyable and more work. For you, my readers, this translates to the following. If you find yourself liking English or foreign type authors, then you'll probably like this novel. Let's just get that out of the way, the mystery of this book rocks. You don't know who did it, you are kept guessing throughout the book and you're given both red herrings and also little clues that keep the interest there and simmering. Also, Tana French's take on how teen girls talk and act, I think, is spot on. Some reviewers thought the speech patterns and weird words were just too over the top. But I found it reminded me of when I was their age. In the early eighties I tried to add "valley girl" lexicon to my speech, trying to be unique and different from the grown ups. We all, at that age, think we have a handle on what's NEW and BETTER and no one can tell us different. Tana French's writing easily brings all those memories back. She also handles the relationships between girls and also between girls and boys expertly. It came off as so beautifully real. The angst, the need to be liked, to not be the teased girl and to either stay under the radar or to want the opposite, to be the star. All of that is handled so expertly and I have to give kudos to the author. I didn't, however, like how bitter the main police detective was. But again, I'm tending to put that down to the foreign writer thing again. Prejudice is different in every country. Canada has different prejudices than the US and we express them differently. I just find the classist attitudes off putting in this book. Otherwise it was very enjoyable and kept my interest. I'm giving this book three stars out of five. If you like authors from the UK though, you should probably add a star to my review. You'll find yourself liking this book if you've also enjoyed other authors from the more
by Jennifer McLean
The Secret Place #Iknowwhokilledhim The Secret Place by Tana French will blow you away with the suspense each page ratchets up the suspense till you are so anxious you need to finish the thriller. I am not sure how Tana French will be able to follow up The Secret Place as she has blown the bloody doors off the genre. Tana French delivers on every level with The Secret Place she ticks all the boxes for what you want from a thriller writer. The book may be over 500 pages long but there are no wasted words no bulking the book out. Detective Stephen Moran has not seen Holly Mackey since she was 9 years old and a witness to a murder he had investigated and her father was also in the Dublin force. One morning she arrives at the Cold Case unit with a card in her hand a card from a notice board known as The Secret Place, which revealed someone knew more about a murder that had taken place a year before at her private school St Kildaâ??s. Moran goes down to the murder squad and finds the lead detective on the murder of Chris Harper at St Kildaâ??s to tell her of the new information that has come to light. He asks if he can assist her, Antoinette Conway is not as sure as she tends to work alone but they go to St Kildaâ??s as the tag team. In one day Conway and Moran have to work quickly to discover who knows more that they are saying and if possible discover the murderer. St Kildaâ??s are not pleased to see the return of the detectives on the gentile establishment of what is St Kildaâ??s School for Girls. As they work the case they are given titbits that make it seem as if they are pulling teeth out of the girls. They know they have eight suspects but who will be able to crack the case wide open? Tana French also takes us back over the year before and the life of Chris Harper and how long he has left to live. We also see what Holly and her friends get up to at the Court, at school and the various things they do as boarders. So what we see is the full story of who what and when for the why you have to work that out for yourself or wait till you have read the book. I know who killed him and if you want to find out then read this book as it is one of the best suspense thrillers I have read in a long time. The prose that Tana French uses is clear and crisp; the imagery that she builds of the girls and the detectives is brilliant. It comes across that these may be teenage girls but they are no fools intelligent and articulate who make the detectives work for every piece of information they need for the case. You will feel pace speed up as the day heads towards the climax and Tana French keeps the reader on tenterhooks and it will shred your nerves and do nothing for you if you suffer from anxiety because you so want to know how this book ends. Tana French has blown the bloody doors off the suspense genre and has written a brilliant and stunning suspense more
by Paul D
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