Author: Tana French
Publisher: Viking Adult/Penguin
Publication Date: September 2014
Genre: Adult Fiction/Mystery
Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book Four
Synopsis can be found here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Holly goes to Detective Stephen Moran because she thinks she can trust him. Moran is started to find Holly waiting for him, with a secret card that implies someone knows something about a killer who wandered the all girl’s boarding school grounds last year. That is a cold case Moran knows something about. He heads over to the Dublin Murder Squad where he meets Antoinette Conway. Conway is tough as nails and biting, but she drags Moran along to help with the investigation. And during one very long day, everything they thought they knew about the case comes cracking open.
Stunning. This well thought out mystery thriller is French at her best. The chapters alternate between the girls’ point of view, before the killing to Moran’s narration during this follow up investigation. As the game slowly unfolds, the girls’ real secrets and motivations come to light. Honestly, I didn’t know who killed Chris up until the very end when it was revealed. And while that impresses me, I was even more blown away by the gentle detail and unfolding of the characters. The suspects are two groups of four girls, eight girls in all. Each had a motive and opportunity. Deeper and deeper French spins her web until it’s such a complicated string of a tale, it’s hard to know how you ever got to there or how it will end.
Moran is a strong narrator with a unique voice. I love his fragmented sentences, his flinching thoughts, his caution and the time it takes for him to sort everything out. I love Conway who is tough, disliked and harsh. She’s strong and bitter and angry and a good balance to nice Moran who is waiting for his break out of Cold Cases and into Murder.
My favorite part of the book are the girls. Their love for each other is fierce, unwavering and yet, secrets, boys, love and sex come between them. It’s a realistic portrayal of a group of all girlfriends who mean more to each other than life, and yet can’t seem to trust each other with what matters most. There’s one part in the book, towards the end, that is especially cringe worthy. Because girlfriends, even with the best of intentions, can be each others’ worst enemies.
A brilliant fourth novel from French and the latest edition to the Dublin Murder Squad, savor The Secret Place over some tea in a nice corner. Read slowly. You don’t want to miss anything because it’s all there in front of you. Waiting.