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 16 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 it 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. From the multi-award-winning author of Sunday Times and New York Times best seller In the Woods, The Secret Place is a searing novel of psychological suspense.
©2014 Tana French (P)2014 Hodder & Stoughton
"It's terrific - terrifying, amazing, and the prose is incandescent" (Stephen King)
A wonderfully tender and savage thriller about loyalty, teenage friendship and first loves. Gripping and ingenious" (Kate Mosse)
"The thing 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" (Sophie Hannah)
"I've been enthusiastically telling everyone who will listen to read Tana French" (Harlan Coben)
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"A great read"
After some of the reviews I was a little worried about this one but I have thoroughly enjoyed the book. I find that Tana French is going from strength to strength with her first books being alright but not really standing out from the crowd but Broken Harbour and The Secret Place are excellent. I love the description in this, there's just enough to paint a picture, very much show, not tell, and not so much as to overdo it. There is quality in her writing, such as one finds in good, gritty poetry. The story is good and the narration spot on. There was some criticism of the language used, too much "like" and "Irishisms" but that's how people talk in Dublin so is perfectly realistic. The two main detective characters were very well rendered and the girls totally believable. I didn't find the story too long because the writing has sufficient quality to be able to savour that length, it's not all about how fast you can get to the end.
"Far too long"
This started off promisingly. An old fashioned closed community whodunnit. About 4 hours in I started to toil. Not enough action, far too much slow-paced detail. The narration is pretty good if somewhat annoying because much of it is told in the voice of teenage girls which wears thin after a while. I kept going till it was clear who had done it and then gratefully abandoned the remaining few hours. It's put me off reading/listening to another Tana French.
"Overlong, overheated, overwrought"
It took me along time to engage with this book, in fact I gave up for a couple of days before I tried again. In an audiobook, the ghastly AQI, use of smartarse 'hello?', and the inevitable, ubiquitous 'like' spattered between every other word, had me gritting my teeth. I found the characters, when not stereotypical, over thoughtful. No disrespect, but do teenage girls really have such complex thought processes? The pace of the story I found unconvincing..... Would the police have the luxury of such extensive interviewing of a minor? And then another, and another.......
My very first response was that the author was trying just a little too hard. I remember thinking, "'A Secret History' this is not." That particular book gripped from the start, and never lost pace. By contrast, this went on and on and on, with extensive ruminating from all parties, while I basically lost the will to live. I really lost patience with it a few times, thinking, " for goodness sake, GET ON WITH IT.'
Some books do not transfer well to audio. Others are enhanced by the medium. I think possibly this book would not be quite so annoying to physically read. At least, there wouldn't be the constant grating teen-speak. That should be a crime, never mind the murder.
It's going to be a while before I tackle another Tana French novel, if I ever do. Both this book, and 'Broken Harbour' I found unconvincing , and evoked the terse comment, 'as if' from me.
"Feels like it will never end!"
I had read Broken Harbour and found it quite good. The basic plot of this book is also ok, but the telling is just sooo long drawn out. Endless conversation, annoying dialogue (ok, this is often from teenagers, but did some of the 'in' expressions like 'hello?' and 'like' have to be used quite so relentlessly?) I didn't actually like any of the characters, and towards the end of this 20 hour marathon I found I was listening more to just get the book out of the way than because I actually cared 'whodunnit'. Might be less irritating if read rather than listened to, but I doubt it.
"Hello! what happened to the story?"
I liked it a lot to begin with but then, somewhere in the middle, nothing more happened. The story lost pace and I read on in hope of that something was going to happen, but frankly, no. It was as the author herself lost interest in it. A bit disappointed.
"Really Great Read"
Fantastic writing Style, great narration, good mix between narrators - keeps the pace of the story up. The author has a great feel for the real Dublin - characters are well portrayed.
All Tana French novels are similar in theme - Faithful Place would be the Closest to it though as Some characters appear in both.
Hard to pick out one in particular - I enjoyed the pace and increase in suspense as the book comes to a colse
I found it very hard to turn off but it is a very long book.
I've listened to most of Tana's books - you cant go wrong with any of them!
"Unique and absorbing!"
Yes definitely! I know other readers found the teenage lingo irritating but being a teacher myself, I found it quite convincing and an interesting detailed and unusual plotline as well
Holly. She tries to help and support her friends in quite a mature way for her age.
I liked all the teenage girls! Especially Joanne's voice.
I think the tag line on the book cover is great - I know who killed him.
"Is this really for adults?"
Nowhere near as good as her previous books. I'm not even sure this is a book for adults. Far more suited in the teenage fiction category.
"Could have been better if half as long"
I've now listened to all the Tana French books on Audible and was looking forward to this one as it's the most recently written. Broken Harbour was my first and I absolutely loved it but none of the others have quite come up to the mark for me, and Secret Place simply went on about 10 hours too long - an unusual criticism for me as I tend to search for books based on length!
It was obvious to me "Whodunnit" from about halfway through so there were no surprises. I appreciated the theme of adolescent angst and depth of feeling but I didn't like any of the girls, even Holly - in fact the only character I felt any inclination toward was Stephen, but he seemed to be warning me off and hinting that he wasn't actually likeable deep down.
I finally realised that all her books have a supernatural thread running through them, so at least I stopped looking for an answer to that part of the tale!
Had to keep listening. Was expecting a twist in the tail and I was not disappointed. The book was written from the point of view of a detective interspersed with flashbacks of earlier events from the points of view of a number of friends - schoolgirls at an exclusive convent school. These were necessary to flesh out the plot as the murder investigation itself all took place within a day, but occasionally they were a little tedious. Good performances from the readers. This is the second Tana French book I have listened to and will seek out others.
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