I have realized that I love a good suspense novel. Especially when it deals with the twisted world of teenage girls. I think girls get the rep of being sweet an innocent so I love when authors dive into their lives deeper and show what is kept hidden. Teenage girls are mean. I had heard a lot about this author’s book Into the Woods but that book had never caught my eye but I looked into her other books and that’s how I came across the book.
The Secret Place by Tana French is a story about an all girl’s boarding school. A boy from the neighboring all boy’s boarding school was found murdered on the girl’s school ground. The first time the investigation went through it didn’t get anywhere. Now a year later Holly Mackey, a teenage girl from the school, shows up at Detective Moran’s office to deliver a postcard from a board in their school called “The Secret Place”. On this postcard is a picture of the murdered boy and a statement that the anonymous person knows who killed him. This brings Detective Moran and a tough woman from the Murder squad, Detective Conway, back to the school to start another round of investigation. This time though they are brought deeper into the dangerous world of teenage girls.
This book is technically a part of the Dublin Murder Squad series but it is not necessarily a series you need to read in order. I have never read any of her other books and I don’t believe that caused this book to not make sense. Looking into her others books they all revolve around the same place and there are reoccurring characters in each one. So having background information on different characters might have made the story a little better but I don’t think it was a huge deal. I think these books can be read as standalone novels.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was written in a style I was not used to. One chapter would be in a third person point-of-view from Holly and her friend’s point of views. These chapters were all about the events leading to Chris Harper’s murder. Then the next chapter would be in first person point-of-view from Detective Moran’s perspective. These chapters took place a year later and were about the new investigation into the murder.
Both chapters held such a good suspense. It the chapters from the girl’s perspective’s the suspense was different. You knew Chris was going to die. It was stated how long he had left to live each time the chapter would begin. The suspense is different when you know what is going to happen and how far away the moment is you just don’t know who is going to do it.
They also worked well playing off each other. Each chapter would reveal new information that changed how you thought about everything in the next chapter. Since they would alternate between past and present you would get different information every time that would slowly build the big picture. The author was very good at keeping you on your toes and guessing at who did it. I think at one point I was almost certain it was every character.
She was also very good at writing the different friendships that teenage girls have. As a female myself I could relate to both type of friendships. I think every girl has experienced them. There is always the girl you are friends with that you just don’t like very much but you are friends anyways. Then there is also the girl (or girls) that you are friends with that you would do anything for. I believe she really captured that.
The only problem was the start of the book was a little slow. It took a while before the suspense really brought me in but once it did I read about 300 pages in one sitting because I was so curious as to what would be revealed next.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. It took me longer to get through than most books and there were some twists in the books that I didn’t expect but it is nice to be surprised by the direction a book is going if it is done right.