Book Review: ‘The Secret Place’ Is A Terrific Irish Thriller


Review by Ann McDonald

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.

The Murder Squad is the place young Detective Stephen Moran wants to be and when 16 year-old Holly Mackey, daughter of Detective Frank Mackey, brings him an evidence bag with a photo of Chris Harper, a young boy killed on the grounds of St. Kilda’s secondary school for girls, a year earlier, with the caption I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM scrawled across it, he knows he now has his chance. “Where did you get this?” he inquires. “The nuns allowed a board in the school’s hallway called ‘The Secret Place’ where anyone can put up whatever we want without signing it and I noticed this and brought it to you.” Holly gives him a sideways grin. “It’s good to see you”, Detective Moran says. “You too”, Holly responds.

This begins an extraordinary story about one murder, two schools, teenage girls and boys and enough hormones and testosterone to keep the Titanic sailing for a century. Stephen has to talk Detective Antoinette Conway into taking him on board, she had been the lead detective on the initial investigation before the case went cold. Unable to handle a rich school, she is inner city and has street cred but has no clue whatsoever about handling the old boys club that was the Murder Squad and dropped the ball. She needs this opportunity to close the case, once and for all and because Stephen has a way of talking to the kids, Holly gives him the nod and he is in.

Author Tana French is a great weaver of words, they are complex and beautiful yet she has the ability to tell the story in a language you can totally understand. She does a terrific job and I was very impressed and she can only get better with every passing book. My hometown Dublin slang, very crude at times, had a grin on my face and it’s just as well it’s not understood by all. I look forward to more from Ms. French. Very highly recommended

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Ann McDonald
One Response
  1. December 25, 2014

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