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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, September 2014 - With vacation planned at the end of the month, I excitedly tucked away my copy of The Secret Place knowing that it would be the perfect beach book. And halfway through, with the sounds of waves crashing in the background, I've been transported to St. Kilda's School in the posh suburbs of Dublin. Tana French's latest Dublin Murder Squad mystery explores the minds of killers and – perhaps equally as frightening – teenaged girls. Like her previous books, it's a psychological whodunit set in a distinct time and place. And the local Irish flair makes it perfect for audio. —Tricia, Audible Editor
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Publisher's Summary

The sensational new novel from "one of the most talented crime writers alive". (The Washington Post)
The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, in the grounds of a girls' boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says I know who killed him.
Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin's Murder Squad - and one morning, 16-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. "The Secret Place", a board where the girls at St Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.
©2014 Tana French (P)2014 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Pamela on 09-11-14

Well...I really liked 50% of it

What in the world caused Ms French to think that anyone would enjoy having every other chapter in a 20 hour book comprised of the simpering, sniping of a group of adolescent Irish Valley Girl wannabes? Even the hard-to-understand breathy, little-girl voice of Lara Hutchinson couldn’t damage the grating dialogue further.

Don’t get me wrong. The structure of this book is a beautiful thing. Having all the players trapped in a confined area while the detective weeds through the witnesses and suspects in an unsolved murder case, playing them against each other even as the detective is being played, is a tried and true device and was worth the effort. Fifty percent of the chapters show off Ms French’s well known talent for interpersonal interaction and dialogue, as prickly and unpopular (i.e., won’t play along with the sexual hazing game) female Detective Antoinette Conway with chip on her shoulder, and murder squad aspirant, Detective Stephen Moran are thrown together for one intense day of frustrating interrogation at an exclusive private girls’ school.

For all I know, aping Valley Girl behavior is what Irish school girls are into right now. But in my opinion, it was an unfortunate distraction from what should have been and could have been (if severely edited) an important part of this story—the interaction between the students. I’m sure it will ruin the book for many. Also bogging down the story were a few irrelevant sidetracks. The mystical touches, (the lights, the spinning bottle caps) which seemed to me most likely meant to reflect psychedelic drug experiences, were neither integrated well, nor explained at all, so who really knows what they were about and should have been left out altogether.

I didn’t have any trouble finishing the book, but by the end I was ready to pull out my hair. The use of the irritating dialogue might have been cute in “Clueless”, but it just trivialized French’s considerable talent. I’m hoping she does better on the next one. Totally.

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62 of 67 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Jami E. Nettles on 09-13-14

totes idiotic

Wow...bad on so many levels. Hours and hours of 8 teenage girls. Dumb dialog - does anyone really say totes adorbs? And if that wasn't bad enough, the girls' characters just are not well enough developed to differentiate and 3 names start with the J sound. Twee narration. I love long books but this couldn't end soon enough. A bad surprise from an author I've enjoyed in the past. Pick any other of her books.

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36 of 40 people found this review helpful

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