Book Review | The Secret Place by Tana French: Chilling and Addictive

Title: The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)
Author: Tana French
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: January 1, 2014
Pages: 464


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.

Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-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.


Teenage girls, boarding school and Tana French? How can I not love whatever comes out of that?

What’s great about Tana French is that her books aren’t just about the mystery. Her books always contain a great level of characterization and are quite psychological in nature. I read the first book in this series last year (In the Woods) and I enjoyed it a lot. The books in the Dublin Murder Squad series don’t HAVE to be read in order. If you do read them in order, you will be more acquainted with the main detective of each book as she features a different detective in each installment.  

Tana French - The Secret Place

A friend of mine and I were talking and she mentioned that she had just bought The Secret Place. I already owned it, as well, so we thought we’d buddy-read it! It was super fun being able to discuss out thoughts and theories together while reading. We both really liked this book.

Honestly, I was a bit worried because I wasn’t feeling electricity from the book when I first began reading. But I’ll say this: hang in there until Chapter 7. The first bit of the book is setting everything up. It’s necessary. But once you hit Chapter 7, you won’t be able to put the book down. I sure as hell couldn’t. My friend and I had planned to read in 5 chapter intervals then discuss, but before I knew it I had read the whole thing. Oops.

I’ve seen criticism of the “teen-speak” in this book. I’ll admit it wasn’t my favorite thing, but I didn’t think about it much. I was able to overlook it because everything else that was happening was so much more interesting than focusing on that small thing. My only gripe with this book was the supernatural element that was introduced, but then sort of left hanging. My friend and I discussed this a lot, but neither of us could really understand why it was included in the book.

If you enjoy the mystery/suspense genre and haven’t read Tana French yet…what are you doing?! She is a pure gem of this genre. I totally recommend this book.

4 Stars!

star-1    star-1    star-1    star-1

I think I will read The Likeness next. That one seems to be a fan-favorite so I’m excited about it. Hope you all have a nice day, and thanks for reading!


4 thoughts on “Book Review | The Secret Place by Tana French: Chilling and Addictive

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