- Hardcover: 528 pages
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (28 Aug. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444755579
- ISBN-13: 978-1444755572
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 4.4 x 23.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 233 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 243,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Secret Place: Dublin Murder Squad: 5 Hardcover – 28 Aug 2014
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The new Tartt - the thriller that's every bit as good as The Secret History . . . Classic in the making . . . French's scintillating dialogue . . . captures how teenagers talk now as expertly as any young-adult novel, and she sustains suspense flawlessly. The Secret Place is at least as good as Donna Tartt's The Secret History and every bit as well written. A film looks inevitable. (John Dugdale Sunday Times)
French's pitch-perfect prose nails teenage lives with uncanny precision and the result is that rare beast, a literary page turner. (Sunday Express)
French is one of the most consistently exciting crime novelists working today. The Secret Place may be her most ambitious book yet . . . completely riveting. French offers a chilling portrait of the ways in which teenage friendships can overrule any conventional morality. - Thriller of the Week (Mail on Sunday)
Prepare to be hooked by one of the stand-out books of the year. (Fabulous)
Tana French is now the undisputed queen of Irish crime fiction . . . her books transcend genre. Her prose is "literary fiction", her plots are intricate, her characters and dialogue compellingly real. (Sunday Independent)
I haven't been so absorbed in a boarding school story since Malory Towers, though St Kilda's in Dublin is altogether a darker place, and even had Enid Blyton been on speed, she could never have achieved Tana French's whip-smart skills when it comes to teenage girl dialogue (Enid would have been horrified at their language) and plot development . . . French ratchets up the tension in familiar fashion and is a marvellous chronicler of the intense, anxious and passionate lives of teenagers. (Daily Mail)
Unmissable Mystery . . . Exquisitely crafted and utterly absorbing. Read it! (Heat)
An absolutely mesmerizing read (Gillian Flynn, author of GONE GIRL)
Winning combination of intricate plotting and psychological depth (Laura Wilson Saturday Guardian)
I know who killed him - but I'm envious of anyone who does not, because it means they have yet to read the new novel by the bestselling, multiple award-winning Irish author, Tana French, already acclaimed as "one of the finest crime writers in the world". (Herald)
Marian Keyes tweeted 'it's brilliant!', Marie Claire calls it 'a gripping read for those still pining for GONE GIRL' and Gillian Flynn says it's 'an absolutely mesmerizing read'. They all know who killed him. Do you?See all Product description
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Oh dear, dear. Gone is the usual format I have come to enjoy from Tana and her Dublin Murder Squad series of novels. The Secret Place is a mish mash of a tiresome story. Gone is the strong first person narrative of the lead detective told in real time, to be replaced by two time frames. This story is told through alternating chapters. Part A is a group of 4 teenage boarding school girls and Part B is told from Detective Stephen Moran's point of view, only he is NOT the Senior Investigating Officer. The murder happened over a year ago and this constant swapping every chapter between time frames and points of view drove me potty! It was easy to relate to Detective Stephen Moran as it is a workplace drama but teenage girls is another world! These stories are not aimed at the YA market so I felt it was wrong to donate half of this book to these teenagers and their childish rantings.
There is no specialist police work in this novel and this case is solved purely by talking to 8 school girls. The plot is average and when I got to the end, I felt disappointed. I ran through the what-if's and thought that adults would not have been fooled into being caught. The case was easy for the police to solve and they made an arrest in just one long day at the boarding school.
I did not find The Secret Place a thrilling read, more of a mystery and a drag at that! The murderer is confirmed around three quarters of the way through this book, leading to the frustration that you know more than the police! The last quarter is spent filling in the gaps, more questioning of the 8 school girls, obtaining a confession and alternating between time frames on every new chapter. Even when the girl is in custody the book falls back in time to reveal a motive as to why this case moved from cold to active!
I found The Secret Place to be a POOR read and it only gets 2 stars from me. This was a big disappointment for me as I have given the previous 4 books in this series the top score of 5 stars each. I hope that the 6th novel sees Tana back to form, otherwise it is 2 strikes and you are out lass.
The writing style is smooth, the background feels authentic, and the characterisation is superb, but the plot is only so-so, and the structure is weak.
With eight main suspects, all eight of whom are teenage girls of the same age attending the same boarding school with the same interests and the same secrets, it's difficult to keep them apart. Halfway through the book I was finally able to differentiate them and appreciate their distinct personalities. But by that time, it was too late, and I couldn't remember who had said what.
The structure is odd. It alternates between chapters from the point-of-view of the investigator after the murder happened, and chapters from the point of view of one of the eight teenage girls who are the main suspects. The structure might work but unfortunately it doesn't.
The chapters from the PoV of the investigator, a fiercely ambitions dead-cases officer who wants to get into the murder squad at almost any price, who possess brilliant people skills yet isn't social, unfold at a good pace and are a pleasure to read. But the chapters from the various girls' perspectives... they don't work. In part this is because there are simply too many changes, and the reader needs to get into the head of a different person every view pages. In part it's because the chapters are all written in the same voice, not reflecting the distinct personalities of the point-of-view characters. And most annoyingly, in each chapter theres a break of point of view when, tucked at the end of an unconnected paragraph, there's the statement 'Chris as x-number weeks to live.' Since the girls didn't know Chris was going to get murdered, they couldn't have been aware how much time was left until his murder. So this jolted me out of their point of view into a God's-view (omniscient) perspective. And in the next sentence the reader is supposed to be back inside the girl's mind, worrying about make-up, breaking curfew, secret smokes and boys.
If you're a fan of Tana French, by all means read this book. You may enjoy it. But if you're new, try one of her other books first (perhaps 'The Likeness' The Likeness: Dublin Murder Squad: 2 (Dublin Murder Squad series) ) to get an impression of what she can really do.
I really enjoyed the twin story lines and the book as a whole so much that I have now gone straight back to reread the action in chronological order
that is to say the prologue and the even numbered chapters which give the backstory and immediate aftermath of the murder from the point of view of four school-friends. and then the odd numbered chapters which give the day long re-opened murder investigation a year after the crime was committed.
I can see why the story would have annoyed some people in its style/content, but it's a good fit for me and I feel like I've got two books for the price of one.
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