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The Secret Place Audio Download – Unabridged

3.5 out of 5 stars 191 customer reviews

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By Jood TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 April 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
St Kilda's, a girls' boarding school, run by nuns, is the setting for this novel. A year previously a popular boy from the neighbouring St Colm's has been found dead in the grounds of St Kilda's; the culprit has not been found. Enter Mr Plod in the shape of Stephen Moran, a young detective anxious to leave Cold Cases, so when he's handed a clue by one of the students from St Kilda's he grabs the opportunity with both hands, heading off to Murder where he meets one Antoinette Conway. Together they dash off to St Kilda's. These are the bare bones of the book.

The book is written in the popular back and forth way – alternating chapters of past and present which works quite well. From no suspects at all, suddenly there are eight – two rival gangs of four girls each, all from well-heeled, well-connected families. The characterisation of the girls is quite believable, however they all come across as selfish, shallow, and quite unlikeable; rivalry, jealousy, cloying friendship, bitchiness, mass hysteria – it's all there. The whole paranormal thing was a bit of a stretch and just irrelevant padding as far as I'm concerned. The boys are flat, lifeless one-dimensional creatures who hang around the periphery being loutish, and, predictably, the dead boy, gorgeous, popular is not all he seemed.

What I found totally unbelievable is the notion that the “present” all takes place within a day. I just can't see it – interviewing and re-interviewing eight teenage girls, searching their rooms, the school grounds, the library, all in a day? Was this the author's intention, or did she just not realise that's the way it turned out? I also found the mobile phones thing really confusing – maybe younger readers with more knowledge than I would be able to follow it.

Disappointingly, there is nothing new in this novel; it's light, quite entertaining, flimsy but far too long.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this on a whim, never having read anything by Tana French before- having just finished, I'm trying to choose which of her books to read next and hoping it will be equally excellent.

The events of the book take place almost entirely in and around an Irish private all-girls boarding school. A year after a boy from the nearby boys' school is found murdered on the grounds and with the investigation gone cold, detective Stephen Moran receives a photo of the victim found on the school's message board with the words "I know who killed him". Seizing his chance to work a murder case along with distinctly cold new boss Antoinette Conway, they head to the school with one day to find his killer.

Interspersed with their investigation is the story of the devoted and doomed friendship of four teenage girls, told over the year leading up to the murder, slowly setting out the secrets, lies, rivalries and love stories needing to be untangled to solve the case.
This is a long book of two halves- one a very traditional crime novel, with a series of interviews, re-interviews, clues and red-herrings as the detectives slowly uncover the truth behind the killing. The other side is quite a dark tale of the intense friendship, love and hate for a group of teenagers in essentially their own world, which is unstoppably coming to end.
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By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Tana French has proved to be one of those authors who can bring us into an otherwise unknown world. In this novel we visit the classes, those who have and those who do not have as much. A girl's school, St. Kilda, convent, where the adolescent slips into the beginnings of adulthood. In these walls and grasses and gardens lay secrets and at times other worldly sightings. It is at once a mystery,but also a time of facing truths.

Detective Stephan Moran of the Cold Case Squad receives a visit from a young woman, Holly MacKay. She was once a witness to an inquiry and Moran seemed to be the person she could relate to. She brought with her a clue to a murder that had occurred twelve months past. Moran knew this might be his ticket to the Murder Squad, so he played it to the hilt. He brings the information to the Murder Squad and Detective Antoinette Conway. She is a hard nose woman who has to put up with the bullying and suggestive comments of her call male colleagues. But, she knows her stuff, realizes Moran may be helpful in obtaining info from the young women at St. Kilda's.

The story alternates between the current investigation and events from the year leading up to the murder, interspersed with the lives of several young women at the school. This is well done, we now have two sides of the perception, and two sides of what really went down. The writing is pure Tana French, perceptive, intelligent, does not leave anyone with the answers. You must squirm and think through for the clues to make sense.

Not for a million dollars would I want to revisit adolescence, but we do it here. The sweet press and light of the early years is replaced with the uncertainty and hormone release of the mid teens. Learning what can be done, what must be done, and the restrictions of life with the nuns.

Recommended. prisrob 09-04-14
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