Sunday, September 7, 2014

(79)The Secret Place by Tana French


Almost a year has passed since a teenage boy has been murdered on the grounds of a Dublin boarding school.  The trail had pretty much gone cold when one of the students of St. Kilda's walked into The Murder Squad with a picture of the victim and on the picture was the message "I know who killed him.".  Holly Mackay pulled the card off of a bulletin board at the school called "The Secret Place", a safe place where students can post anonymous secrets.Holly has dealt with Detective Stephen Moran before and she knows she can trust him to be fair, yet judicious.  Moran doesn't know what to expect when he and his partner, Conway, walks into the all girls school, but he does not expect that finding the killer will be easy.   The young women at St. Kilda's are crafty, sneaky,cliquey,  secretive, and have something to hide.  Will Moran and Conway be able to wade through the stories and get to the truth?

The Secret Place is an exceptionally well written murder mystery set among a backdrop of St. Kilda's all girls boarding school,  a scene that screams exclusive and secretive.  The nuns, the hallways, the classrooms all  added to the Gothic feel of the place. There are two groups of a girls at the heart of this book.  Joanne and her crew are the "popular" girls. They present the air of snobbery that you come to expect from boarding school students.  They have all the cool clothes and all the hot guys from the neighboring boys school, the school where the deceased Chris Harper was a student.   Holly Mackay and her friends are the second group at the center of this story, they are a group of misfits and are thought to be "weird" by other girls in the school.  Moran tries to wade through the lies and gossip to get to the truth and if you know teen girls, you know just how difficult that can be.  Watching how some of the young women tried to manipulate Moran was almost frightening, but watching how he handled them was almost a work of beauty.   The more he talks to the girls the more it is clear that Chris Harper was a master at manipulation and it is that behavior that got him killed.

Bottom line, The Secret Place is one of those books that sucks you in with it's scenery, it's twists and turns and dark secrets.  The author weaves a tale that will have you guessing and second guessing. A perfect tale to get you in the mood for Halloween!

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