Monday, January 19, 2015

The Secret Place by Tana French

This is the latest in Tana French's murder squad books and in it, not only do we see a familiar face but we also see murder brought to a private, Catholic girl's school. Stephen Moran, who we met in Faithful Place, is revealed to be extremely ambitious. He's a part of the Cold Case Squad who wants to be a part of the Murder Squad. He sees his opportunity when Holly Mackey, the teenage daughter of another detective and a student at St. Kilda's, arrives and asks to speak with him. She brought a message with her that she spotted on a board in the school where girls may reveal their most private thoughts and feelings anonymously. A picture of the murder victim, a boy named Chris, has been placed on the board along with the words "I know who killed him" in the style of a ransom note.

Moran then finds out who the detectives on the case were - one is retired and the other is Antoinette Conway - a tough detective who is still on the force. Moran is permitted to accompany Conway to St. Kilda's to help with the follow up investigation prompted by the postcard. The novel takes place over the course of one day and the chapters alternate between the present day and the past. The novel is told from the point of view of Moran and Holly and her friends. I loved how she drew the girls and the competing cliques: Holly's vs. Joanne's. Joanne's group is more of the Queen Bee type of group. She also was fantastic in showing the gender divides. They are especially apparent between the two detectives; however the boys and the girls interactions were also very enlightening. The claustrophobic world within a world of the boarding school, like nesting dolls, is rendered well in this novel. Loved it. It's not a speed read but well worth it.

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