Monday, November 3, 2014

The Secret Place by Tana French

It’s no secret that I love Tana French, who wrote some of my favorite mysteries like Broken Harbor and In the Woods. In her new mystery, The Secret Place, she really outdoes herself with a multi-layered exploration of a death at an elite girls’ school in Dublin.

Detective Stephen Moran has been languishing in Cold Cases after the events of The Likeness, looking out for his chance at promotion. When Holly Mackey, another detective’s daughter, brings him a lead in an unsolved case, he’s bound to turn the lead over to the Murder Squad. However, he recognizes his moment of opportunity and talks himself into a temporary partnership with the lead detective, prickly and unlikable Conway.

What follows for Moran and Conway is one very tense and intense day and night of investigation. What follows for the novel is chapters of the present, interspersed with chapters of the past, when the deep friendship of Holly Mackey and her three roommates dominoes into a series of events that culminates in the murder of a teenage boy. The chapters from the girls’ point of view are exquisitely written, in a complementary but distinctive style from the detectives’ chapters, and the story unfolding within the story of the investigation is paced perfectly, so that clues from each allow you to start hypothesizing about what really happened, long before you can anticipate that final twist.

Love it! Read it in three days, all 452 pages of it! Tana French fans, fans of foreign mysteries, fans of boarding school stories and coming of age stories and lovely writing—this one’s for you.

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