The Secret Place; Tana French
Viking - 2014
The 5th novel in the Dublin Murder Squad series, Tana French once again shines on, delivering a psychological thriller that does not disappoint.
In The Secret Place, almost 2 years earlier, Christopher Harper, 16, who had attended St. Colms an all male boarding school for the elite was found bludgeoned to death. His body was found of the grounds of St. Kildas, an all female boarding school nearby. His killer was never found and the case pretty much went cold.
One day, Holly Mackey , a troubled St. Kilda's girl who appeared in an earlier novel, arrives at police headquarters with something significant enough to reopen the murder case. Holly shows, Detective Stephen Moran, who has been looking for an opportunity to get his career jump started, something posted on a anonymous message board, at St Kildas. The message board known as the "secret place" is a picture of the deceased boy with the words "I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM." Detective Moran brings the new evidence to Detective Antoinette Conway who had previously worked on the case. Detective Conway is smart, tough, somewhat abrasive and thick-skinned -- she has to be as the only female on the murder squad she is disliked by many of her peers.
With the investigation reopened, the suspects are many, especially since some of the St. Kilda's girls were sneaking out to meet up with Chris prior to and around the time of his murder. Surprisingly, the entire story takes place in a 24-hour period and is told in two different timelines....the investigation in the present and the months leading up to the murder. The author does a terrific job drawing us into the insular world of the privileged teens, teenage angst, friendships, loyalties, rivalries and meanness. The intricate details given and secrets revealed, had me with notebook in hand playing amateur detective as I read. I enjoyed the characters, the writing and the dynamics between the detectives as well.
Although The Secret Place would be enjoyable on its own, I highly recommend reading the series in order, beginning with In the Woods, as some of the characters reappear in subsequent novels. Well worth your time for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers with substance.
(finished copy from publisher for review)