Fiction Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Recommendations

The Secret Place by Tana French

I know I’m on a bit of a Tana French kick at the moment, but I couldn’t not mention The Secret Place. Out of the entire Dublin Murder Squad series, this is my absolute favorite.

Pinned to “the secret place”, a bulletin board in the St. Kilda’s boarding school for girls, is a photo of Chris Harper, the boy who attended Kilda’s neighboring boy’s school, the boy who – a year earlier – was murdered. Beneath the photo, a caption reads: I know who killed him. This message reignites the stalled murder investigation and leads Detectives Moran and Conway to a close-knit group of sixteen-year-old girls who are somehow, inexplicably linked to the dead boy.

I can be a little wary of adult books with young characters because sometimes they dance over into YA territory (not typically my cup of tea, though I do love a good hunger game) or seem to belittle and simplify the players, but French does neither. It’s by no stretch of the imagination a younger book, and the characters are anything but simplistic. French captures the teenagers’ voices so accurately I suspect she may have lived undercover in a boarding school during the writing of this novel. Each of the four characters in this girls group is so unique and compelling that by the end I loved them all dearly.

And of course no Tana French book is complete without a suspenseful plot, heartbreaking emotional center, and unforeseeable twists. The Secret Place does not disappoint.



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