Summary (from Goodreads):
“The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says, I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.
Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. The Secret Place, a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.
But everything they discover leads them back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen’s links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda’s will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly’s father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined.
The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.”
This is my first Tana French novel and I’ve heard amazing things about her and her books. It seems like pretty much every single person I know is absolutely in love with them. (So I was very excited to get a copy at ALA and, after that mysteriously disappeared, to get a copy through Penguin’s First to Read program.)
I was instantly drawn into this book, which goes back and forth in time and has two viewpoints (Holly and her friends in the past and Stephen in the present)…and then I hit a subplot that kind of ruined the book for me. (SPOILER: Holly and her friends seem to all develop some kind of psychic ability. I can deal with one Carrie but not with four of them. Obviously I can’t share if/how that subplot was resolved.)
After that, the book lost of a lot of credibility with me and even though that’s a very minor part of the book, I was like, “WHAT?!” and it affected everything else.
I would definitely read another book of hers but this one was a bit of a letdown.