Friday, 4 July 2014

Review ~ The Secret Place by Tana French

The Secret Place
Paperback received from the publisher via Love Reading in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 28th 2014

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

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.

My Opinion

Okay, so I will admit that this book isn't the usual genre I read and I have never heard of this author before. This is the first book I've read by Tana French and I did consider it a risk. However, I'm interested in books with detectives/cops in right now so this book intrigued me. When I saw it come in the post though, I was starting to question whether it was a risk worth taking due to the length of the book. It was a huge paperback and 512 pages long and I didn't even know whether it was for me. Saying that though, this book shocked me in more ways than one.

Firstly, I was surprised to find that most of the characters were teens. I had forgotten the blurb by the time I received a copy so from previous experiences, I was expecting adult characters. This came as a pleasant surprise as although their language did "like totes" annoy me due to things like that, as they felt unrealistic and overused, the book did feel closer to my audience than I expected. 

As well as this, I was surprised by how hard it was to stop reading. I didn't think I would become as engaged in the story as I did but the book kept me turning pages right up until the end. The mystery and the way everything linked together was crafted beautifully so that the narrative flowed seamlessly and I liked the way the present was broken up with the past so that it gave plenty of characters a motive.

If there was one thing I would have wanted changed, I did feel at times it became slightly repetitive and Tana French's writing style didn't always connect with me. However, the intrigue at who killed Chris kept me reading and although I had my suspicions, it was still a satisfying ending.

Overall, I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It exceeded all of my expectations with how it kept me engaged and I did struggle to put it down. It's not my usual genre but I don't think it'll be the last Tana French book I read.

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