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"Brilliant storyline, great who dunnit…"
I found this book a little hard to get into but once the story started to unfold I really enjoyed it and liked the way it went backwards and forwards till both times met. Would definitely recommend to anyone wanting a good who dunnit to read.Read moreLess
"Easy to read - keeps you guessing…"
I had no idea what to expect from this book but I have to say that I enjoyed it. I couldn't put it down which surprised me. I liked the way it was written from different perspectives and it kept me guessing who did it til quite close to the end.Read moreLess
"Worth a read…"
I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book, especially as it was much longer than I had anticipated - I thought it would take me ages to read but once I got started it wasn't easy to put down. Well written but a bit slow in a few places, the author keeps you guessing right till the end. Not a book to remain in my permanent collection of reads but definitely worth picking up.Read moreLess
The setting of this book in the school and the fact the author gives the school girls a voice as well as the more typical cop duo makes this a different read from the usual crime novel. There is some lovely prose and I did find the story engaging but began to lose a bit of patience with it towards the end. I also found the use of a ghost story by the detectives rather unconvincing and the "magic" element in the girls relationship a distraction that never really went anywhere and was hence rather unbelievable.Read moreLess
I admit I did enjoy this book and found it quite a page turner, though it felt like a bit of a guilty read. Initially I was decidedly put off by part of the premise of copper from poor background entering the world of a posh girls' boarding school - it seemed facile and a simplistic dynamic to set up. I think the writer just about managed to get away with this by pretty much acknowledging it, and the story had enough interest to balance it out.
The narrative was quite effective at opening up each of the charaters one by one, though despite this I found some of the 'bitch' group harder to distinguish. I'm not sure how realistic some of their valley girl language was (please say not - totes amazeballs) but overall it did bring back some memories of teenage years that I don't want to go back to!
The dynamic between the two detectives was probably the most interesting, perhaps because it felt more relevant and complex, despite occurring over the course of just one day.
Like some of the other reviewers, I'm completely baffled by the minor supernatural thread which nearly made me put the book down for good.
I did guess quite early on who did it, but there was enough interest in the book to keep me going to find out more.Read moreLess
SET IN A GIRLS' SCHOOL, THE STORY CENTRES AROUND THE MURDER OF A SCHOOLBOY FROM A NEIGHBOURING SCHOOL. I FOUND IT HARD GOING AS THE STORY TOOK A LONG TIME TO EVOLVE. IT IS OVER 500 PAGES BUT COULD HAVE BEEN REDUCED AS THERE WAS A LOT OF DIALOGUE AND NOT MUCH ACTION TO KEEP YOU WONDERING. THE ENDING WAS DISAPPOINTING.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"Very good characters, beautifully imaginative, a bit long…"
Beautifully written, very imaginative. I cannot wait for the next mystery to be solved by Detectives Moran and Conway. That said, the book could have done with some heavy editing, it was a bit overlong.Read moreLess
A fascinating read. A page turner, easy to read.Worth reading. Try it and then pass it on to friends.Read moreLess
"Wow, suspense, inner fear, insecurities ...a good read !…"
It took time to get into the language style of the book. The characters and personalities of the girls could have been more distinguishable. The book highlighted the strength and weakness of a close bond of friendship, which caused inner fear and jealously, leading to a murder.
Overall it was intriguing in a quiet manner, on a par with Midsummer Murders.Read moreLess
I haven't finished the book yet so still don't know who did it! That said it took me a while to get into it, but am now trying to read it at every opportunity. Each character can be pictured from the information provided so we get to see their weaknesses. Good read, but a bit of a brick in my handbag on my commute!Read moreLess
"Exceptional, I've been missing out…"
I have read many reviews since finishing The Secret Place, to gauge wider opinion and see if others were as convinced and drawn in as me and the overwhelming opinion seems to be yes, it's brilliant. The novel builds and builds and builds until the tension is almost too much to even contemplate putting the book down at times. It is the fifth book that French has written about the Dublin Murder Squad and there are characters who I believe are recurring although I haven't read any of her other books and didn't feel I was missing out because of this.
The almost cold case is instigated because of Holly and the photo she finds, the message below it proving to DS Moran and Detective Conway that there are six individuals who were either responsible for the murder or were the one who put up the card and knew exactly who had carried out the crime. The novel switches backwards and forwards and ends where it begins, as the two stories converge, it's a wonderful style to use and the way the ending blends together is probably my favourite thing about the whole novel.
French perfectly captures the intensity of female friendships and teenage schoolgirls from my experience and the added depth and intensity the novel contains I attributed to the boarding school setting, which obviously adds a further layer of closeness to the girls' relationships. The dialogue, especially that of chief bitch Joanne, is cutting and acerbic and completely reminiscent of the teenage girl I remember!
The pace of the novel seems slow at times but broodingly so, I found myself wanting to know more but not wanting to race forward and miss out on any key moments. I will say I think I knew who killed him relatively early on although it was clear French had setup a range of possibilities, something from the off made me finger this individual and I was quite satisfied to find out I was right, although the way in which is all unfolds is pretty heartbreaking.
On top of the case itself there is of course DS Moran's career hopes and Detective Conway's aggressive bitey nature as she tries to strive ahead as a woman in the Murder Squad. The novel is so much richer and deeper than I could have imagined and I love how each of the characters is given their opportunity to take centre stage through their interrogations, it really really impressed me.Read moreLess
"tough to get started but soon warms up…"
Thank you for the opportunity to read a free book Mumsnet. It was bigger than anticipated and slightly daunting when I got started. I read a few pages and found it difficult to get into to be honest. As it was free and a review expected I persevered and I'm so glad I did. Once I was a third of the way through I was hooked and eagerly devoured the rest of it. The author keeps you guessing until almost the end about who did it.Read moreLess
I was so disappointed with this, I was looking forward to an excellent crime novel. The story was quite bizarre, with a super natural theme which appeared to be just thrown in to fill a few pages. The interviews with the girls in the school were unbelieveable and the whole book was far too long. I would not be tempted to read another one by this article.Read moreLess
"Great idea but not believable…"
I did really enjoy this mystery but the concept of two detectives going to a girl's boarding school and questioning the pupils the way they did just wasn't believable which tainted the book. The supernatural element wasn't explained and I didn't see the point in that.you didn't know enough about the main adult characters to really care.
Aside from that I gave it four stars because I did enjoy it and felt three stars wouldn't do it justice. It was good that we didn't know who did it until near the end as hints pointed to many suspects.
I would still recommend this to read.Read moreLess
"A very contemporary whodunnit…"
I was chuffed to be sent a free copy of The Secret Place - thank you, Mumsnet. I had no idea what to expect from the book. It took me a while to adjust to the language and style and even the subject matter, but it was well worth it. Tana French's depiction of the peculiar atmosphere of a girls' school is uncanny - I'm gladder than ever that mine is several decades behind me! It would be a shame to say more - the story is so brilliantly told that it's best to leave it to speak for itself.Read moreLess
"Great premise but overlong and not very memorable…"
I love the premise of a murder in the grounds of an exclusive boarding school; from the blurb on the cover I was expecting The Secret History meets Malory Towers. Sadly the reality didn't quite live up to the hype; I found it hard to distinguish between some of the schoolgirl characters - they were all a bit samey, although the author has a good ear for dialogue. The plot dragged a bit and revolved too much about who did what with whose mobile phone for my liking. I found the vaguely supernatural elements distracting; for me they just undermined the credibility of the plot and didn't add anything. I liked the unusual relationship between the two police officers investigating the case but for me this lacked the twists, turns and thrills of, say, Gone Girl and was ultimately a little too forgettable.Read moreLess
"Worth a read…"
I enjoyed this book from the beginning. It is set in a slightly Enid Blytonesque girls school but the clever switching perspective from the intense relationship of the girls to the "lone wolf" characteristics of the main adults was engaging and added a layer to the "who dunnit". Ms French has carefully crafted her story flicking between the past and the present glancing at the trials of growing up and being a grown up without losing the pace of the story or the intrigue as we get to "knowing who killed him". A good page turner....you will want to find out the murderer.Read moreLess
It's rare that I agree with the description "page-turner," but this really is one. The best book I have read in a long time from an author new to me. I will definitely be seeking out her other work.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.