The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad #5) by Tana French

Book Description:

Published: September 2, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

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.

Review –

Detective Stephen Moran, ambitious and working in the Cold Case unit and hoping to graduate to the Murder Squad, gets a surprise visit from Holly Mackey. Holly is the teenage daughter of a colleague ,Frank Mackey, and a boarder at St Kilda’s school, a very private  girls school. She has brought a message she’s spotted pinned up on the eponymous “secret place”, a noticeboard where the girls may relieve their feelings by anonymously posting their innermost secrets. A photograph of murder victim Chris Harper, 16-year-old heart-throb student from Colm’s, the neighbouring and equally exclusive boys’ school, is accompanied by the words “I know who killed him” – cut, in the manner of a ransom note, from a book.

Moran presents the evidence to Antoinette Conway, the detective who has been investigating the as-yet-unsolved year-old case, and he is permitted to accompany her to St Kilda’s to help with the resulting inquiry. Hard-bitten and abrasive, Conway isn’t popular with her colleagues, and both she and Moran have a lot to prove. Neither of the detectives, both of whom come from working-class backgrounds, are particularly comfortable in such a bastion of privilege, and the headteacher, Miss McKenna, already unhappy about the damage done to the school’s reputation when young Chris was found in the grounds with his head bashed in, is less than delighted to see them.

Taking place over a single day, with flashbacks to events in the preceding year counting down the time to the boy’s death, The Secret Place is told from the points of view of Moran (the present) and Holly and her three friends (the past). The characterization of the girls is particularly strong: all the manufactured attitude, intense loyalty, harsh judgment and vying for alpha status with a rival clique in the way that only adolescent girls can. Joanne Heffernan, a rival clique’s queen bee – dealing out casual humiliation even to her acolytes and claiming virtual, if not actual, droit du seigneur over any boy she fancies – is an absolute masterpiece of vulnerable cruelty. Here, as in Megan Abbott’s Dare Me and The Fever, the incessant and often vicious jockeying for position is described with such appalling accuracy as to leave this reviewer practically weeping with gratitude that she is no longer a teenager.

Beyond the murder mystery, which leaves the reader in suspense throughout, the novel explores the mysteries of friendship, loyalty and betrayal, not only among adolescents, but within the police force as well.

This was another great read in a great series.

 

 

 

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The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad #2) by Tana French

Book Description:

Published: July 17, 2008

Format: Audio/OverDrive

The haunting follow up to the Edgar Award-winning debut In the Woods

Tana French astonished critics and readers alike with her mesmerizing debut novel, In the Woods. Now both French and Detective Cassie Maddox return to unravel a case even more sinister and enigmatic than the first. Six months after the events of In the Woods, an urgent telephone call beckons Cassie to a grisly crime scene. The victim looks exactly like Cassie and carries ID identifying herself as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie once used. Suddenly, Cassie must discover not only who killed this girl, but, more importantly, who is this girl? A disturbing tale of shifting identities, The Likeness firmly establishes Tana French as an important voice in suspense fiction.

Review –

I am experiencing a wicked headache so I am borrowing words from KIRKUS REVIEW. I loved this book and gave it five stars on GoodReads.

“The discovery of her murdered doppelgänger leads a Dublin detective to insert herself into the victim’s life.

Cassandra Maddox, the Irish cop introduced in French’s In the Woods (2007), gets an urgent call from her homicide-detective boyfriend Sam O’Neill. She is to drop everything, disguise herself and hustle to a murder scene that has clearly left Sam shaken. His distress is understandable. The corpse in the abandoned cottage outside the depressed suburban village of Glenskehy is a dead ringer for Cassie. Stranger still, the name on the victim’s ID is Lexie Madison, the same name Cassie used during a long, dangerous, undercover operation. Before she was stabbed, Lexie was one of five residents, all Trinity University students, living in Whitethorn House, a mansion inherited by one of the students. Frank Mackey, Cassie’s tough supervisor from her days in undercover, thinks the best bet for solving the Lexie murder case is to withhold news of the death from the public. This way, Cassie can pose as Lexie and perhaps get to the bottom of what happened. There are enough clues to Lexie’s life in her phone camera that Cassie, against Sam’s better judgment, takes the challenge. Several days later, armed and wired for sound, Cassie is dropped off at Whitethorn, where she is taken back into what proves to be a very tightly knit group. There is dark, brilliant Daniel, who owns the house, gay Justin, clever Abby and beautiful Rafe. Using the formidable acting skills that made her so successful in undercover work, Cassie seems able to convince the friends that she is Lexie. As she begins to reconstruct the events leading up to the murder, she finds herself sucked into the group, and her loyalties begin to shift.

Police procedures, psychological thrills and gothic romance beautifully woven into one stunning story.”

Me again -While the crime is solved, the killer is presumed to be Daniel BUT I’m not too sure and there were a few other things that were left hanging too, like who was the father of Lexie’s baby?  But that aside, it is a fantastic read/and the audio book narrator was delightful to listen to.

The Trespasser(Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Antoinette Conway, the tough, abrasive detective from The Secret Place, is still on the Murder squad, but only just. She’s partnered up with Stephen Moran now, and that’s going well – but the rest of her working life isn’t. Antoinette doesn’t play well with others, and there’s a vicious running campaign in the squad to get rid of her. She and Stephen pull a case that at first looks like a slam-dunk lovers’ tiff, but gradually they realise there’s more going on: someone on their own squad is trying to push them towards the obvious solution, away from nagging questions. They have to work out whether this is just an escalation in the drive to get rid of her – or whether there’s something deeper and darker going on.

Review –

I don’t know if it was the narrator or the fact that this is number six in the series and I have only read the first one, but it just seemed to go on and on and I felt oppressed under the weight of it. Not until the last two chapters did I really enjoy it. 

While the premise is good and I did like the ending I was glad when it was over. That being said, I plan to find earlier books in the series and give them a try. I don’t like to give up on a good murder wh0-done it!

 

In The Woods by Tana French

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Rob Ryan and his partner, Cassie Maddox, land the first big murder case of their police careers: a 12-year-old girl has been murdered in the woods adjacent to a Dublin suburb. Twenty years before, two children disappeared in the same woods, and Ryan was found clinging to a tree trunk, his sneakers filled with blood, unable to tell police anything about what happened to his friends. Ryan, although scarred by his experience, employs all his skills in the search for the killer and in hopes that the investigation will also reveal what happened to his childhood friends. In the Woods is a superior novel about cops, murder, memory, relationships, and modern Ireland. The characters of Ryan and Maddox, as well as a handful of others, are vividly developed in this intelligent and beautifully written first novel, and author French relentlessly builds the psychological pressure on Ryan as the investigation lurches onward under the glare of the tabloid media. Equally striking is the picture of contemporary Ireland, booming economically and fixated on the shabbiest aspects of American popular culture. An outstanding debut and a series to watch for procedural fans. Thomas Gaughan
Copyright © American Library Association.
 
Review –
Everthing I’ve read about this book seemed very favorable and  that’s why I chose to read it, but I’m was thrilled with it.
 
The premise of the book is great and I thought what could be more interestering than a new murder investigation being tied to an old unsolved investigation but, by midway through ,I found it laborious to turn the pages.  Reading each word was a chore, so much so that I laid it to the side for weeks ,but knew in the long run I’d have to finish it ,so I did.
 
If I had a rating scale I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars.