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The Secret Place: Dublin Murder Squad    by Tana French order for
Secret Place
by Tana French
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Tana French's new Irish police procedural brings back characters last encountered in Faithful Place - Frank Mackey; his daughter Holly; and the ambitious young officer suborned by Mackey, Detective Stephen Moran. Six years later, the latter has moved up the ladder to work in Cold Cases and has his eye on the elite Dublin Murder Squad.

So when sixteen year old Holly Mackey shows up with new evidence in a murder that occurred on the grounds of her private girls' school, Stephen is all over it. He contacts the case's lead detective, Antoinette Conway, who carries her own baggage. Lacking a partner, she accepts Steve's help for the day and they work the case together at St. Kilda's. There, a year after Chris Harper's murder, someone has posted a card on a noticeboard dubbed the Secret Place. Words cut out of a book say 'I know who killed him.'

At the school, the detectives find two tight foursomes - Holly's close set of friends (Julia, Selena and Becca) and the classic clique led by mean queen Joanne with followers Gemma, Alison and Orla. One of these eight girls posted the card on the bulletin board - which one and why? As Stephen and Antoinette interview the young women, Tana French takes her readers back in time to reveal the interactions that led up to the tragedy, as well as the close ties that bind Holly's foursome - and the pact that they made together.

As always, Tana French gives fans a literary mystery, written lyrically and with extraordinary empathy and strong, credible characterization. She remains one of my favorite mystery authors for very good reasons.

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