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.
Giving this book a 2 breaks my heart. The Dublin Squad series by Tana French is among my top 2 mystery series of all time, and I’ve loved every book in the series – except for this one.
The magic is gone.
The writing in this book lacks the sparkle of the previous ones. It may be that the main character, Detective Stephen Moran, is particularly dull. The previous narrators have all absorbed me into their story, they all had such personality. Rob is tragic. Cassie is strong. Mackey a tough son of a bitch, etc. All of them had something beneath the surface. Stephen is just plain old boring.
I didn’t like the supporting characters. His partner is the epitome of the bitchy detective, tough because she has to play in the boy’s club. Typically, a character like that should be written to evoke some sympathy within me, but I had no emotions towards her except distaste.
The portrayal of the teenaged characters in the books were over the top. From the bitchy queen bees to the “weirdoes.” Altogether, there were 8 teenaged girls and more boys at the boarding school to keep track of, and it was just such an effort keeping them all in line.
The narrative was the most frustrating part of the story. Unlike the previous books, the narrative within this one jumped so much, from character to character, from past to present. It got to the point where I felt like a detective myself just trying to figure out when the narrative was taking place.
Oh, well. 4/5 books ain’t bad, but I’m just so disappointed 🙁