Monday 15 September 2014

I have a question about The Secret Place by Tana French.

Lately I've been loving anything crime/mystery/thriller, and one book that keeps on popping up in my recommendations is The Secret Place by Tana French.  It sounds right up my street and I really want to read it.


Goodreads tells me that The Secret Place is #5 in a series.

If you've read The Secret Place (and the rest of the books in the series) can you tell me if The Secret Place can be read as a standalone novel? I've read in some places that in can (while others mention that there are recurring characters and some spoilers for previous books in the series in this one).

Typically, I would start at #1 in the series, but something about this book really appeals to me and I want to read it ASAP.  I don't think I have the patience to read four other books before I dive right in, and also, while I love mysteries and thrillers, usually gritty crime is not really my thing. Here, I love that the setting is a posh boarding school --and the mystery sounds like a really good one with lots of twists and turns.

The Secret Place by Tana French || Release date: August 2014

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.

The Secret Place is a powerful, haunting exploration of friendship and loyalty, and a gripping addition to the Dublin Murder Squad series.


Sounds good, right?

If you've written a (spoiler-free) review of The Secret Place, feel free to leave your link in comments.


  1. Yep, you can absolutely start with this one. Each book focuses on a different member of the Dublin Murder Squad so you don't need to know what happened or the history of characters in previous books. And there are no major spoilers for previous books.
    My spoiler free review is here

    By the way, I adored it! :)

  2. I read it as a stand alone and I gave it 5 stars. You really don't need to have read the others. It's fantastic.

  3. Definately can be read as a stand alone book.

  4. Thanks, Trish. I think I saw you raving about this one on Twitter a while back. :)

  5. Thanks, Charlotte. This one seems to be getting lots of five stars!

  6. Thank you! I'll be buying a copy soon. Excited to read it! :)

  7. Laura Maryam Nazmdeh2 November 2014 at 16:58

    I know this is a few months late buuut I read The Secret Place as a stand-alone novel (not realising it was part of a series before I started it) and I loved it!

    Review on my blog here (and it's spoiler-free):

    Have you read it yet? If so what did you think? :)

  8. I know I'm a bit late but I read this as a stand-alone novel (not realising it was part of a series when I started reading) and I really enjoyed it!
    My review (no spoilers) is on my blog:

    Have you read it yet? If so what did you think?! Laura

  9. Thanks! I haven't read it yet (it's on my list and I need to get to it soon!) I'll check out your review when I do for sure! :)


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