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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

wow. Tana French just knocked this one so far out of the ballpark, they’re going to have to retrieve that ball from the moon.

this latest installment of the Dublin Murder Squad quasi-series gives us Detective Stephen Moran, last seen in Faithful Place trying hard not to take excessive rafts of shit from Frank Mackey. Moran’s been shanghaid into a boarding school murder by young Holly Mackey, but Moran’s not the lead detective–Antoinette Conway is, and she’s so hardboiled that i’d forgotten she had a given name until now (in the book, she’s always just “Conway”). so Moran is now trying not to take excessive rafts of shit from Conway.

or from eight boarding school girls–Holly included–who become the core list of suspects in the murder of a teenaged boy. it’s with these girls that French makes absolute literary magic.

it’s a strange age, adolescence, and we who passed it by long ago forget how vivid it can be–as if all the colors in the world were supersaturated, and every moment can bring a change that will send one’s tiny life into the stratosphere. French does such a beautiful job of detailing all the promise (and dark threat) of those moments, it’s breathtaking. growing into an alien body, being expected (coerced, pressured) to be things one is not, those enticing but also sometimes predatory Others (here provided by a nearby boys’ school), and having a love for one’s friends that goes beyond all mortal understanding: French writes these girls’ inner lives with a sharp perception i can honestly say i’ve never seen in contemporary literature.

and oh ya, the mystery is good too đŸ™‚

we get a walk-on by Frank Mackey, who’s just one of those characters that does his best to steal the scene, and here, protecting his cub, he’s downright chilling. and i do sincerely hope that Conway is our next protag in the series. but when i re-read this book, it’s not the detectives or the mystery i’m going to save my attention for–it’s the girls.