Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)” as Want to Read:
The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Secret Place

(Dublin Murder Squad #5)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  76,867 ratings  ·  7,810 reviews
A year ago a boy was found murdered at a girlsʼ boarding school, and the case was never solved. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to join Dublin’s Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey arrives in his office with a photo of the boy with the caption: “I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.” Stephen joins with Detective Antoinette Conway to reopen the case—ben ...more
Hardcover, 452 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Viking
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Secret Place, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Tracy King
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Paul I thought this one was excellent, but I loved Broken Harbor. Her only novel I didn't think was outstanding was The Likeness, which I enjoyed overall b…moreI thought this one was excellent, but I loved Broken Harbor. Her only novel I didn't think was outstanding was The Likeness, which I enjoyed overall but had a problem with my suspension of disbelief with the premise.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  76,867 ratings  ·  7,810 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #5)
okay. so let me get the bad news out of the way. this book has disrupted my opinion-based observation that every single tana french book has been better then the one that came before. which is probably for the best - it was starting to feel downright witchy, her powers, and it is an impossible thing to sustain, this exponential improvement from book to book.

having said that, this book is still absolutely amazing and riveting and everything you want out of a literary crime novel. this woman is a
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
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
Emily May
Sep 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"If I've learned one thing today, it's that teenage girls make Moriarty look like a babe in the woods."

Tana French takes on the world of teenage girls. This book was 100% worth waiting for and, though I've loved all of French's mysteries, I think this could actually be my favourite. It was just so wonderful to get back into a book full of great characterisation, intricate relationships, clever red herrings and a writing style that so wholly fits my tastes. French writes the only kind of leng
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“This has nothing to do with what anyone else in all the world would approve or forbid. This is all their own.”
Reducing Tana French's books to a simple concept of "murder mysteries" would be like describing Anna Karenina as "that story about the train".

I called them "intense psychological f*ckeries" before, and that also is not enough. I just don't know how to express my admiration for her skills in weaving bright and intricate and yet subtle relationship webs based in brilliant clever char
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the thing that makes this story so unique is that it investigates a cold case. im pretty sure every single crime mystery/thriller ive read was about an active investigation, so the fact that this deals with an old unsolved murder and gives a different crime perspective was really exciting for me.

again, true to TF style, this installment has a very character driven narrative. while the crime is the centre of the story, its how the characters and their actions are written that makes this compelli
Elyse Walters
Almost a 3 star rating!

I liked the detectives! And, I wanted to know who the killer was, so I HAD to keep reading.
"The Secret Place" is NOT as good as 'ALL' other Tana French books. If you're a HUGE TANA FRENCH FAN (as I am) ---You might be disappointed in this book.
If you've never read Tana French before, do not start with this one.

I managed to enjoy this book *enough* --(in spite of so much tedious teen -adolescent- 'lingo').

'Sometimes I felt, Tana French was pretty good giving a vo
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
Tana French finds new ways to dazzle and impress me with the fifth Dublin Murder Squad novel. Readers familiar with Faithful Place will remember Holly Mackey, daughter of Frank Mackey, and Dublin Police floater Stephen Moran. Seven years later, Moran is now working on Cold Cases and receives an unlikely visit from Holly, who is now sixteen and enrolled at St. Kilda's, an all-girls boarding school. Holly explains that the school has a wall where students can post anonymous comments about their li ...more
Damn, 2014 seems so far away… :( I am pretty excited to hear that we will be seeing Frank again, I love him. Now all I really need is that Tana finally decides to bring back Rob and Cassie (preferably together) so they can make up :).

Here’s how I imagine it went down:

French and her besties are at their high school reunion weekend. They’re sitting around drinking wine and reminiscing when someone decides to pull out the old ouija board from the attic storage. Much to their surprise, they channel Agatha Christie’s voice from Cat Among the Pigeons Flush with success, they try again, and discover Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes ( my review).

Alright; maybe I just have my own upcoming reunion on my mind. But I was
Few other books have conjured up the ghost of my teenage years as successfully as this one, dredged up the hazy remembrance of that first, most agonizing heartbreak, the subsequent amateurish cynicism summoned up to preclude the hassle of emotional hangups and the feeling of having only just the foggiest notion of how the world works.

It is awe-inspiring how Tana French continues to incorporate such authentic sociocultural commentary into narratives which are usually taken to be written for the s
Dan Schwent
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
A boy is found murdered on the grounds of a girl's school. One year later, Holly Mackey drops a photograph into the lap of Stephen Moran, a Cold Case cop in Dublin, indicating someone at St. Kilda's knows who the killer was. He takes the photograph to the Murder Squad and gets paired with Detective Conway. Will this be Moran's big chance at getting on the Murder Squad or will the case tear him apart?

The Secret Place is Tana French's fifth entry in the Dublin Murder Squad books and the last to da
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Who killed him? Well, I guessed pretty early on whodunnit (though it wasn't blindingly obvious) there WERE plenty of distractions to divert us along the way, although I got the motive wrong, so not that smart after all eh? HIM being a teenage boy found dead in the grounds of St Kilda's boarding school for girls, situated in a leafy suburb of Dublin. There are eight teenage girls in the frame, and any one of the little monsters ( sorry, teens ) could have been responsible for his death. The quest ...more
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
OMG, it was like HELLO? who killed Chris?

Tana French is the coolest writer this side of anywhere and her fifth entry in her fabulously well to do Dublin Murder Squad is the best one yet. Somehow, her writing just keeps getting better.

Detective Stephan Moran, from Faithful Place, and Holly Mackey, Frank Mackey’s daughter and also from Faithful Place, make this hypnotic and leaves the reader unwilling to put it down.

The relentless action begins when the picture of a murdered teenage boy is left on
Jun 06, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book from Goodreads-giveaways and I wish I could have given it a better rating alas I was very disappointed.
Sadly I only managed to read 160 of the 518 pages in 12 days as I had got to the point that I couldn't bear to pick the book up to continue.
I previously read Broken Harbour and really liked it awarding it four stars.
In my opinion this novel is tedious, the characters easily forgettable, empty and shallow, hence I do not know who killed him and I don't want to know
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, 2017
I'm over this series.

I keep slugging through these books, hoping and hoping that the next one will finally be great, and with every single one I'm let down and disappointed. Worst of all, I keep thinking about all the other books I'd prefer to be reading. Ok, I think my rant is over.

Another case, another murder for the Dublin Murder Squad- this one brings back a few familiar faces with Det. Stephen Moran and Holly Mackey- the spry teenager whose father Frank Mackey was the lead detective in a pr
Alex is The Romance Fox

I had hopes of continuing the "high" after reading Tana French's previous book, Broken Harbor, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... which I really liked...but sadly no......The Secret Place, 5th in her Dublin Murder Squad Series...was a total not hit but a total MISS...

This was a cold case....the Murder Square had not been able to solve the murder of a boy, whose body had been found in the grounds of an all girl's private school.
A year later, new evidence comes up in the form of a c
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was the first Tana French book that I didn't love wholeheartedly. I still liked the murder mystery, which is set at a preppy girls school, but the abundance of teen speak made this a less satisfying read.

I did like the introduction of Detective Antoinette Conway (who becomes the focus of book 6, "The Trespasser") and her earnest young partner, Stephen Moran. The pair have a good chemistry and it was fun to see them adjust to working together.

My minor complaint about the dialogue in this boo
Tim The Enchanter
EDIT - After giving this more thought, I have had to admit that this was a miss by Tana French's high standards. The fact is, even though it was not nearly as good as her other work, it was still great. If this were the first Tana French novel you were to read, you would not get the true Tana French experience. I have reduced my rating by 1 Star.

Posted to The Literary Lawyer.ca

Bronze Gavel for Best Novel of 2014

My #9 Read of 2014

A Rare but Excellent Miss - 4 Stars

I have not hidden
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, library
I’m a fan of Tana French but I don’t seem to read her books as often as I’d like. After months, this one became available from the library as an audio book.
Stephen Moran gets his chance to join the Dublin Homicide squad when a young girl shows up with a clue concerning the murder of a teenage boy the year prior. The book gives us two alternative story lines. Steven’s present day story as he works with Antoinette Conway. And then the historical view of the students of a posh girls’ boarding scho
Detective Frank Mackey had been Detective Stephen Moran’s boss at one stage, so when he was confronted with Mackey’s sixteen year old daughter Holly at the station, he wasn’t sure why she was there, or what she wanted of him. Holly had been a material witness for Moran some years previously and he hadn’t seen her since then. But Holly had a photo to give to Stephen Moran – a photo of Chris Harper who had been murdered at St Kilda, Holly’s school, a year ago – on it was stuck letters which appear ...more
Sean Barrs
To begin this review I will simply say: I didn’t like this book. I believe the author/publishers have made a massive advertising campaign to get this book “out there.” This made my initial expectations very high and this book just fell flat.

Ok, so we have an all-girl school in which a visiting boy has been mysteriously killed. The case has gone cold, a year has passed. New evidence appears so the detectives are sent to investigate again. They question several students and we begin to see the dif
Heidi The Reader
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Tana French writes another suspenseful mystery about a school full of girls, a murder and, of course, the Dublin Murder Squad.

"Detective Moran, there's someone to see you," pen pointing at the sofa. "Miss Holly Mackey." pg 15, ebook.

We're reintroduced to Stephen Moran and Holly Mackey, whom readers of the series will remember from Faithful Place. I highly suggest reading that book before this. The context is part of what makes The Secret Place so powerful.

Like in her previous books, French build
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it

In this 5th book in the 'Dublin Murder Squad' series, a prep school student is murdered, and teenagers get up to all kinds of devilry. The book can be read as a standalone.


Two classy British boarding schools, St. Kilda's for girls and St. Colm’s for boys are located close enough together that the students mingle on a regular basis.

When tragedy strikes and Chris Harper - a handsome boy from St. Colm's - is found murdered on the grounds of St. Kilda's, the case remains unsolved. About a year
Elle (ellexamines)
Instantly a close second favorite of this series. The Secret Place follows case investigators Stephen Moran and Antoinette Conway as they attempt to unravel the unsolved murder of a boy the year previous. At the center of it all lie two groups of girls: the odd girls, Selena, Becca, Julia, and Holly, and the other four, Joanne, Orla, Gemma, and Alison.
I love beautiful; always have. I never saw why I should hate what I wish I had. Love it harder. Work your way closer. Clasp your hands around
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Every time I read one of Tana French's books I say, 'this is her best novel ever!' and I want to go back to the last book I read of hers and take away a star (Because the one I just read was the BEST). Anyway, "The Secret Place" was by far her best in the Dublin Murder Squad series so far. The character development was perfect. And the intrigue never let up. Can you guess who did it? :-D ...more
Stephanie Nicholas
Bravo on another well written book by Tana French! What struck me the most was the spectacular character development in The Secret Place. This tale, in many aspects of dialogue and sentiment reminded me of Flynn's stunner, Sharp Objects. I seriously was catapulted back to my own teenage years whilst reading each and every word, remembering just how devious and cruel the teenage world had the potential of being on any given minute. Well done, Tana French! ...more
Lindsey Rey
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, mystery
[4.5 Stars]
A Tana French novel is always a wonderful mindfuck, and while I saw some mixed reviews about “The Secret Place”, I was curious to see if my winning streak with her work would continue – and it most certainly has. It also reminded me why I am grateful everyday that I no longer am a teenage girl. Because teenage girls are a fucking nightmare.

We met Stephen Moran in “Broken Harbour” (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), where he helped/made a mess trying to help Mick Kennedy. When this story
“I know who killed him”

Tana French is one of those rare writers who transcends genre, and I would hesitate to call The Secret Place simply a “crime novel”. Though much of the plot does center on the solving of a crime, this is more a character study, an exploration of connections and motivations and the fleeting essence of youth. There are hints of magical-realism woven throughout, almost hallucinogenic, and we are never quite certain what is real and what is imagined - or if there is a diff
Joe Valdez
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
The fifth novel by Tana French and #5 in a series narrated by a detective of or working with the Murder Squad in Dublin has the author racking the focus and interfering with the quality control that have made her series such a success. Opening one of French's novels is an act of treasure hunting, of thrills and wonder, like finding an old wooden chest in an attic and unlocking it to discover intimacy, secrecy, history, betrayal and redemption hidden inside. French's themes are back in black this ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Confused about last chapter 22 1663 Aug 23, 2021 06:18AM  
2022 & 2023 Readi...: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Secret Place (Dublin Murder Squad #5) 45 67 Apr 10, 2021 07:23AM  
Around the Year i...: The Secret Place, by Tana French 1 25 Feb 07, 2019 09:09PM  
Play Book Tag: The Secret Place / Tana French. 3.5 stars 4 40 Jun 06, 2018 06:52PM  
Cranbury Public L...: Nov. 15 The Secret Place by Tana French 2 15 Nov 13, 2017 08:47AM  
Mystery/Thriller ...: MT Buddy Read The Secret Place 48 169 Apr 09, 2016 07:15AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Faithful Place by Tana French Summary and Study Guide
  • Tana French's Broken Harbor - For Fans (Trivia-On-Books)
  • The It Girl
  • The Ink Black Heart (Cormoran Strike, #6)
  • The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #17)
  • Niente di vero
  • Le strane storie di Fukiage
  • A Slow Fire Burning
  • The Murder Rule
  • Treacherous Estate (Jack Ludefance, #1)
  • Lost Identity
  • Something to Hide (Inspector Lynley, #21)
  • The Ruin (Cormac Reilly, #1)
  • Little Island
  • The Bullet That Missed (Thursday Murder Club, #3)
  • A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2)
  • Apples Never Fall
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Tana French is the New York Times bestselling author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, The Trespasser and The Witch Elm. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.

Other books in the series

Dublin Murder Squad (6 books)
  • In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1)
  • The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad, #2)
  • Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #3)
  • Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad, #4)
  • The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad, #6)

Articles featuring this book

Her Favorite Books About Secrets: No spoilers here! Reveal nothing after reading this Dubliner's new mystery, The Secret Place, and her enigmatic...
34 likes · 9 comments
“You forget what it was like. You'd swear on your life you never will, but year by year it falls away. How your temperature ran off the mercury, your heart galloped flat-out and never needed to rest, everything was pitched on the edge of shattering glass. How wanting something was like dying of thirst. How your skin was too fine to keep out any of the million things flooding by; every color boiled bright enough to scald you, any second of any day could send you soaring or rip you to bloody shreds.” 73 likes
“I love beautiful; always have. I never saw why I should hate what I wish I had. Love it harder. Work your way closer. Clasp your hands around it tighter. Till you find a way to make it yours.” 49 likes
More quotes…