Good Minds Suggest—Tana French's Favorite Books About Secrets

Posted by Goodreads on September 9, 2014

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"I know who killed him." A year after an unsolved murder, an anonymous confession posted in the hallway of a Dublin girls' boarding school ushers in police suspicion and adolescent hysterics as long-submerged secrets begin to bubble up. The Secret Place is Tana French's latest crime novel and the fifth in her Dublin Murder Squad series, which features a different detective in each installment. Ambitious Cold Case detective Stephen Moran is decidedly out of his element in The Secret Place—interrogating wily and inscrutable teen girls—but he's determined to prove his mettle. French's engrossing murder mysteries are lauded not only for their virtuoso plotting, but also for revealing the tumultuous inner lives of her characters, both cops and culprits. The Dublin-based French says, "Big secrets transform everything and everyone around them—often in unpredictable, uncontrollable ways—and I've always been fascinated by books that explore that ripple effect." So read these recommendations, but...shhh!...keep their secrets to yourself.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
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"One of the classic books about secrets. Jane, brought up in the freezing cruelty of a strict orphanage, takes a job as governess at the home of the abrasive, restless Mr. Rochester. As their relationship intensifies, she becomes aware that the house holds a barely contained, and potentially lethal, secret. Practically everyone knows what's in Mr. Rochester's attic, but I was a kid when I first read the book, and I had no idea; the revelation blew me away. I love the way the barriers around both the secret and Jane's fiery emotions slowly disintegrate under the battering they take from their ferocious captives."

The Mistress Of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Goodreads Author)
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"An old woman, an immigrant from India, runs a spice shop in California and watches the lives of her customers. But she's got a secret: She and her shop are a lot more than they seem to be. Tilo is actually young, furiously willful, and a mistress of spices, working with their wonderful and dangerous powers to help her customers. What I love about this one is the way the secret's role changes through the book. At the beginning it's what makes both Tilo and the action blossom; by about halfway through the book, though, the secret has become a limiting factor, and Tilo is rebelling against the boundaries that she once joyfully accepted."

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
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"In the year 1327, young Franciscan friar Adso and his Holmes-like mentor William of Baskerville (get it?) investigate a macabre series of murders at a wealthy abbey. The secret isn't just a piece of information, the way it is in most books; it's a solid thing—and it's more than that: It's a thought process given concrete form. Like everything else in the book, it's mind-blowingly intricate, heaped with ornate flourishes, and wrapped in pass-the-parcel layers of cryptic clues, codes, and symbols—and it's hugely satisfying."

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
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"In a Vermont college Richard Papen is drawn into an enigmatic, elite group of Classics students—but by the time spring comes, five of them will have murdered the sixth. I'm not giving away anything by telling you that; it's revealed within the first few pages. The immense power of the book comes from the fascination of finding out why they do it and from watching the slow transformation and devastation that their secret visits on them all in the aftermath of the murder."

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
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"Deep in the Ozark mountains, 16-year-old Ree Dolly needs to find her missing father in order to save her family's home. Everyone but her seems to know something, but everyone warns her away—sometimes kindly, sometimes with horrific violence. The sense that the secret is all around Ree, permeating and changing the jagged snow-melt landscapes she knows inside out and the threadbare homes and faces she's grown up with, drags you right into her world."

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Great list! Thanks to Tana. Can't wait to read her latest! Along with Kate Atkinson, Tana French is one of my favorite contemporary writers.

message 2: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne Evans Interestingly, I just recommended 'Mistress of Spices' to a friend who was telling me about her local spice store!

message 3: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine Mistress of spices is my bookclub's November read. Looking forward to it!

message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda Guest Interesting list. If these books are as good as 'The Secret Place' I will enjoy reading them a lot

message 5: by Nermin (new)

Nermin Thanks tana

message 6: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Great list. Can't wait to try them

message 7: by Taugean (new)

Taugean Thompson Looking forward for some good read can't wait to start thanks

message 8: by Binyam (new)

Binyam Thank you for informing me the listed books. I want to read the listed books but how could I find them? Please help me in getting them......

message 9: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Kennedy Ditto Binyam. Am 'liking' several books myself but can't access them either... :((

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