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The Secret Place: A Novel Audiobook, by Tana French Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Tana French Narrator: Stephen Hogan, Lara Hutchinson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Dublin Murder Squad Series Release Date: September 2014 ISBN: 9781101631034
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The sensational new novel from “one of the most talented crime writers alive” (Washington Post)

The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, in 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 find leads them back to Holly’s group of close-knit 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 towards 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • an absolutely mesmerizing read. Gillian Flynn
  • clever and crude and vulgar and vicious in one breath and deeply, profoundly tragic in the next. Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
  • a book full of giddy, slangy, devious schoolgirls who cannot be trusted about anything, at least not on the first, second, third or fourth rounds of questioning...Part of this book’s trickiness is its way of letting characters hide the truth behind the smoke screen of language and let both readers and investigators gradually figure out who is lying. Janet Maslin, The New York Times
  • There are echoes of Leopold and Loeb and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, but the language and landscape are unmistakably French’s, as is the way she excavates the past to illuminate the present. O Magazine
  • Terrific—terrifying, amazing, and the prose is incandescent. Stephen King
  • Tana French is irrefutably one of the best crime fiction writers out there…[The Secret Place is] dizzyingly addictive…don’t miss this one. The Associated Press*
  • [Tana French] has few peers in her combination of literary stylishness and intricate, clockwork plotting… Beyond the murder mystery, which leaves the reader in suspense throughout, the novel explores the mysteries of friendship, loyalty and betrayal, not only among adolescents, but within the police force as well. Everyone is this meticulously crafted novel might be playing—or being played by—everyone else. Kirkus (Starred Review)
  • Tana French expertly lays bare the striations of age, class and gender that keep people apart while making them need each other more. With carefully crafted characters and motives, French not only makes a boarding school murder seem plausible, she makes the reader wonder how teenagers could ever live in such close quarters without doing each other grievous bodily harm. Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)
  • French is such a gorgeous writer: She’s a poet of mood and a master builder of plots . . . The Secret Place is another eerie triumph for French. Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
  • French pegs each [character] with cold, cruel precision, one by one, like a knife thrower popping balloons…it makes the world of The Secret Place pop into prickly-sharp focus and full color. Lev Grossman, Time
  • The Secret Place will keep you up all night.
  • The Secret Place may be French’s best novel yet and that’s saying something. She’s that good. The New York Daily News
  • rendered vividly, with sharp dialogue and finely observed detail. The Wall Street Journal
  • Gone Girl fans will revel in this enthralling thriller. People
  • [Tana French’s] mysteries are less procedurals and more thoughtful, smart, stunningly clever and well-written literary yarns. USA Today
  • A twisting, teasing, and tense murder mystery that, while impressive in the matter of whodunit, soars on the psychological insights of whydunit. The Secret Place rips you to shreds, too, but in all the right ways. While channeling teens and cops alike, Tana French has – OMG, like, totes, amazeball – written a novel that seems all but certain to be among the best mysteries of the year The Christian Science Monitor
  • The Secret Place simmers and seethes with skillfully crafted suspense, and French's prose often shines with beauty. But her strongest point is her characters, who are sharply observed and layered into complex and surprising people, revealed both in the wild memories of the flashback sequences and the crushing pressure of the interrogations in the present. Tampa Bay Times
  • If you’re a thriller fan and haven’t discovered the wonders of Tana French, her latest, The Secret Place, will surely get you hooked, and by hooked, we mean feverishly reading till the wee hours… An exceptional thriller. Be prepared — but the ride will be worth it. Dallas Morning News
  • Mesmerizing…French stealthily spins a web of teenage secrets with a very adult crime at the center. Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
  • Complex characters and a vivid sense of place are at the heart of French’s literary success… Booklist (Starred Review)
  • “It’s terrific—terrifying, amazing, and the prose is incandescent.”

    Stephen King

  • The Secret Place is Tana French’s latest extraordinary procedural… French’s plots are inventive and her prose is elegant, but she’s always been more interested in character development. Here, her steely gaze brilliantly nails the baffled and baffling emotions of teenagers on the verge of adulthood. The Seattle Times
  • French…writes beautifully. The Boston Globe
  • The Secret Place is an absorbing take on a hot subgenre by one of our most skillful suspense novelists.
  • [Tana French] simply nails it…I just could not put it down! BookPage
  • ”Gripping and ingenious.”

    Kate Mosse, New York Times bestselling author of Sepulchre

  • “The thing Tana French does better than almost any living crime writer is create suspense. She makes you feel as if you’re the detective, and your whole future career, not to mention your mental equilibrium, depends upon working out the solution to the puzzle. The Secret Place is another nail-biting ordeal of mysteriousness that will have readers frantically turning pages in their eagerness to discover the truth.”

    Sophie Hannah, internationally bestselling author of The Telling Error

  • “In French’s mesmerizing fifth Dublin Murder Squad mystery Det. Stephen Moran, who works in the cold case unit, is biding his time until he can make the Murder Squad. When sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey, a colleague’s daughter, shows up with a clue to an old crime, Moran sees his chance…French stealthily spins a web of teenage secrets with a very adult crime at the center.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Complex characters and a vivid sense of place are at the heart of French’s literary success, and although Conway and Moran are fine protagonists, it is the members of the two rival cliques, and St. Kilda’s itself, that make The Secret Place much more than just a solid whodunit. French brilliantly and plausibly channels the rebellion, conformity, inchoate longings, rages, and shared bonds, as well as Kilda’s role in fostering them.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A hint of the supernatural spices the latest from a mystery master as two detectives try to probe the secrets teenage girls keep—and the lies they tell—after murder at a posh boarding school…Everyone is this meticulously crafted novel might be playing—or being played by—everyone else.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Expert narrators Stephen Hogan, sounding emphatic, focused, authoritarian, and Lara Hutchinson, sounding acerbic and knowing, trade chapters as investigators Stephen Moran and Antoinette Conway. The duo deftly explores the nature of teenage friendship and loyalty to uncover the killer…Fans of the bestselling French find able partners in bringing the world of teen angst to life as Hogan and Hutchinson use their honed voices to maintain the tension all the way to the revelation of the killer.”


  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, September 2014
  • An Amazon Best Book, September 2014
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A USA Today bestseller
  • An NPR bestseller
  • A San Francisco Chronicle bestseller
  • A Wall Street Journal bestseller
  • One of Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books, September 2014
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014
  • A Library Journal bestseller
  • A September 2014 LibraryReads Pick

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About the Author

Tana French is the award-winning author of several New York Times bestselling novels. She has won many awards for her fiction, including the Edgar, Anthony, Barry, Macavity, and IVCA Clarion awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Best Crime Fiction. She grew up in Ireland, Italy, the US, and Malawi, and trained as an actress at Trinity College Dublin before becoming a writer.

About the Narrator

Stephen Hogan is a voice talent and audiobook narrator.