This year I decided to go back to some of the series I started but never finished and give them one more try.
Series: Dublin Murder Squad. I last read this series in 2013.
What I remember about the series prior to this book: I remember being disappointed that the protagonists of In the Woods and The Likeness were absent from the following books. I remember disliking the loose ends in In the Woods and thinking that the setup for The Likeness was beyond ludicrous. I don’t remember much of anything about the other two books.
Why I stopped reading the series: These books always held my interest, but they gave me bad dreams and they’re super depressing.
The plot: Detective Stephen Moran (who was apparently in a previous book, although I don’t remember him) works Cold Cases and one day Holly, the daughter of another detective (Frank Mackey, the main character in Book 3), approaches him with a card which indicates that someone at her boarding school knows something about an unsolved murder that occurred at her school last year. Detective Moran and Detective Conway go to the school to investigate. The action takes place over a single day, as they interview students, and these chapters are interspersed with flashback chapters of Holly and her friends and their life prior to the murder.
The good: As with all Tana French books, I couldn’t put it down. She’s so good at writing a mystery that you HAVE to know more about. I figured out, fairly early on, who the murderer was, but it didn’t take away from the story. I still needed to know why, and how. This book contains some magical realism, and it seems like a lot of people on Goodreads really hated that, but in the context it didn’t bother me at all. The story is about friendships among teen girls–what is more magical than the friendships you have at that phase of your life? And these magical elements are only present in the girls’ chapters, not the ones narrated by the cops, so it felt clear–to me, at least–that these could be explained away in a non-magical manner to anyone outside looking in. The friendship among the main four girls felt so real, and I loved reading about teen girls who were true friends and didn’t secretly hate each other.
The bad: Moran is kind of a blank as a protagonist. The mean girl clique at Holly’s school is too mean to feel realistic. The way the teens talk to the adults is very, very bad. I read that French lurked on teen message boards and eavesdropped on teens at bus stations and stuff, so maybe it’s more realistic than it seems. I’m willing to believe teens today talk to each other like that–but not to adults.
Did The Secret Place change my opinion of the series?: No. This was a good book that was super depressing and gave me bad dreams. And I still miss Cassie.
Will I keep reading the series?: At this point there’s only one more Dublin Murder Squad book I haven’t read. I might, just for the sake of completion, but Tana French bums me out so it’ll probably be another 7 or 8 years til I get to it.