Tana French, born on May 10, 1973, in Vermont, USA, and raised in Ireland, is a celebrated Irish author. Armed with degrees in English and Drama, she embarked on a career as an actress and theater director before finding her niche in the crime fiction genre. Renowned for her psychological crime thrillers, French’s writing style is characterized by meticulous plotting, profound character explorations, and evocative settings.
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Tana French’s Writing Genre/Style
Tana French is celebrated for her psychological crime thrillers, distinguished by intricate plots, in-depth character studies, and rich atmospheres. Her storytelling is marked by a meticulous eye for detail and a talent for crafting morally complex characters.
List of Tana French‘s Books in Order
- Dublin Murder Squad: A Series by Tana French
|S No.||Dublin Murder Squad||Book’ Price|
|1||In the Woods (2006)||Check Price|
|2||The Likeness (2008)||Check Price|
|3||Faithful Place (2010)||Check Price|
|4||Broken Harbour (2012)||Check Price|
|5||The Secret Place (2014)||Check Price|
|6||The Trespasser (2016)||Check Price|
- Novels Written by Tana French
|S No.||Novels in Order||Book’ Price|
|1||The Wych Elm (2018)||Check Price|
|2||The Searcher (2020)||Check Price|
|3||The Hunter (2024)||TBD|
Tana French’s Literary Contribution & Awards
Tana French has left an indelible mark on contemporary crime fiction by infusing it with psychological depth and mystery. Her Dublin Murder Squad series, including titles like “In the Woods” and “The Likeness,” has garnered international acclaim and a dedicated readership.
French’s work has received numerous accolades, including the prestigious Edgar Award, Irish Book Award, and Barry Award. She has firmly established herself as a leading voice in the genre, captivating audiences with her exploration of human nature through the lens of crime. Her novels continue to resonate with readers globally, exploring the intricacies of the human psyche within the context of compelling mysteries.
Tana French’s Books in Reading Order
Dublin Murder Squad
1. In the Woods
- Logline: In 1984, three children disappear in the woods; only one returns. Two decades later, a similar mystery unfolds.
- Publishing Year: 2007
- Goodreads Ratings: 3.78 (386,183 ratings, 26,791 reviews)
In a Dublin suburb during the summer of 1984, as dusk descends, mothers summon their children home. However, this particular evening, three children vanish in the quiet woods, and only one boy is found, in shock and with bloodied shoes, unable to recall the night’s events.
Fast forward twenty years, and that boy, Rob Ryan, has become a detective for the Dublin Murder Squad. He’s concealed his past, but when a 12-year-old girl is discovered murdered in those same woods, he and his partner, Detective Cassie Maddox, find the case eerily reminiscent of his childhood trauma.
Grappling with fragmented memories, Rob is presented with a dual challenge: solving the present-day murder and confronting the mysteries of his own past. This debut novel is a masterfully crafted psychological suspense.
2. The Likeness
- Logline: Detective Cassie Maddox encounters a murder victim who not only looks like her but also bears her undercover identity from years past.
- Publishing Year: 2008
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.06 (157,796 ratings, 12,320 reviews)
Detective Cassie Maddox, still haunted by a prior encounter with a psychopath, transfers from the Murder squad and begins a relationship with Detective Sam O’Neill. Her world turns upside down when Sam summons her to a crime scene where the victim, eerily resembling Cassie, carries an ID with the name Lexie Madison — Cassie’s old undercover alias.
Faced with a mysterious death, no leads, and the enigma of Lexie’s true identity, Cassie’s former boss sees a unique chance: to send Cassie undercover once again, this time to draw the murderer out, using herself as bait.
3. Faithful Place
- Logline: In 1985, Frank Mackey plans to escape Dublin with Rosie Daly. She disappears, only for her suitcase to resurface decades later.
- Publishing Year: 2010
- Goodreads Ratings: 3.99 (117,107 ratings, 9,156 reviews)
In 1985, nineteen-year-old Frank Mackey and his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, made plans to escape their impoverished life in Dublin’s inner city. Dreaming of a brighter future in London, they were ready to leave everything behind. However, on their designated departure night, Rosie never showed up.
Frank assumed she left him, likely due to his troubled family. He left Dublin and never looked back. Rosie was believed to have started anew in England. But 22 years later, Rosie’s suitcase is found in a rundown house on Faithful Place, pulling Frank back into the past.
Now a detective, he dives deep into the mystery of Rosie’s disappearance, navigating familial ties and local animosities, desperate to uncover the truth about the love he lost.
4. Broken Harbour
- Logline: In a ghost estate near Dublin, a family tragedy unfolds, and star detective Scorcher Kennedy investigates amidst personal turmoil.
- Publishing Year: 2012
- Goodreads Ratings: 3.95 (97,276 ratings, 8,585 reviews)
In the eerie setting of Broken Harbour, a ghost estate outside of Dublin, a harrowing scene is discovered: two children and their father are dead, while their mother fights for her life in intensive care. Assigned to the case is Scorcher Kennedy, the Murder Squad’s top detective.
He and his rookie partner, Richie, initially believe the father, Pat Spain, snapped under the pressures of the recession. However, puzzling details emerge, and evidence points in multiple, conflicting directions. Meanwhile, Scorcher’s own past resurfaces when his sister Dina reacts to the case, triggering haunting memories from their childhood at Broken Harbour. As Scorcher juggles the complexities of the investigation with his own family drama, he finds both his personal and professional worlds at stake.
5. The Secret Place
- Logline: Detective Stephen Moran investigates a murder at a girls’ boarding school after receiving a hint from a teen.
- Publishing Year: 2014
- Goodreads Ratings: 3.85 (81,829 ratings, 8,183 reviews)
A year prior, a murder occurred at a girls’ boarding school and remained unsolved. Detective Stephen Moran, eager to join the prestigious Dublin’s Murder Squad, gets an unexpected lead when sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey presents him with a photo of the deceased boy captioned: “I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.”
Teaming up with Detective Antoinette Conway, the pair delve into the investigation, under the surveillance of Holly’s father and fellow detective, Frank Mackey. As they dig deeper, they discover a complex web of relationships linking Holly’s group of friends, a rival clique, and the murdered boy. The secretive world of teenage girls reveals itself to be as intricate and perilous as any crime scene.
6. The Trespasser
- Logline: Detective Antoinette Conway faces workplace harassment while investigating a seemingly straightforward murder, only to uncover deeper mysteries.
- Publishing Year: 2016
- Goodreads Ratings: 3.98 (83,754 ratings, 7,735 reviews)
Detective Antoinette Conway’s experience with the Murder Squad isn’t what she envisioned. Besides her partner, Stephen Moran, others seem hostile, subjecting her to endless pranks and harassment. With her resilience waning, they land a new case: Aislinn Murray, a well-groomed woman, is found dead in her pristine living room.
Initially, it appears as a typical lovers’ disagreement turned fatal. But Antoinette recalls seeing Aislinn before. As they delve deeper, the case refuses to fit into its expected mold. Other detectives rush to pin the murder on Aislinn’s boyfriend, but Antoinette and Stephen sense more is at play.
A friend suggests Aislinn sensed impending danger, and every new clue distances her from the passive persona she portrayed. Amidst her growing paranoia from the continual harassment, Antoinette is torn between the dark undercurrents of the investigation and the possibility that it might just be another ploy to oust her from the squad.
Novels Written by Tana French
1. The Wych Elm
- Logline: After a brutal attack, Toby seeks refuge at his ancestral home, where a skull is discovered in an old wych elm.
- Publishing Year: 2018
- Goodreads Ratings: 3.57 (94,934 ratings, 11,758 reviews)
The story pivots around a life-changing night for Toby. Post a harrowing attack, Toby’s identity becomes uncertain, leading him to find solace in his family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, rich in memories of joyful summers and youthful revelries with cousins.
However, the serenity of the Ivy House is shattered when a skull is unearthed from the wych elm in the garden. With the investigators narrowing their focus, Toby is compelled to reassess all he believed about his family, his history, and himself.
“The Wych Elm” by Tana French offers a captivating standalone narrative that reimagines the boundaries of the crime genre, probing deep into the essence of identity and human capability.
2. The Searcher
- Logline: Retired detective Cal Hooper, now in rural Ireland, gets drawn into a local mystery when a boy seeks his help.
- Publishing Year: 2020
- Goodreads Ratings: 3.79 (116,388 ratings, 10,944 reviews)
Cal Hooper, a retired detective, relocates to a secluded village in the Irish countryside, intending to renovate a run-down cottage and leave his policing days behind. His plans for a peaceful retirement are disrupted when a local boy approaches him, desperately seeking assistance in finding his missing brother.
The village’s inhabitants, including the local police, appear indifferent to the boy’s concerns. This ignites Cal’s investigative instincts. He realizes there’s an underlying darkness in this seemingly quiet community, and he’s determined to uncover the truth, even if it invites danger to his doorstep.
3. The Hunter
- Logline: Two men arrive in an Irish village; one seeks wealth, the other faces death, amidst a gold-finding scheme.
- Publishing Year: 2024
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.36 (11 ratings, 4 reviews)
In the midst of a sizzling summer, two men descend upon a small village in the West of Ireland. One is returning to his roots, while both have ambitions of getting rich. However, the fate awaiting one of them is death. Cal Hooper, having taken early retirement from the Chicago PD, sought the tranquillity of rural Ireland.
He not only discovers peace but also builds a bond with a local woman, Lena, and aids the transformation of Trey Reddy from a wild teenager to a promising young man. Their harmonious existence shatters when Trey’s estranged father returns with an English millionaire and a plan to unearth gold. With threats looming, Cal and Lena are determined to shield Trey.
However, Trey is not seeking protection; she craves revenge. This evocative narrative delves deep into the lengths we’d go to for loved ones, the thirst for vengeance, and the sacrifices made when both emotions clash.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is Tana French?
Tana French is an American-Irish writer and theatrical actress, renowned for her psychological mysteries and her association with the Dublin Murder Squad series.
- When was Tana French’s debut novel “In the Woods” published?
“In the Woods” was published on 30 January 2007 and won multiple awards for best first novel.
- How has The Independent described Tana French?
The Independent has referred to Tana French as “the First Lady of Irish Crime.”
- What is the background of Tana French’s personal life?
Born in Burlington, Vermont, Tana lived in various countries during her childhood and has been a resident of Dublin, Ireland since 1990. She and her husband have two daughters.
- How did Tana French’s career in writing begin?
While initially focused on acting, Tana began writing her debut novel during the lulls between castings. Her passion for writing was reignited in her later 30s.
- What are some of the accolades “In the Woods” received?
“In the Woods” was praised for its blend of police procedural and psychological thriller elements. It won several literary prizes, became a bestseller, and was termed a ‘dream debut’.
- Which novel of Tana French was influenced by Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History”?
Tana French’s novel “The Likeness” was influenced by Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History.”
- How many novels are part of the Dublin Murder Squad series?
The first six novels written by Tana French are part of the Dublin Murder Squad series.
- Has Tana French’s work been adapted for television?
Yes, in 2015, Euston Films & Veritas acquired TV production rights for her novels “In the Woods” and “The Likeness,” which were adapted into the eight-episode series “Dublin Murders.”
- When is Tana French’s latest novel “The Hunter” set to release?
“The Hunter” is set to be released in March 2024.