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Tana French

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Tana French
Born (1973-05-10) May 10, 1973 (age 51)
Burlington, Vermont, United States
Alma materTrinity College

Tana French (born 10 May 1973) is an American-Irish writer and theatrical actress. She is a longtime resident of Dublin, Ireland.[1] Her debut novel In the Woods (2007), a psychological mystery, won the Edgar,[2] Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards for best first novel. The Independent has referred to her as "the First Lady of Irish Crime".[3]

Personal life[edit]

Tana Elizabeth French was born in Burlington, Vermont, to Elena Hvostoff-Lombardi and David French.[1] Her father was an economist who worked on resource management for the developing world, and she lived in numerous countries as a child including Ireland, Italy, the United States and Malawi.[4]

French attended Trinity College Dublin, and trained in acting. She settled in Ireland and has lived in Dublin since 1990.[1] French and her husband have two daughters.[5]


French was enthralled by both acting and writing since her childhood but eventually focused more on acting. She grew up reading mystery and crime novels.[6] She trained as a professional actor at Trinity, and she works in theatre, film, and voiceover.[1]

In her later 30s, her passion for writing was rekindled. She began writing her debut novel in the months-long lulls between castings;[7] In the Woods was published in 2007 to international acclaim and received rave reviews from many publications. Publishers Weekly[8] praised French, saying she "expertly walks the line between police procedural and psychological thriller in her debut" and that "Ryan and Maddox are empathetic and flawed heroes, whose partnership and friendship elevate the narrative beyond a gory tale of murdered children and repressed childhood trauma." It received several literary prizes, was a bestseller in hardcover and paperback, and has been termed a 'dream debut'. In 2014, Flavorwire included it in their 50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950.[9] As of 2015[10] more than one million copies of In the Woods have been sold.

The second novel, The Likeness (2008), presents the story of the first novel's co-lead, Cassie Maddox. It quickly achieved high positions on bestseller lists in various countries and stayed on The New York Times Best Seller list for several months.[11] In its reviews of the novel, Kirkus praised its mix of "police procedures, psychological thrills and gothic romance beautifully woven into one stunning story". In an interview with The Guardian,[6] French stated that Donna Tartt's The Secret History was an influence on The Likeness, opening up the "landscape of friendship as something worthy of exploration and something that could be powerful enough to trigger a murder."

The first six novels are part of the Dublin Murder Squad series.[12] This series does not follow one particular detective, such as Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes; each book focuses on a new main character.[13]

After publishing The Trespasser in 2016, French published two standalone novels, The Witch Elm and The Searcher, both of which are also set in Ireland.[14][15] French noted in an interview that The Searcher was intended to be a standalone story, but she felt compelled to revisit the setting with another novel.[16]

French's ninth novel, The Hunter, was released in March 2024.[17] The Hunter was published to positive reviews.[18] Bruce Desilva wrote, "And as usual, in a Tana French novel, the characters are well-drawn, the dialogue is superb, the settings are vivid, and the tight prose is often lyrical."[19] A major story element is the strong summer heat, unnatural for Ireland, creating tension and reminding characters of the subtle threat of climate change.[16]

In many of French's novels, she explores the idea of class and wealth, inspired by the Celtic Tiger and the subsequent 2008 recession's effect on the Irish economy.[13]

Dublin Murder Squad[edit]

  • In the Woods. Viking Penguin, 2007. ISBN 978-0-670-03860-2
  • The Likeness. Viking Penguin 2008. ISBN 978-0143115625
  • Faithful Place. Viking Penguin, 2010. ISBN 978-0670021871
  • Broken Harbour. Viking Penguin, 2012. ISBN 978-0-670-02365-3
  • The Secret Place. Viking Penguin, 2014. ISBN 978-0-670-02632-6
  • The Trespasser. Viking Penguin, 2016. ISBN 978-1-444-75562-6




In 2015, Euston Films & Veritas acquired TV production rights. Sarah Phelps wrote the screenplay, which she based on both In the Woods and The Likeness, for the eight-episode series of Dublin Murders, commissioned by the BBC for BBC One and Starz, with RTÉ later joining the project. Filming commenced in 2018 in Belfast and Dublin[32] and continued in Dublin to late February 2019.[33][34][35] Broadcast began on BBC One on 14 October 2019, on RTÉ One on 16 October 2019, and on Starz on 10 November 2019.


  1. ^ a b c d Tana French Bio at Bookreporter.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b Edgars Database. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Review: Thriller: Broken Harbour by Tana French - Independent.ie". Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  4. ^ Tana French Interview with Joe Hartlaub at Bookreporter.com. 11 July 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  5. ^ Tana French Interview at Bookreporter.com. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  6. ^ a b Merritt, Stephanie (24 August 2014). "Tana French: 'I've always been interested in the intensity of friendship and the dangers that come with that'". the Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  7. ^ "In Tana French's 'Broken Harbor,' the mundane sets stage for mayhem". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  8. ^ French, Tana (2007). In the Woods. Penguin. ISBN 978-0670038602.
  9. ^ "50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950". 14 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  10. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (6 March 2015). "Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad Coming To TV Via Euston Films & Veritas". Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  11. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction Books - Best Sellers - June 14, 2009 - The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Dublin Murder Squad Books in order: How to read Tana French's Series?". How To Read Me. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  13. ^ a b Kelly, Hillary (11 March 2024). "Tana French Has Broken the Detective Novel". The Atlantic. Retrieved 11 March 2024.
  14. ^ "The Witch Elm". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  15. ^ "The Searcher". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  16. ^ a b "A Crime Fiction Master Flips the Script". Esquire. 5 March 2024. Retrieved 11 March 2024.
  17. ^ "The Hunter". Penguin Random House website. 7 June 2023. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  18. ^ "Tana French's 'The Hunter' defies the rules of suspense writing". Washington Post. 10 March 2024. Retrieved 11 March 2024.
  19. ^ "Book Review: 'The Hunter' is a dark and lyrical tale of revenge, friendship and loyalty in collision". Associated Press. 4 March 2024. Retrieved 11 March 2024.
  20. ^ Merritt, Stephanie (11 March 2024). "The Hunter by Tana French review – a master of her craft". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  21. ^ "Review | Tana French's 'The Hunter' defies the rules of suspense writing". Washington Post. 10 March 2024. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 17 April 2024.
  22. ^ "Tana French - The Hunter". New York Times.
  23. ^ "2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize - Mystery/Thriller Winner and Nominees". Awards Archive. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  24. ^ 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winners. Archived 2013-04-24 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  25. ^ Joe Hartlaub. Review of In the Woods at Bookreporter.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  26. ^ "2010 Los Angeles Times Book Prize - Mystery/Thriller Winner and Nominees". Awards Archive. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  27. ^ "Awards: Los Angeles Times; Chautauqua; Thomas Wolfe". Shelf Awareness. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  28. ^ Werris, Wendy (22 April 2013). "L.A. Times Festival of Books Draws Tens of Thousands". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 13 March 2022.
  29. ^ "Announcing the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winners". Los Angeles Times. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  30. ^ Rosita Boland (23 November 2012). "Banville wins novel of year at awards". The Irish Times. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  31. ^ "Three Irish novels among IMPAC nominees". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  32. ^ "Dublin Murders - Euston Films". eustonfilms.tv.
  33. ^ "Wave of murders to hit Dublin as BBC films new cop drama". Independent.ie.
  34. ^ "BBC - Killian Scott and Sarah Greene lead Dublin Murders - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
  35. ^ "Irish stars out to solve Dublin Murders in new series". 4 December 2018 – via www.rte.ie.

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