Tana French

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Tana French
Born (1973-05-10) May 10, 1973 (age 45)
Burlington, Vermont, United States
Alma materTrinity College

Tana French (born 1973) is an American-Irish writer and theatrical actress born in Vermont. Her debut novel In the Woods (2007), a psychological mystery, won the Edgar,[1] Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards for best first novel. She lives in Dublin.[2] The British online newspaper, The Independent, has referred to her as the First Lady of Irish Crime, "who very quietly has become a huge international name among crime fiction readers."[3]

Personal life[edit]

Tana Elizabeth French was born in Burlington, Vermont, on May 10, 1973, to Elena Hvostoff-Lombardi and David French;[4] but she lived in numerous countries as a child, including Ireland, Italy, the U.S., and Malawi.[2] Her father was an economist who worked on resource management for the developing world, so the family lived in many different cultures.[5] French attended Trinity College, Dublin, and trained in Acting.[2] She ultimately settled in Ireland and, since 1990, has lived in Dublin,[2] which she considers home.[6] French is married and has two daughters with her husband. She has retained dual citizenship of the U.S. and Italy.


French was enthralled by both acting and writing since her childhood days but eventually focused more on acting.[7] She trained as a professional actor at Trinity, and she works in theater, film, and voiceover.[2] In her later 30s, her passion for writing was unexpectedly rekindled. Her choice of genre stems from her profound interest in mystery and crime novels, which she grew up reading. She began writing her debut novel in the months-long lulls between castings.[8] Titled In the Woods, it was published in 2007 to much international acclaim and received rave reviews from many publications. Publishers Weekly [9] 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'. As of 2015[10] more than one million copies of In the Woods have been sold. In 2015, Euston Films & Veritas acquired the rights to the book to be launched as a TV series. Flavorwire, in 2014, included it in their 50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950.[11]

Her follow-up novel The Likeness (2008), presents the story of the debut novel's lead character Cassie Maddox. It immediately soared high on bestseller lists in various countries and stayed firmly anchored on The New York Times Best Seller list for several months.[12] 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,[7] French revealed that Donna Tartt's The Secret History was a source of 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."


No. Title Publisher Date ISBN
1In the WoodsViking Penguin30 January 2007ISBN 978-0-670-03860-2
This is the debut crime novel in the fictional Dublin Murder Squad series about the Irish detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox and their investigation of the murder of a twelve-year-old girl. The case with possible links to the detective's own past adds another dimension to the novel. It has won the best debut crime novel category for Edgar, Anthony, Barry and Macavity awards for the year 2008 
2The LikenessViking Penguin17 July 2008ISBN 978-0143115625
This Dublin Murder Squad series #2 follows detective Cassie Maddox who determines the circumstances surrounding the death of Lexie Madison, a young woman who is her doppelganger. A senior police officer, Frank Mackey, convinces Cassie to impersonate the dead woman to investigate her death and to discover who she really was. It was shortlisted for the first annual Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award in 2009 
3Faithful PlaceViking Penguin13 July 2010ISBN 978-0670021871
This Dublin Murder Squad series #3 features undercover detective Frank Mackey keen to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Rosie Daly. The book was nominated for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 
4Broken HarbourViking Penguin2 July 2012ISBN 978-0-670-02365-3
This Dublin Murder Squad series #4 is about star detective Scorcher Kennedy investigating the vicious killing of a father and 2 children in a ghost estate outside Dublin. Scorcher's personal life is tugging for his attention and he has a rookie helping him out with the case. It won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller (2012) 
5The Secret PlaceViking Penguin28 August 28, 2014ISBN 978-0-670-02632-6
This Dublin Murder Squad series #5 alternates between the points of view of detective Stephen Moran and student Holly Mackey. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to investigate the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper, a student at St. Colm's School. The Washington Post named the book one of the five best thrillers of 2014. 
6The TrespasserViking Penguin22 September 2016ISBN 978-1-444-75562-6
This Dublin Murder Squad series #6 with Antoinette Conway teaming up with Stephen Moran to pull a case that at first looks like a slam-dunk lovers' tiff, but gradually they realise there's more going on. 
7The Wych ElmViking Penguin9 October 2018ISBN 978-0-735-22462-9
Standalone novel. 



  1. ^ a b Edgars Database. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e Tana French Bio at Bookreporter.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Review: Thriller: Broken Harbour by Tana French - Independent.ie". Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Vermont, Birth Records, 1909-2008". Ancestry.
  5. ^ Tana French Interview with Joe Hartlaub at Bookreporter.com. 11 July 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  6. ^ Tana French Interview at Bookreporter.com. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ https://www.facebook.com/neelytuckerbooks. "In Tana French's 'Broken Harbor,' the mundane sets stage for mayhem". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  9. ^ "In the Woods". Amazon. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  10. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (6 March 2015). "Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad Coming To TV Via Euston Films & Veritas". Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  11. ^ "50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950". 14 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Paperback Trade Fiction Books - Best Sellers - June 14, 2009 - The New York Times". Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  13. ^ Joe Hartlaub. Review of In the Woods at Bookreporter.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  14. ^ 2007 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winners. Archived 2013-04-24 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  15. ^ “Three Irish novels among IMPAC nominees”. RTÉ News. 7 November 2011.
  16. ^ Rosita Boland (November 23, 2012). "Banville wins novel of year at awards". The Irish Times. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
  17. ^ Staff writer (April 19, 2013). "Announcing the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winners". LA Times. Retrieved April 21, 2013.

External links[edit]