Tana French

Intro American-Irish writer and theatrical actress
Is Writer Novelist Actor Stage actor
From United States of America Italy
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio Literature
Gender female
Birth 10 May 1973, Burlington, USA
Star sign Taurus
Police procedural
Crime fiction

Tana French, born 1973 in Burlington, Vermont, is an American-Irish writer and theatrical actress; a longstanding resident of Ireland. Her debut novel In the Woods (2007), a psychological mystery, won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards for best first novel. She lives in Dublin. The Independent has referred to her as being the First Lady of Irish Crime, who very quietly has become a huge international name among fiction readers.

Personal life

Tana Elizabeth French was born on 10 May 1973 in Burlington, Vermont to Elena Hvostoff-Lombardi and David French. Her father was an economist who worked on resource management for the developing world, so she lived in numerous countries as a child including Ireland, Italy, the US and Malawi. French attended Trinity College Dublin, and trained in acting. She settled in Ireland and has lived in Dublin since 1990. French is married and has two daughters with her husband.


French was enthralled by both acting and writing since her childhood days but eventually focused more on acting. She grew up reading mystery and crime novels. She trained as a professional actor at Trinity, and she works in theatre, film, and voiceover. In her later 30s, her passion for writing was unexpectedly rekindled. She began writing her debut novel in the months-long lulls between castings; In the Woods was published in 2007 to much international acclaim and received rave reviews from many publications. Publishers Weekly 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 more than one million copies of In the Woods have been sold. Flavorwire, in 2014, included it in their 50 of the Greatest Debut Novels Since 1950. The second novel, The Likeness (2008), presents the story of the debut 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. 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, 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
1 In the Woods Viking Penguin 30 January 2007 ISBN 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 12-year-old girl. The case, with possible links to Ryan's own past, adds another dimension to the novel. In 2008, it won the best debut crime novel category for the Edgar, Anthony, Barry and Macavity awards. 
2 The Likeness Viking Penguin 17 July 2008 ISBN 978-0143115625
Dublin Murder Squad series #2 follows detective Cassie Maddox and the circumstances surrounding the death of Lexie Madison, a young woman who is her doppelganger. Frank Mackey, the senior police officer running Undercover operations, convinces Cassie to impersonate the dead woman and investigate her death. It was shortlisted for the first annual Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award in 2009. 
3 Faithful Place Viking Penguin 13 July 2010 ISBN 978-0670021871
Dublin Murder Squad series #3 features detective Frank Mackey keen to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Rosie Daly. The book was nominated for the 2012 International Dublin Literary Award. 
4 Broken Harbour Viking Penguin 2 July 2012 ISBN 978-0-670-02365-3
Dublin Murder Squad series #4 is about star detective Scorcher Kennedy investigating the vicious killing of a father and two 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). 
5 The Secret Place Viking Penguin 28 August 28, 2014 ISBN 978-0-670-02632-6
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. 
6 The Trespasser Viking Penguin 22 September 2016 ISBN 978-1-444-75562-6
Dublin Murder Squad series #6 has 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. 
7 The Wych Elm/The Witch Elm Viking Penguin 9 October 2018 ISBN 978-0-735-22462-9
Standalone novel. Recognised as a New York Times Notable Book of 2018, and an NPR Best Book of 2018. 


2008 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, for In the Woods 2008 Anthony Award, Best First Novel for In the Woods 2008 Macavity Award, Best First Mystery for In the Woods 2008 Barry Award for Best First Novel 2007 Finalist for Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Mystery/Thriller) 2012 International Dublin Literary Award nomination for Faithful Place 2012 Irish Book Award, Irish Crime Fiction Award for Broken Harbour 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Mystery/Thriller) for Broken Harbor


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 and continued in Dublin to late February 2019. Broadcast began on BBC One on 14 October 2019, on RTÉ One on 16 October 2019, and on Starz on 10 November 2019.

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