Tana French, born 1973 in Burlington, Vermont, is an American-Irish writer and theatrical actor; a longstanding resident of Dublin, Ireland. Her debut novel In the Woods (2007), a psychological mystery, won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards for best first novel.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.
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."