French, Tana

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French, Tana

PERSONAL:

Education: Attended Trinity College, Dublin.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Dublin, Ireland. Agent—Darley Anderson Agency, Estelle House, 11 Eustace Rd., London SW6 1JB, England.

CAREER:

Writer and actress. PurpleHeart Theatre Company, Dublin, Ireland, liaison officer; has acted in theatre, film, and voice-over roles.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Editors' Picks Top 100 Books of the Year and Top Ten Mysteries and Thrillers citations, Amazon.com, and Best Fiction Award, Clarion Awards, all 2007, all for In the Woods.

WRITINGS:

In the Woods (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Novelist Tana French is a member of the PurpleHeart Theatre Company, where she is acting liaison officer, as well as a trained actress. She attended Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and has been an active member of the Dublin artistic community with her involvement in theatre, film, and voice-over, according to her Web site. French's 2007 debut novel, In the Woods, "blends shades of the gothic novel with the modern mystery," according to Oline H. Cogdill, writing for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The story centers on Dublin Police detective Rob Ryan, who must reconcile the ambiguity of his past in order to investigate a gruesome crime committed at the scene of his very own childhood trauma. Rob's involvement in the mysterious disappearance of two playmates when he was twelve years old continues to haunt him, and as he delves deeper into the investigation, he must come to terms with the details of that horrific event. With the aid of his partner, Cassie Maddox, Rob finds that romance and professionalism are not mutually exclusive. The duo are "empathetic and flawed heroes, whose partnership and friendship elevate the narrative," according to a critic for Publishers Weekly. However, they must surmount the obstacles their relationship places in the path of their duty to resolve Katy Develin's murder. "If they don't play well as romantic partners, Rob and Cassie pull their weight on the job, yielding cleareyed insights into the many layers of life in small Irish towns," commented Marilyn Stasio for the New York Times Book Review.

French relies on her intimate knowledge of Dublin to augment her writing, as Booklist reviewer Thomas Gaughan remarked upon the "striking … picture of contemporary Ireland, booming economically and fixated on the shabbiest aspects of American popular culture." Cogdill also noted French's ability to balance "intense characters with a view of Ireland's changing social and economic landscape and a psychological study of how a childhood trauma forever affects an adult." Cogdill added that the author provides a new perspective on the country by contrasting Ireland's current economic success with its difficult past. Christina Koning's review for the London Times expressed enthusiasm for French's "sharply written and insidiously creepy" novel and stated that it is a "mesmerizing read that grabs hold of the reader from the very first page and doesn't let go until … morning."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2007, Thomas Gaughan, review of In the Woods, p. 29.

Books, June 2, 2007, Kristin Kloberdanz, review of In the Woods, p. 8.

Book World, July 15, 2007, "Mysteries," p. 11.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of In the Woods, p. 8; April 15, 2007, review of In the Woods.

New York Times Book Review, May 20, 2007, Marilyn Stasio, "Repeat Offenses," review of In the Woods, p. 21.

Publishers Weekly, March 12, 2007, review of In the Woods, p. 29.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel, December 9, 2007, Oline H. Cogdill, "Mystery Review: In the Woods by Tana French: Darkness in Dublin."

Swiss News 4, April, 2007, review of In the Woods, p. 75.

Times (London, England), November 2, 2007, Christina Koning, review of In the Woods.

ONLINE

Darley Anderson Agency Web site,http://www.darleyanderson.com/ (January 9, 2008).

Euro Crime,http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/ (January 9, 2008), Maxine Clark, review of In the Woods.

Irish Theater Online,http://www.irishtheatreonline.com/ (January 8, 2008).

ReviewingTheEvidence.com,http://www.reviewingtheevidence.com/ (January 9, 2008), Sharon Wheeler, review of In the Woods.

Tana French Home Page,http://www.tanafrench.com (January 9, 2008).