Tana French Books in Order: Comprehensive Order Guide

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  • November 5, 2023
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  • 12 min read

Book Writing

Jumping into mystery books is exciting, especially with Tana French leading the way. Her stories are super engaging. Many readers find her books and just can’t put them down. What makes them special isn’t just the mystery but the interesting people in them.

Tana French has a way of making each person in her stories feel real and detailed. Wondering where to start? No worries.

This guide is here to help. It’ll show you the best order to read her amazing books. So, get set for a great reading adventure!

Why Tana French Stands Out?

In a genre filled with talent, Tana French stands out. She’s not just another mystery writer; her stories go deeper. She digs into the human mind, explores the complexities of relationships, and offers deep insights into society. Her ability to create intricate tales with a rare rawness makes her exceptional.

Her stories aren’t just puzzles to solve; they take you on a trip into how people think. Tana French’s way of telling stories is special because it mixes excitement, feelings, and discussion of how society works. When you start reading her books, you can’t stop until the end. She’s a writer who makes a strong impression in books.

Why Read Tana French in Order?

Let’s pause for a moment and discuss the importance of reading order. Sure, each of Tana French’s stories can be enjoyed independently. But there’s a special charm in reading them in sequence. Imagine this: in many of her books, characters or places might pop up again. It’s like running into an old friend in unexpected places.

By reading in order, these ‘reunions’ become little treats, adding depth to your reading journey. Think about your favorite movie series. Watching them out of order can be fun, but in sequence, It’s a new level of enjoyment. So, order truly matters for the best experience with Tana French’s books. It’s like piecing together a puzzle, where each piece, or book in this case, adds to a beautiful, complete picture.

Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad Series

Tana French made her debut with the Dublin Murder Squad series. Each book introduces a new lead detective, offering a fresh perspective while maintaining a cohesive world. Here’s how to tackle them:

In the Woods (2007)

“In the Woods” is our starting point in Tana French’s world. Picture this: a small town, a missing young boy, and a mystery that’s been cold for years. It’s not just any story; it pulls you in from the first page. You’re not just reading about a disappearance.

You’re deepening past secrets, old memories, and remaining questions. What happened in those woods? How is this new mystery tied to a past one? Tana French masterfully connects the dots, keeping readers on their toes. It’s a must-read, setting the stage for what’s to come in her other books. Simple, engaging, and gripping.

The Likeness (2008)

Now, let’s jump into “The Likeness,” another gem by Tana. Imagine being a detective and finding someone who looks exactly like you. Interesting, right? That’s the core of this book. Our detective takes on a risky undercover operation, and here’s the catch: she steps into the shoes of a woman who’s her mirror image.

Readers are left wondering as she goes deeper into the mystery: will she pull it off? The risk factors are high, and every page is filled with suspense. French crafts a story that’s thrilling and makes you think about identity and tricks. A simple story? Yes. Unforgettable? Absolutely!

Faithful Place (2010)

Now, let’s talk about “Faithful Place.” In this book by French, a detective finds an old suitcase from someone he used to love. This suitcase isn’t just a bag; it brings back memories from years ago.

This isn’t just another task for him; it’s about his past. As he looks into this mystery, readers go on a journey with him, feeling what he feels. What happened to the person he loved? Why did this suitcase show up now? French tells a story about love and mysteries waiting to be solved in this book. It’s emotional, exciting, and so real.

Broken Harbor (2012)

Step into “Broken Harbor” and get ready for a gripping story. Tana French takes us to a quiet, unfinished housing area in this book. It should be a place of new beginnings, but instead, there’s a sad family event. It’s not just about finding out what happened; it’s about understanding why.

As readers, we’re asked to think about what family means and how our minds cope with stress. With every page turned, French makes us question what we think we know about people. This story isn’t just a mystery; it’s a deep look into emotions and the human mind. It’s moving, thought-provoking, and simply can’t be missed.

The Secret Place (2014)

Now, let’s explore “The Secret Place.” In this captivating book by French, we’re taken to a fancy girls’ boarding school. But it’s not just about school life. There’s a mystery here – a tragic murder. Now, imagine a detective trying to solve this case. The challenge? Understanding the complicated world of teenage girls. Their secrets, friendships, and rivalries become key clues.

As the detective digs deeper, readers are pulled into a tornado of emotions and surprising twists. French masterfully shows us that hidden stories are waiting to be told beneath the surface of everyday school life. This book is not just a mystery; it’s a deep jump into young hearts and minds.

The Trespasser (2016)

Now, let’s jump into “The Trespasser.” In this engaging story by Tana French, we follow a detective on a tricky case. At first, it seems like a basic domestic violence situation. But, the detective feels there’s more under the surface. Every clue and witness statement raises more questions. Is everything as it appears? Or are there hidden truths? As the detective goes deeper, readers are pulled into the twists and turns of the investigation. French brilliantly takes us on a journey where appearances can be misleading. This book isn’t just about solving a case; it’s about understanding people and seeing beyond the obvious. A must-read that keeps you guessing!

While it’s not essential to read in order, there’s a certain allure to watching the world of the Dublin Murder Squad unfold in sequence.

Standalone Novels by Tana French

After her initial series, Tana French expanded her horizons with standalone novels. Each one is a testament to her ability to craft mesmerizing stories:

The Witch Elm (2018)

Now, let’s talk about “The Witch Elm.” Tana French brings us a story that’s more than just a mystery. Here, readers find themselves thinking deeper questions. It’s about a family with secrets, the ups and downs of privilege, and the tricky nature of memories.

How do memories shape us? And can they always be trusted? French cleverly piles these themes into an interesting story that keeps readers hooked. Every chapter reveals a little more, urging you to think and question. It’s not just about uncovering the truth in the story; it’s about reflecting on our truths. A brilliantly simple book that makes a lasting impact. So jump into this book and see for yourself!

The Searcher (2020)

The next to talk about is “The Searcher.” Imagine a detective from Chicago. He’s retired and wants a calm life, so he chooses a quiet village in Ireland. He hopes for peace, but guess what? The village has a deep secret. Even though the place looks peaceful and the people are friendly, they have a mystery they want him to solve.

Tana French tells a story about old secrets in new places in this book. It’s not just about solving a case but about a man trying to start fresh but getting pulled back in. It’s a story that shows Ireland’s charm and its hidden stories.

Themes Explored in Tana French’s Works

Tana French is more than just a mystery writer. She deeply explores powerful ideas and feelings we all experience through her stories. Tana French’s books go beyond regular mysteries. They’re like mirrors that reflect how we see ourselves, how our past shapes our present, and how society hides things.

As you read her books, you won’t just get lost in the mysteries but also get thinking about these big ideas. French is an amazing storyteller; her books are not just exciting—they make you think about the world and yourself. So, let’s explore these themes in her works:

Identity and Self

In “The Likeness,” Tana French talks about who we are. Imagine being a detective, and you have to pretend to be someone who looks just like you. This story makes us think about our identity and how we see ourselves. It asks questions like, “Who am I?” and “Do I act differently in different situations?” It’s like peeling away layers to understand who we are.

Past vs. Present

In “Faithful Place,” the past and the present mix together. A detective’s old love returns to his life through an old suitcase. This makes him think about how the things that happened in the past still affect him today. It’s like saying that our history never goes away; it always stays with us. The book makes us think about how our past can shape our present.

Society and its harsh reality

In all of her books, French shows us that there are hidden sides to society. But it’s most clear in “The Secret Place.” This story takes us into the world of teenage girls in a fancy boarding school. We see their secrets, friendships, and rivalries. This book asks us to examine how people interact and how power works. It’s like saying, “Don’t just look at the surface; there’s more underneath that surface.”

Tana French’s Influence and Legacy

Tana French is a game-changer in the world of mystery. Beyond her books, her mark can be seen in TV shows inspired by her stories. Ever watched a gripping mystery series and thought, “This feels like a Tana French story?” There’s a good reason for that! Many new writers admire her, drawing inspiration from her unique style.

What makes her so special? It’s her way of putting together words, creating an almost dreamy setting, and going deep into the human mind. She doesn’t just tell a story; she takes readers on an exciting journey. In today’s literature, her touch is unmistakable. French has made a space for herself, and her legacy will last years.

Where to Next?

So, you’ve turned the last page of a Tana French book and wondered, “What’s next?” Don’t worry; the world of mystery is vast and thrilling. If you’re thinking about writing stories like Tana French but don’t have the skills, you can consider seeking help from experts at Ghostwriting Founder. They can assist you in bringing your ideas to life and crafting captivating mysteries that will grip readers from start to finish. It’s like having a guiding hand on your journey to becoming a successful mystery writer. Explore, and let your love for storytelling flourish.


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Essential Elements and Detailed Insights

Book Title Publication Year Key Themes/Notes
In The Woods 2007 Introduction to Dublin Murder Squad, explores past secrets and connections between old and new mysteries.
The Likeness 2008 Focus on identity and self, detective discovers a look-alike, delves into undercover operation.
Faithful Place 2010 Past vs. present, a detective confronts old memories and unresolved love.
Broken Harbor 2012 Explores family dynamics, mental stress, and societal expectations.
The Secret Place 2014 Set in a girls’ boarding school, examines teenage dynamics, secrets, and rivalries.
The Trespasser 2016 A detective faces a complex case, themes of appearance vs. reality.
The Witch Elm 2018 Standalone novel, delves into family secrets, privilege, and the reliability of memories.
The Searcher 2020 Standalone novel, a retired detective in Ireland uncovers village secrets, explores themes of starting anew.


In the world of storytelling, French shines brightly. Whether you’re a long-time fan or just beginning your literary journey with her, one thing is clear: her stories are simply captivating. By following this guide and engaging yourself in her books in the recommended order, you’re getting on a reading adventure filled with suspense, emotion, and sheer literary brilliance. Each page promises a new twist, and every chapter a new shock. So, with a heart eager for mystery and a mind ready for the unexpected, jump into Tana French’s world.

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