Binge on Books: Tana French’s Murder Squad Series Better Than Netflix
Having recently read and reviewed “The Searcher”, I am hooked on Tana French. Consequently, I decided to tackle the “Dublin Murder Squad Series”. During the Covid 19 “stay-at-home”, I admit to bingeing on mystery series on Netflix, but I also was intrigued by these six primary works by Tana French. Included in the series are: #1, “In the Woods”; #2,”The Likeness”; #3, “Faithful Place”; #4, “Broken Harbor”; #5, “The Secret Place”; #6, “The Trespasser”. I highly recommend bingeing on these books about police detectives on the murder squad in Dublin, Ireland.
French is “required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting.”– The New York Times –
6 Tana French Books Reviewed
- “In The Woods” – Meet detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox as they investigate the murder of a twelve year old girl. This one is personal for Ryan. There are two mysteries in one solved by a piercing exploration of memory.
- “The Likeness” – Meet detectives Cassie Maddox and Sam O’Neill as they investigate a murder of a young woman who shockingly could be Cassie’s double. This is a true literary detective novel rather than a “whodunnit”.
- “Faithful Place” – Meet detective Frank Mackey as he returns, after twenty-two years, to the Dublin inner city neighborhood where he grew up. Sibling rivalries, class conflicts, old grudges, adolescent flirtations and memories of childhood violence are artfully embedded in this novel.
- “Broken Harbor” – Meet detective Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy as he investigates the murder of a family living in one of the half abandoned “luxury” developments that litter Ireland. With red herrings and false turns aplenty, this one will keep you braced right to the shocking final pages. This is not just about the solving of a crime, but about the destruction of a generation’s hopes and dreams.
- “The Secret Place” – Meet detectives Stephen Moran and Antoinette Conway as they investigate the murder of a student at a private school. Detective Frank Mackey’s (from book #3) daughter attends the same school. As well as divides of age and class, French handles the gender clashes perceptively. French offers a chilling portrait of how teenage friendships can overrule conventional morality.
- “The Trespasser” – Detectives Conway and Moran investigate what appears to be a lovers’ quarrel gone bad. “Make only one assumption: all of your initial assumptions are wrong.” – The New York Times.
I read these books in order, however, each stands alone. Each book features a new case lead by different detectives. There is a subtle thread of connection, from one book to the next, artfully woven by French. In all of her novels, the investigators are undone and then put back together again by mysteries that are devised to reveal their very worst tendencies. They emerge fundamentally changed. In several instances, their youthful experiences haunt them and help guide their investigations.
Once you begin reading any one of these books, I’m certain you will discover Tana French’s novels are set in propelling motion by the twisted and often conflicted survivors who people them. You’ll want to read another, and then another . . .
This series would be a great “summer reads” project.