Top Ten Tuesday: Books for People Who Liked Tana French

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics

Although I skipped last week’s theme, not really able to select a past Top Ten theme that I wanted to revisit, and instead tried to catch up with a book review – one of many still waiting to be published and, to be honest, written!

This week’s theme poses its own challenge. I love the idea of recommending books similar to a favourite author, but which author to focus on? Do I pick an author I find comforting and warm, or an author I find challenging? Do I find an adult author or young adult? Do I focus on classics or on modern writers? I want to pick my favourite author and rave about them… but again I have so many favourites…

Tana French

So let’s focus on Tana French. I love Tana French and her Dublin Murder Series – a genuinely convincing contemporary police procedural series, whilst also a real exploration of characters and their relationships with a deliciously dark Gothic feel to them.

I adore the way that each book focuses on one character perspective and that that point of view switch in the next book to a secondary character from the previous book. It is so clever as we continually re-evaluate and reform our views of those characters as the series progresses. And French’s writing is so good too! Her ability to delve into intense cliquey relationships – whether at an all girls’ school or among university students or between officers – was wonderful, and her ear for dialogue is exceptional. As an actress, her depictions of interviews, both the dialogue and the stage management of the police interview, is brilliant – on a par with BBC’s In The Line of Fire.

So, if you loved any of these books, what other novels would I recommend?

Other novels by Tana French: The Wych Elm and The Searcher

Both of these novels move away from Dublin, and away from those characters that we grew to love on the Murder Squad series, but they both feature compelling and convincing characters in their own right. Both are compelling and fascinating where the law and what is right don’t always make comfortable bed fellows.

The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInerney

Very darkly comic, this exploration of Irish underground culture, gangs and drugs and prostitution, this is not a detective novel like French’s are, but it introduces us to a fantastic cast of characters, exceptional dialogue and wonderful writing.

The Jackson Brodie novels, Kate Atkinson

These novels are exceptional. Like Tana French, they revolve around detective fiction although we delve into private detective rather than police procedural, although as an ex police officer, Jackson Brodie keeps faith with those procedures. Atkinson’s novels are overtly literary and allusive behind the detective work, but in a way which never impedes and only sharpens the core plot, and wonderfully funny, absurd and darkly – oh so darkly – humourous. Atkinson plays with and uses coincidence as a plot device, almost as a theme, in ways which would seem mawkish in another writer’s hands. Sublime.

The Aaron Falk series, Jane Harper

Another set of character-driven crime novels. moving from British and Irish soil to the other sid eof the world. These novels feature intense character relationships, hidden secrets and guilt and a fnatastic sense of place.

The Milennium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson

Whilst I have not read the continuation of the trilogy by David Lagercrantz yet, the first three novels, which work together so cohesively, were extraordinary. Unlike Tana French, Larsson fixes the whole trilogy on the enigmatic, troubled, violent, brilliant character of Lisbeth Salander and that one character was an absolute icon! Loved this series so much!

Hare House, Sally Hinchcliffe

I mentioned that the Tana French novels feature a taste of the Gothic which comes to the fore mostly in Broken Harbour for me where a family become obsessed that a beast of some kind is living within the walls of their house…

“For an instant I thought I saw something move—a shifting and coalescing of the black, a deliberate muscled ripple—but when I blinked, there was only darkness and the flood of cold air.”

Hare House contains a similar aesthetic as the weather closes in around a family in the wilderness of Scotland and something seems to be stalking the land around – perhaps a witch or her familiar…

Starve Acre, Andrew Michael Hurley

Again, this feeds off the Gothic sensibilities of the Dublin Murder Squad, as a mysterious otherly presence which may or may not be in the grief-stricken minds of the family, seems to become manifest in a resurrected hare. Odd that this is the second book revolving around hares in this list.

Lanny, Max Porter

Again, the link to Tana French here is both the quality of the writing – although Porter’s is far more poetical, lyrical and luminous than French’s, they are both exquisite writers that capture the sounds and rhythms of speech – and the gothic tone, which for Porter becomes folkloric. Dead Papa Toothwort is a fantastic literary creation!

Treacle Walker, Alan Garner

Again, this is folkloric and wonderful and certainly if you enjoyed the Max Porter, this should be a joy. It is a novel so heavily rooted in the rhythms of folklore and of voice.

Whilst I accept that I may have begun to meander a distance from Tana French’s novels, rooted as they are in the conventions of the police procedural, I still insist that there is something at their core that these novels all share.

How many have you come across, and what others might you recommend? Please do comment!

Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes

April 4: Indie/Self-Published Books (submitted by Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits)
April 11: Titles with Animals In Them and/or Covers with Animals On Them (submitted by Rachel @ Sunny Side)
April 18: Non-book Freebie (choose your own topic that’s not related to books! This could be hobbies, TV shows/movies, bands/singers, food items/recipes, top ten things about you, your top ten favorite things, places you’ve visited, favorite fashion designers, etc. Take this time to let your readers get to know you a little!)
April 25: Favorite Audiobook Narrators (or, if you don’t listen to audiobooks, name people—celebrities or otherwise—who might make you reconsider.)

16 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books for People Who Liked Tana French”

  1. I think it is virtually impossible to find other authors who are like Tana French. She’s simply unique. The closest thing is possibly a baked alaska. Seriously. The story appears pale and billowy on the outside hiding the fact that it’s actually oven hot, hiding the fact that the heart is ice cold. But the hot and cold together. Mmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

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