I love a good mystery, but I can be picky in what I read within the genre. Tana French is one of the authors I will unfailingly pick up: I've fallen for her slow, deliberate pacing that startles you with its occasional abruptness; for the ways that her stories explore the very human--and therefore all the more shocking--sides of crime; for the distinctively Irish voice that each of her stories takes on and represents; for her skill in picking up a secondary or even tertiary character in one novel and making him or her the star of the next.
More than that, though, I love how she crafts stories full of unendingly strange occurrences and coincidences (a detective that looks so much like a murder victim that she can go undercover as that victim; a cop whose past involvement as the victim of a crime never manages to find its way onto his record, so he isn't assigned to investigate any related activities; a murder squad pro with a slightly deranged and entirely secret-from-the-force younger sister) and manages never to make her stories about their strangenesses. They are instead stories about human relationships and the way crime factors into the human experience, which, though we might like to pretend it isn't so, is part of the world we live in.
Though each of the novels in The Dublin Murder Squad series is, at its heart, a whodunit, these are not mysteries of serial killers and high-speed chases, terrorists and automatic weapons. They are instead a combination of "whodunits" and "whydunits" and "how-the-dunits-change-us". French explores the pasts and unlived futures of her novels' victims; the non-police lives of her police characters; the ways a crime can impact a neighborhood and the ways a neighborhood can impact a crime. In The Likeness, she explores bonds of friendship--bonds that are strong too such a point that they are almost too strong. In Faithful Place and Broken Harbour, she explores how our families can make us stronger or make us weaker--but ultimately make us who we are. Memory and history are central to In the Woods.
I've put off starting Secret Place, saving it for an as-yet-unidentified road trip or travel (I've listened to all of the Dublin Murder Squad series on audio, and can't recommend them enough if you're an audiobook person). I believe French is still writing the series, so this won't necessarily be the end, but I can't seem to get enough of the way she combines captivating and compelling storylines with interesting and subtle reflections on human psychology.