The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan @DervlaMcTiernan @LittleBrown


Source: Netgalley

Publication: 6 September 2018 from Sphere

Pp: 400

ISBN-13: 978-0751569315


Cormac Reilly is about to re-open the case it took him twenty years to forget

On his first week on the job, Garda Cormac Reilly responds to a call at a decrepit country house to find two silent, neglected children waiting for him – fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack. Their mother lies dead upstairs.

Twenty years later, Cormac has left his high-flying career as a detective in Dublin and returned to Galway. As he struggles to navigate the politics of a new police station, Maude and Jack return to haunt him.

What ties a recent suicide to the woman’s death so long ago? And who among his new colleagues can Cormac really trust?

Happy paperback publishing day to Dervla McTiernan.

Rúin is old Irish for secret, and this is a book full of secrets. Our protagonist is Cormac Reilly, a D.I. in the Gardaí.  Cormac has been stationed in Dublin and doing very well but has just moved to Galway in order to be with his partner, Emma, who has just taken on an important new job.

He isn’t settling in too well, though. The rest of the station staff aren’t exactly wowed by the new broom from Dublin and the only person he knows at work is being ignored by everyone. To top it off, all his work so far is on cold cases – hardly the glory bit of the job.

When he was a Dublin rookie, Cormac was sent out to a call at the  Dower House in the small village of Kilmore. What he saw there has haunted him ever since. Scenes of neglect and abuse, drugs and alcohol use and 2 young children; Maude who is 15 and Jack is 5 years old. Their mother, Hilaria Blake lies dead upstairs of a heroin overdose.

Cormac took the children to the hospital but Maude later disappeared, never to be found and Jack went into the foster care system. It’s the case that has stayed with him, never to be forgotten.

Jack grows up to be an engineer and when he is found drowned, the police accept it as suicide but his sister, Maud, recently returned from Australia, thinks differently. Maud talks Jack’s partner Aisling into helping her investigate his death.

Out of the blue, Cormac is asked to look into the death of Hilaria Blake as a cold case and soon finds himself under pressure to look at Maud as a suspect.

Something is clearly rotten, but it’s hard for Cormac to know who he can trust. As the past and present begin to throw up their secrets, Cormac will find he is is the object of gossip and speculation and that this may be the case that will bring his career to a grinding halt.

This is a really cracking start to a new series. I was immersed in McTiernan’s well developed storytelling. Her plot is complex and multi-layered and her characterisation excellent.

The story takes a while to give up its background, but once it does, the pace and tension really get the heart racing. Cormac is a great character and I can’t wait for more from him.


Verdict: Great characters, a heart–stopping and sometimes heart-breaking read.

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About Dervla McTiernan


Dervla McTiernan’s debut novel The Rúin sold in a six-way auction in Australia, and has since sold to the United States, the UK and Ireland, and Germany.

Dervla was born in County Cork, Ireland to a family of seven.

She studied corporate law at the National University of Ireland, Galway and the Law Society of Ireland, and practised as a lawyer for twelve years. Following the global financial crisis she moved with her family to Western Australia, where she now lives with her husband and two children.

In 2015 she submitted a story for the Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto competition and was shortlisted. This gave her the confidence to complete the novel that would become The Rúin, which will be published in 2018 in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Follow Dervla on Twitter @DervlaMcTiernan

Published by marypicken

Passionate book reader. Love all kind of books from 19th century novels to crime thrillers. My blog is predominantly crime, psychological thrillers and police procedurals with a good helping of literary fiction thrown in.

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