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The Ruin Paperback – 29 Jan 2019
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About the Author
Dervla McTiernan's debut novel, The Rúin, was a critically acclaimed international bestseller published around the world. The Rúin won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, the Davitt Award for Best Adult Fiction and the Barry Award for Best Original Paperback, and was shortlisted for numerous other awards. It was on the Amazon US Best Book of the Year list in 2018 and screen rights were snapped up by Hopscotch Features.
Dervla's second book, The Scholar, debuted into the Nielsen Bookscan Top 5 on release in 2019, and her third, The Good Turn, went straight to no.1, confirming her place as one of Australia's best crime writers.
Born in County Cork, Ireland, to a family of seven, Dervla practised as a corporate 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. An avid fan of crime and detective novels from childhood, Dervla now writes full time.
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In "Ruin", Dervla McTiernan has managed to craft an intriguing and pacy storyline, while at the same time creating credible characters I now feel I would recognise if I passed them on the street. I could see the DS Reilly's squadroom, and taste the tension in that Galway police station.
I am looking forward to the next installment. Perhaps Cormac Reilly could find himself in Australia - it worked out pretty well for Harry Hole.
All in all The Ruin is an intricate tale of deceit and lies. It's gripping and exciting, and I found I didn't want to put it down until everything was resolved, which kept me up well into the night. Recommended for all lovers of crime and mysteries.
McTiernan's portrayal of the characters is masterful and the way they develop across the book leaves you wondering where this is all going to go. Who do you believe and who can you trust? Her portrayal of places paints a picture for the reader, and while it be a slightly dark and depressing painting, it carries a certain romance and works on so many levels.
I can comfortably give this book 5 stars as I really couldn't put it down and found myself second guessing my second guesses about the plot direction. If, and I suspect she will, McTiernan can back this novel up then there will be one serious new player in the crime fiction field.
This book is meant to the first in a series. And as such, there is considerable exposition that is not immediately relevant to the murders investigated in this book.
The first half of the book was confusing with the different characters and their points of view. This settled down in the second half as the varoius plots began to resolve themselves.
The intersection of police politics and the ingenuity of the murderer made this a good murder mystery. However, the final confrontation between Cormac and the murderer lacked credibility.
Top international reviews
As a rookie cop in 1993, Garda Cormac Reilly attended a remote house on a call of domestic violence to find a dead mother, from an apparent drug overdose, and two children, 15-year-old Maude Blake and her 5-year-old brother Jack, both malnourished and both with bruising. Jack is so bad that Cormac takes him to the hospital in Galway along with his sister. Maude absconds and even a distressed Cormac manages to let the thoughts of her, and Jack left alone and placed into foster care, drift from his mind.
In 2013, Garda Cormac Reilly returns with his partner Emma, to Galway after a stellar Detective Sergeant career in Dublin, to a situation where his boss has placed him on cold cases. Within the police station, Dervla McTiernan creates an enthralling atmosphere of internal politics, mistrust and suspicion of police corruption everywhere. Cormac feels it difficult to navigate and even his old friends are keeping secrets. A suicide is called in on St Patrick's Day and the person is identified as Jack. Maude returns from Australia for the first time in 20 years and with Jack’s pregnant partner Aisling, they question the evidence that relates to the supposed suicide and the glaring holes in the evidence. The police seem totally disinterested in pursuing any alternatives to suicide. Shortly after Cormac is handed a cold case, to investigate the death of Jack and Maude’s mother from 1993. Cormac knows he's a pawn in some greater game but is determined to conduct himself appropriately and not jump to decisions hastily. Dervla has written such an enthralling plot that is just mesmerising in its twisting possibilities.
I could connect with all the characters and empathise with particular ones and the dilemmas some face is deeply moving. The dialogue between them is flawless and Dervla has managed to use it sensibly where it's needed and has kept slang out for the benefit of a wider audience. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
I first received this book from Little Brown Book Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC version of the book in return for an honest review.
Thank you, Dervla McTiernan, for creating such realistic, human characters that I really want to watch them interact and grow.
I became totally immersed in the plot and the actors. I found myself urging on some players and wanting to add my bit to others. Wikipedia helped with how I should be pronouncing some of the names! The stories in the overall plot thew further light on my now dead Mother in law's stories of her childhood much of which was spent in an Irish Catholic convent school and a small Southern Ireland town. I an't remember the last book that I have read in which I have felt so involved.
My only beef is how long that I am going to have to wait for the sequel. 🤧 It's ordered
I look forward to reading more by this author.
The story is set in Galway. There are a few sparse references to the coloured houses and the depth and speed of the running water but otherwise, apart from the eternal rain, there’s no strong depiction of where we are and remarkably little sense of place.
Val McDermid is quoted on amazon as saying this book is ‘As moving as it is fast paced’ but this seems rather tongue-in-cheek. After the slow start the plot shimmies out of existence much as it shimmied in, but faster and suddenly we’re there. Had the reader seen more than Cormac grasps, dramatic tension might have been created, but we simply see what Cormac sees. Unless I missed something?
This book has lots of 5 star reviews on amazon so it’s good enough at what it sets out to do. But it was shortlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker award which suggests it should be outstanding in its genre. For me, sadly, it falls a long way short .
I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series.