Top positive review
At Last - Real, Human Detectives
14 March 2019
I have been looking forward to "The Scholar" since I put down "The Ruin" and it doesn't disappoint. Dervla McTiernan is unique in my experience in writing complex, interesting and entertaining detective stories while maintaining the core humanity of the central police characters.
You won't find any bewildering leaps of imagination or deduction here, just good, solid police work by three-dimensional characters you would recognise in a visit to any large police station. I was particularly stuck by a scene, involving a DC making an unauthorised and contrary-to-procedure phone call to a police force in a neighbouring country after following a solid lead. I have been there myself, and everything about it rang true, especially the officer's self-doubt afterwards, and his worry that while moving an investigation on he risked tainting evidence.
The lead character, DS Reilly, is complex, far from infallible and in some ways deeply flawed. But this is not in the way that has become almost a compulsory stereotype in other fiction of this genre, on page and on screen. His flaws are small and everyday, and the result is relationships at work and at home which could be much better than he ends up making them. He's just like the rest of us, and so are his colleagues and the members of the public he encounters. Just like policing in real life.
I can't wait for the next one. This book can certainly be read on its own, but I suggest it's best devoured as a second course in a meal that begins with "The Ruin". Don't expect to get much else done until you've finished reading them though - they are compelling stories.