Review The Ruin: A Novel by Dervla McTiernan

Cormac Reilly is about to reopen the case that took him twenty years to forget … The stunning debut novel from your new favourite crime writer.

Responding to a call that took him to a decrepit country house, young Garda Cormac Reilly found two silent, neglected children – fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack. Their mother lay dead upstairs.

Since then Cormac’s had twenty high-flying years working as a detective in Dublin, and he’s come back to Galway for reasons of his own. 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 that death from so long ago? And who among his new colleagues can Cormac really trust?

Betrayal is at the heart of this unsettling small-town noir and the Ireland it portrays. In a country where the written law isn’t the only one, The Rúin asks who will protect you when the authorities can’t – or won’t.





Editorial Reviews Review


Named one of LitHub’s Most Anticipated Crime, Mystery, and Thrillers of Summer 2018

“A gripping mystery set in Galway that spans 20 years. It’s a complicated page-turning story that touches on corruption, clandestine cover-ups, and criminal conspiracy. . . . A story that’s as moving as it is fast-paced.”
—The Daily Mail

“This searing debut brings together procedural and psychological thriller for a fascinating portrait of small-town Ireland and its big city problems. Addiction, suicide, corruption, and desperation all play their part in this intricate, unsettling noir. Ireland’s experiencing an incredible new wave of women crime writers, spearheaded by the indomitable Tana French, and Dervla McTiernan is a fine new addition to a growing scene.”

“Dervla McTiernan’s deliciously complicated police procedural The Ruin begins when a young man jumps to his death from a bridge in Galway, Ireland—or does he? His girlfriend doesn’t think Jack took his life, and neither does the detective who knew him from another case twenty years earlier. But the harder they dig for answers, the farther the truth recedes, and the more complicated and dangerous their investigation becomes. Fans of Tana French will love McTiernan’s expertly plotted, complex web of secrets that refuse to stay hidden.”
—Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King’s Daughter

“The Ruin is dark and compelling, with the satisfaction of a police procedural and the atmosphere of a gothic mystery. I was gripped by it, and by the complicated, resourceful characters of Aisling and Maude.”
—Flynn Berry, author of Under the Harrow

“Powerful . . . McTiernan neatly ties [the threads of the novel] all together in the suspenseful conclusion. McTiernan, born in Ireland but now living in Australia, is a writer to watch.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Top customer reviews

Wayne Robinson

The good news is that the sequel is already in the pipeline.

The bad news is that it isn’t going to be released until March, 2019. Sigh…

It’s a very engrossing book for an experienced author, let alone a debut novel. The hero of the novel, Cormac Reilly, is a fairly senior detective in the anti-terrorist unit in the big city of Dublin, who realises that the elite unit is about to be considerably downsized, and applies for a transfer to the small town of Galway, partly to accompany his partner, who has been awarded a 3 million Euro grant to lead a research project.

He’s assigned to lead the cold case investigation unit. He’s worried that even after a month in the new job, his colleagues treat him as a pariah. Even an old friend’s behaviour worries him. And then his superior assigns a 20 year old death for him to investigate. One he investigated in his first week as a policeman, and recommended that it ought to be investigated further, but was told that to bury it.

The author introduces Google Timeline as an anachronism in order to advance the plot (the novel was set in 2013, and Timeline was introduced in 2015) because, as the author notes in the afterword, she needed some way for one of the characters to track the movements of her partner before he’d been murdered (and declared, wrongly, by the police to have committed suicide). And being able to find his iPhone on a walking track in a National Park.

I’m not certain whether that would have worked. I have been trying Timeline for the past few days (albeit on an iPod ), and today it had me walking to the middle of Lake Monger in Perth despite actually being on a train 500 metres to the East.

It’s a very good read.

Amazon Customer
It’s a rollicking tale, which sweeps you along and keeps you turning the page. Not great literature but like much of Scandi crime novels, provides a pleasant distraction without any gore or shock.

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