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The Ruin: A Novel Paperback – July 3, 2018
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“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
“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)
“Compelling, unexpected twists and a hold-your breath standoff. . . . Hand this one to readers of Tana French and to police-procedural fans.”
About the Author
Dervla McTiernan was born in Ireland and now lives with her family in Australia, where she works for the Mental Health Commission. The Ruin is her first novel.
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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.
I did not like how Cormac was simultaneously working on 2 cases in the book. I found the parts that were about Jake and Maude Blake interesting, and the parts about his other investigation seemed disjointed and confusing. Sometimes I started a chapter thinking we were talking about one case and in fact realised a couple of pages later that it wasn’t that case!
In terms of the characters I found it difficult to connect to any of them. Cormac seemed… dull. His character was supposed to be a really smart, really on-the-ball detective but in this particular case he seemed completely at a loss most of the time and couldn’t put the pieces together until the book was nearly over. I was actually starting to anticipate that he and Emma would break-up their relationship because they seemed to never see each other and never have time to do anything together. But that didn’t happen, and I think perhaps had the author given a little more attention to his personal life it would’ve made it easier to connect with him. Aisling was possibly the most annoying character, she couldn’t make her mind up about anything and every chapter that revolved around her was difficult and painful to read. The things that she had to say in light of Jake’s death seemed to suggest how much she cared for him and loved him, but for some reason the feeling just didn’t come across. Maude was probably my favourite character, but even then I wanted the author to delve deeper into her character’s layers, and that just didn’t happen.
I’m sad to say that I probably won’t be purchasing the next book in the series when it comes out.
Cormac’s first case in Galway as a young constable involved a call out to a dead woman in a lonely, crumbling mansion. He’ll never forget the two starving, neglected children, Jack and Maude who he found there and took to A&E and always wondered what became of them. Now Jack’s body has been fished out of the river after an apparent suicide, but his partner Aisling refuses to believe that and wants the gardai to investigate his death. Cormac is assigned the case and his investigations lead him to wonder what happened 20y ago in that house where he found Jack and Maude.
This is an amazingly good debut novel by Irish-Australian Dervla McTiernan. Well written with a compelling story line and believable characters, the novels weaves in threads dealing with the Catholic Church, historical child abuse and current day corruption in the police force. It’s refreshing to see that Cormac is a modern hard working, honest sort of detective with a pleasant personality and happy home life and not the grumpy, alcoholic or depressed divorcee that populates so many thrillers. I am also very happy to see that this is the first in a series as I can’t wait to see Cormac and some of the other characters back in action.
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I really enjoyed all the twists and turns. Always a little sad when a book as good as this ends