Review: The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan


Title: The Ruin (Cormac Reilly #1)

Author: Dervla McTiernan

Published: February 18th 2018, HarperCollins Australia

Status: Read August 2019



My Thoughts:

Dervla McTiernan’s debut novel has become a bestseller in Australia and Ireland, and was named an Amazon book of the year in the USA. The Ruin is a police procedural, Introducing Cormac Reilly, a detective in the An Garda Síochána.

Having spent most of his career with Ireland’s elite Garda units in Dublin, Cormac Reilly is finding his new appointment at a Garda Station in Galway disappointing, his new colleagues are unwelcoming, and his boss has assigned him nothing but cold cases since he has arrived. Cormac is puzzled when one of those cases involves the first call he ever attended as a rookie twenty years before, the overdose of a young mother, who left behind two neglected children, fifteen year old Maude and five year old Jake.

Aisling is devastated when two Garda officers arrive at her door and inform her that her partner is dead, an anonymous caller reported that Jack jumped from O’Brien’s Bridge and his body has been discovered downstream. In shock and feeling guilty about a recent disagreement, Aisling doesn’t question the verdict of suicide, but his sister Maude refuses to accept the possibility, and is determined to prove it despite the gardai’s refusal to investigate.

The Ruin unfolds from the perspectives of a Cormac and Aisling as the past and present collide. McTiernan develops an intelligent, layered plot that delves into issues such as child abuse, addiction, abortion and corruption. The questions surrounding Jack’s death are intriguing and I enjoyed the twists and turns the case took.

Cormac is almost unique in crime fiction – a male detective who isn’t a single, alcoholic, depressive. McTiernan only seems to provide a general sense of who Reilly is though, as a detective he is hardworking, ethical, and impatient with office politics, as a man, he is generally amiable and thoughtful , and there are hints of an interesting backstory related to his partner, for whom he relocated to Galway.

I expect as the series progresses we will learn more about Reilly’s new colleagues, many of whom seem to be hiding secrets. The characters specifically relating to the plot are well rounded and believable. Aisling and Maude are sympathetic, and the neighbour, Mrs. Keane, gave me the creeps.

McTiernan strikes just the right balance between description and detail, creating vivid settings. The pace is great, with each chapter moving the story forward, culminating in an tense conclusion.

The Ruin is a gritty, compelling, atmospheric novel, deserving of the praise it has received. The Ruin’s sequel, The Scholar was released in February 2019, and the third novel in the series, No Good Turn is Due for publication in 2020.


Read a Sample

Available from HarperCollins Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mystica
    Aug 29, 2019 @ 17:15:00

    New author and book for me. I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. moonether
    Aug 29, 2019 @ 18:03:40

    Oh this seems very interesting!

    Lotte |

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Beth F
    Aug 30, 2019 @ 20:59:20

    Oh this sounds good and I love getting in at the beginning of a series!

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Helen Murdoch
    Sep 01, 2019 @ 07:12:42

    I enjoyed this one, too. It felt different from many detective novels, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Glad you liked it.

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  6. Trackback: Review: The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan | book'd out

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