Review: The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan


Title: The Murder Rule

Author: Dervla McTiernan

Published: 4th May 2022, WilliamMorrow

Status: Read May 2022 courtesy HarperCollins/Edelweiss



My Thoughts:


Offering some startling twists and turns, The Murder Rule is a compelling stand alone legal thriller from best selling author, Dervla McTiernan.

When law student Hannah Rokeby learns that the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia is making progress overturning the sentence of convicted rapist and murderer, Michael Dandridge, she leaves her sick mother, Laura, in the care of a neighbour, and relocates to Charlottesville where she convinces Professor Robert Parekh she’d be an asset to the program. But Hannah doesn’t want to save Michael, she wants to ensure the man is never released.

I was immediately intrigued by the premise of The Murder Rule, and why, and how, a young woman might go about undermining a prisoner’s release. With the preliminary hearing for dismissal imminent, the Innocence team, and Hannah, are under pressure to complete their respective objectives, and that tension translates well to the story’s pacing.

Hannah certainly seems convinced that her mission is righteous, and though her ruthless moves to gain a place on the project are not flattering, once her motive is disclosed in the alternating chapters that provide entries from her mother’s diary written 24 years earlier, Hannah’s behaviour seems if not reasonable, then at least justifiable. I liked the ambiguity of Hannah’s character, I was never entirely sure what she’d do, particularly when faced with information that challenged her beliefs.

There are some quite spectacular surprises in the novel, one twist in particular made me gasp out loud as it was so unexpected. There are also a number of tense, and even violent, moments as Hannah, and her colleagues, step on toes during their investigation. As much as I enjoyed the story, I have to admit there are some distracting flaws related to the legal elements of the story, and these particularly detracted from the intensity of the climatic courtroom scene, even though the outcome was satisfying.

Though not as sophisticated as McTiernan’s award winning Cormac Reilly, I still found The Murder Rule to be a page-turning, entertaining thriller with a compelling concept.


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8 Comments (+add yours?)

    May 05, 2022 @ 06:51:13

    Looks like we shared similar feelings about this one. In my review (to be published this month) I remarked that while I enjoyed this pretty well as a stand-alone, I missed the ‘Irishness’ of the previous series.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. WendyW
    May 05, 2022 @ 11:31:34

    Very interesting premise.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Jennifer
    May 05, 2022 @ 13:58:22

    I agree, Shelleyrae.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Carla
    May 05, 2022 @ 22:31:40

    I enjoyed this book as well, Shelleyrae. Great review. I need to read more of her Cormac Reilly series.

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Helen Murdoch
    May 06, 2022 @ 02:37:25

    Oh, I like the twist of working within the Innocence Project to see that someone is NOT released and McTiernan is a good author. Adding this to the TBR list!

    Liked by 1 person


  6. thebookishlibra
    May 06, 2022 @ 09:03:28

    I’m not familiar with this author but this really does sound like an excellent page turner. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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  8. Northwoman
    May 10, 2022 @ 03:32:07

    Excellent review! I agree with your assessment that some things seemed iffy legally. It certainly was a mind bender with some stunning information gathered.

    Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person


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