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.

++++++++

Available from William Morrow

Or help support* Book’d Out

Buy from Booktopia*

*As an affiliate of Booktopia I may earn a small commission on your purchase at no additional cost to you.*

Review: The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

 


Title: The Good Turn (Cormac Reilly #3)

Author: Dervla McTiernan

Published: 24th February 2020, HarperCollins Au

Status: Read February 2020 courtesy HarperCollins/Netgalley

+++++++

My Thoughts:

One of the significant plot lines of the series so far is brought to a close in The Good Turn, the third book to feature Irish Garda Detective Cormac Reilly in Dervla McTiernan’s brilliant police procedural series, though not before Reilly nearly loses everything.

It begins when a young girl is abducted from a suburban street and Murphy’s refusal of resources to properly investigate leads Garda Peter Fisher to make a fatal error in judgement. As his supervising officer, Cormac is held responsible for Peter’s actions and suspended, while Peter, threatened with criminal charges, is banished to the small village station his estranged father runs on the Irish coast. Cormac is less worried about his own fate than restoring Peter’s reputation but it soon becomes clear the only way to do so is to take a stand against the corruption that infests not only his station, but the entire Galway police force.

McTiernan skilfully builds the tension as Cormac’s attempts to expose the conspiracy are repeatedly thwarted. A lesser man might simply walk away, as Emma, his girlfriend, encourages him to do, but Reilly simply can’t allow Murphy and his cronies to operate unchecked. The twists and turns of his struggle to bring his corrupt colleagues down, even when it seems inevitable that his twenty year career will end in ignominy, are thrilling.

Meanwhile Peter, resentful in exile, ignores his father’s advice to leave well enough alone when the details in a case of a double murder on the village outskirts don’t quite add up. I really enjoyed Peter’s character development as he is forced to make some difficult choices, and consider what type of police officer he wants to be.

McTiernan’s pacing of the concurrent story threads, of which there are several, is perfect, and the icy setting of a freezing Irish winter artfully reinforces the notion that both Cormac and Peter are ‘out in the cold’.

With it’s stellar characterisation, intricate plotting and vivid description, The Good Turn, like its predecessors, The Ruin and The Scholar, are a must read. I can’t wait for the next.

++++++

Available from HarperCollins Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Read a Sample