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The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan
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The Ruin

by Dervla McTiernan

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This is a well-written and tightly plotted book that I found completely engaging. I admit however, the some of what I found most appealing about the book would be aspects others might find annoying. I found Cormac and Aisling to be well-drawn. I found them both believable, even in their inconsistencies., although liking the characters is not something I find necessary in a novel. In fact their inconsistencies were part of what I liked best about the novel. The intellectual part of me wants a hard-hitting super-detective but humans aren't really like that. The people who do well and get ahead aren't always the smartest, aren't any different than you or I; they work hard and learn how to play the game. We all do that. We want our heroes to be superheroes. We also tend to think we are somehow inferior because we have to learn to play the game to succeed. McTiernan plays on that in this novel. Cormac is also in a difficult, liminal period of his career, and is not sure which steps are the right steps. He stumbles. He has a blind spot. He cannot see the true nature of an old friend. But again most of us are like that in the same way. I was rooting for him even as I was cursing his missteps. I will read the author's next novel when it is released. ( )
  dooney | Dec 3, 2018 |
Rating: 2.5

An apparently happy young man (with a very sad childhood, which he seems to have put behind him) appears to have committed suicide. His sister and his girlfriend come to believe that he was actually murdered, but the Galway Garda are strangely reluctant to investigate. Subplots aplenty are thrown into the mix, most relating to this central crime.

The author shows promise. The writing is mostly competent, and there are a few well-depicted scenes, but I found the denouement contrived and unsatisfying. I wonder, too, about a series based on a detective so blind to a supposed friend’s actual character.It’s hard to believe someone in law enforcement (and in his early 40s to boot) would be quite so dense. It all seemed slightly flat to me. ( )
  fountainoverflows | Nov 30, 2018 |
When a young man (Jack) apparently jumps off a bridge and commits suicide his girlfriend (Aisling) is heart broken as we would expect. But, his sister comes back home from Australia she insists that this is something Jack would not do. She suspects murder. As the plot unravels were hear stories of child abuse and police corruption. It takes the full extent of the book for the complex tale to come to light. This is a great novel for the mystery lover with a bevy of twists and turns. The novel was very well written I was drawn into this taut story. ( )
  muddyboy | Oct 16, 2018 |
This mystery was okay, as mysteries go, and it did entertain me. However, I never was able to connect with the characters. It's not that I disliked them, even the ones I was supposed to dislike, it's just that I didn't care. Apparently, this is the first book of a series, none other published yet, and I won't go out of my way to read any future installments. The story was wrapped up reasonably well at the end, so it's not like I was left with a cliffhanger, to compel me to get the next book – I hate when that happens.

I did find it kind of...well, not actually funny, but...interestingly coincidental that, when speaking of a rapist, there was this sentence: “But she caught the eye of that man Kavanagh. And he put something in her drink, and her friends just left her there.” There were some Irish terms that I'm not familiar with, but not that I couldn't get the gist from context. A decent book for those who like mysteries, but a bit run-of-the-mill. ( )
1 vote TooBusyReading | Oct 12, 2018 |
Twenty years ago Cormac Reilly was a fresh faced, rookie cop, who thought he had been sent to a standard domestic problem. In a rundown old house that took forever to find, what he ended up discovering comes back to haunt him all these years later. Fifteen-year-old Maud Blake and her five-year-old brother Jack are in the house with the body of their alcoholic mother, dead from an apparent overdose. After taking the children straight to hospital Reilly discovers that Jack has been the victim of abuse, while Maud vanishes into the night. Twenty years on, Reilly's moved to Galway from Dublin, put on cold cases for his sins, and handed the re-investigation of Hilaria Blake's supposed overdose when Jack seemingly suicides and Maud reappears.

Complicated story then, handled with considerable aplomb. The narrative switches between Reilly and Jack's girlfriend Aisling. Maud's unannounced return to Ireland after many years living in Australia gives Aisling a difficult but necessary ally in doubting the police's all too rapid conclusion, but Maud's presence is also the catalyst for the re-investigation of her mother's own overdose. All these layers and wheels within wheels work well, each of these characters are seamlessly and cleverly worked into the present and the past; into their shared positions of catalyst, questioner, cause and outcome. Even Reilly is provided with traces of a back-story, his return to Galway, complications in his personal life, and reasons for his colleagues to mistrust him. Done as hints and pointers, Reilly's story is part of THE RUIN but it's not everything. The balance between his story, and the story of a family of 3, now 1, and the reasons why is, rightly, the focus.

Obviously there is plenty of social history here and THE RUIN does not pull back from addressing the history of child sex abuse, the role of churches and authorities, under-resourced social workers, and good and not so good policing. This isn't a novel that goes into detail about the actual abuse, but it doesn't leave anything to the imagination when it comes to the causes, complicity, or even consequences. There are scars aplenty and not everything ends with justice being served.

THE RUIN is set in McTiernan's original country of Ireland and it's one stonkingly good debut novel. Populated by excellent characters, dripping with intrigue and menace, and heralding heaps of long and very enjoyable series potential.

https://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/ruin-dervla-mctiernan-0 ( )
  austcrimefiction | Aug 13, 2018 |
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Galway 1993: Young Garda Cormac Reilly is called to a scene he will never forget. Two silent, neglected children - fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack - are waiting for him at a crumbling country house. Upstairs, their mother lies dead. Twenty years later, a body surfaces in the icy black waters of the River Corrib. At first it looks like an open-and-shut case, but then doubt is cast on the investigation's findings - and the integrity of the police. Cormac is thrown back into the cold case that has haunted him his entire career - what links the two deaths, two decades apart? As he navigates his way through police politics and the ghosts of the past, Detective Reilly uncovers shocking secrets and finds he questioning who among his colleagues he can trust. What really did happen in that house where he first met Maude and Jack? The Ruin draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland and asks who will protect you when the authorities can't - or won't.… (more)

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