The Ruin

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

Fabulously well written, with a great plot.  So glad I believed all the good reviews and gave this book a go.  Highly recommend to others!  Lives up to the hype.
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Detective Sergeant Cormac Reilly has moved with his girlfriend to a new town and is once again a newbie in the ranks of the local police branch.  Tasked to cast a fresh eye over their cold cases, Cormac is diligently ploughing through the work but is keen to take on something more high profile.  It does niggle that he is not tackling anything current and that his new Galway colleagues aren’t that welcoming, but there is at least one friendly face in the office and Cormac knows he must prove his worth once again to a new audience.  

When presented with a case file from twenty years ago, Cormac is shocked to realize that as a young and fresh police officer, he was the Garda involved in the original callout.  Five year old Jack Blake was placed into foster care and as for the teenage sister Maude, that was the last anyone heard of her after the death of her mother.  It saddens Cormac to be told that the body recently found in the local river was that of the now twenty-five year old Jack Blake.  Jack’s doctor girlfriend Aisling is in shock over her partner’s death but soon has a new ally to stir things up – the newly returned Maude.

You’ve heard a fair bit of buzz about this novel? There’s an excellent reason for that! THE RUIN is a ripper of a read and remarkably polished for a debut novel.  Additionally, it is impressive as series entries face a much harder task in engaging instantly the fickle minds of crime readers.  The series read is (happily) prolific in the crime fiction sphere. There is a huge demand for police procedurals in particular and this rides largely on the strength of that immediacy of engagement with the cast of characters.  The reader needs to be sold as quickly as possible, and this is achieved here in THE RUIN with gratifying ease.

THE RUIN is so confidently written with fully rounded characters that we are assured of some great reading from this series in the future.  Cormac Reilly is a refreshing change from the rumpled, often archaic male protagonist that we are used to seeing leading our fictional crime investigations.  It does feel like the days of encountering that kind of protagonist might be over.  The novel does seems a bit over populated perspective wise at times but the dual lead of Aisling and Cormac gives a good balance to the investigation and its corresponding impact on the bereaved left behind.  

Launching into this book you might think there had been a series predecessor as it is well threaded with lots of scope for possible future plot points to come.  Looking forward to catching up with the cast of THE RUIN soon!  Congratulations to us all, here is the newest addition to our stable of favourite crime authors.
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Okay so I don’t live under a rock. I have heard the buzz around this book for months now and I even requested it off NetGalley a little while ago. So I’m not sure how it is that I only just got around to reading it. I’ve been meaning to but you know how it is. Too many books, too little time! But finally it ended up top of the pile and the hype is real.

Cormac Reilly is a detective who applied for a position in Galway which is kind of a demotion from the specialist terrorist branch he was working prior, but it’s something he chose for personal reasons. Since his arrival at the station he’s mostly been working cold cases and not getting anywhere. There’s a bit of an air from some of his colleagues although Cormac is happy to see a friendly face in Danny, someone he knows from very long ago.

Then Cormac finds one of his very first cases has come back – that of Hilaria Blake, which was Cormac’s first dead body as a young, green rookie. An overdose, Hilaria was ruled an accidental death and Cormac never quite forgot her two children – 15yo Maude, who kept everything together, and 5yo Jack, who had some horrific abuse and injuries. Now, some twenty years later, Jack is dead, an apparent suicide and Cormac’s superiors want him rechecking into the Hilaria Blake case.

This book had me hooked from the first page. It begins in the past, with a young Cormac being sent on what he believes is a call out for a domestic issue. It’s much more than that and his inexperience shows in several different ways during what follows. It seems a straightforward overdose but it’s not until years into the future that some doubts are cast on the events of that day. And the apparent suicide of Jack Blake, who despite a troubled first few years had been taken in by a loving family after the death of his mother, raised in a good home, had a degree and good job, a happy relationship, friends, hobbies….it just doesn’t seem right to those closest to him that he would do that and with no warning. It’s the return of Jack’s sister Maude to Ireland and her absolute conviction that Jack wouldn’t take his own life that pushes an investigation forward, despite the obvious reluctance of some of the officers. It was actually kind of disturbing to see how easy this was written off, despite several glaring inconsistencies – they didn’t even order a toxicology report.

I loved the way this book made me question things over and over again. Did Hilaria really just accidentally overdose or was something more sinister going on? What motive does Maude have for returning now, of all times? If she is involved, as some of the officers believe, then why is she pushing so hard for an investigation into his death? There are so many little things that all begin to pull together and when the full picture becomes clear it was a pleasant surprise how many things I didn’t predict or only just got there as the book was revealing it. The atmosphere is also really well done in this book – Cormac is new to Galway, isolated as well. His partner works long hours, his colleagues are mostly hostile or wary. There are rumours circulating about him and why he’s there, it seems that no one really trusts him. The only exception is an old friend named Danny but Cormac is quick to realise that Danny himself is the subject of a lot of wariness as well and he can’t help but wonder why that is and at some of Danny’s quite odd behaviour. There’s so much mystery and intrigue and the stories have so many layers going on.

This was really clever, an unputdownable read and I can’t wait for the next Cormac Reilly novel. It’s just a shame that the wait is so long before I’ll get to spend time with him again!

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This is police detective story set in Galway, Ireland. While I have not been to Ireland yet, the author’s portrayal was exactly what I would expect - cold, wet and sometimes windy with warm retreats in front of fires and heaters. 
It is an enthralling read that links a 1993 cold case with a sudden death in 2013. There is a lot of different threads in this story which centres around a very interesting police detective, Cormac Reilly who is methodical and thorough in his methods even when others are being chaotic around him.
It was easy to read and the story flowed, moving quickly so that it held my interest. A range of different twists added even more intrigue to the story line and there were many parts which I found quite scary. 
However, this is not just a detective story, it is a story that also highlights difference in a twenty year period - how social and legal attitudes to domestic violence and child abuse have changed. 
I look forward to reading further works from this debut author, Dervla McTiernan and the main character, Cormac Reilly.
Highly recommended read.

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins Australia for an ARC ebook to read and review.
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It has been twenty years since Cormac Reilly, as a young Garda, responded to a call where he found two neglected children in a decrepit house, their mother dead in the room upstairs. Now, the case comes back to haunt him as the younger of the children, Jack, is found in the river. The police say it's a suicide but Jack's sister is back in town and suspects that something more sinister might have occurred. 

The plot of The Ruin unites many different elements in a seamless way. Small-town politics within the police force drive the story in many directions while old cases provide a full and convincing backstory for the characters. 

This book was an engaging read from start to finish, every time I thought I had it figured out new evidence would rise up and keep me guessing. It was superbly written and although there were certain aspects of the characterisation that I found tedious I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the roller-coaster ride it took me on.
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The novel starts 1993 in a derelict old house in Mayo, Ireland. Cormac arrives to investigate a domestic but instead Cormac finds 2 children on their own and in a room upstairs Cormac find their dead mother.
The image of the two neglected children haunt Cormac. Twenty years later Cormac is in Galaway investigating cold cases and trying to work out the pecking order at the Mill Street Garda Station and who he can trust. Other detectives are investigating a murder and the Garda are dealing with the death of a young man. 
While Cormac is trying to find out what is going on at the Garda Station Aisling, is striving to gain a training position as a paediatric surgeon and trying to prove she is available and focused on her career path.
This novel grabbed my attention from the beginning. I liked the way the old derelict house was described, and the description of the two children Cormac found.
I also liked the way Cormac and Aisling dealwith their issues while trying to prove they are reliable and capable.
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A wonderful new voice in crime fiction. Would make a great tv series. Genuine characters that hook you in from the first page. Loved it.
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This is actually a brilliant book for an author's debut, and if she can keep up the standard we are in for an excellent series!

I always  like an Irish setting. This book begins in a dilapidated ruin in the Galway countryside, twenty years in the past, with a dead body and two damaged children and I was instantly gripped! Cormac McCarthy is the young Guard who has to deal with this situation and it comes back to haunt him twenty years later.

The mystery in this book was more the why than the who as it became increasingly obvious who was going to be responsible. Actually having guessed who the main culprit was the story became more tense . On more than one occasion I was saying things like" No! Don't give it to HIM!" as he continued to mosey around in the story as though he had done nothing at all.

As you can tell I got emotionally involved which is always a sign of a good book. This is a very good book and I highly recommend it to other mystery lovers!
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**4.5 stars**
This is one of those slow burn books that takes you by surprise.
DI Comac Reilly has transferred to Galway, following his girlfriend for her job. He’s struggling to find his place in the new station, when he’s suddenly put on a cold case that happened twenty years ago and he was the young policeman that was first on the scene.
Aisling Conroy is a surgical resident, ambitious and hard working but life comes crashing down when her partner Jack is found in the local river, presumably a suicide. Then his sister Maude, who Aisling has never met shows up and Maude is sure that Jack has been murdered.
Are these two cases connected?
I found this book so easy to read, even though there were numerous threads weaving throughout. It held my attention well until about 60% and then all of a sudden I couldn’t put the book down. I really enjoyed DI Comac Reilly’s character, one of the good guys and I was with him, not knowing who to trust. A riveting police procedural and I look forward to the next instalment.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for a copy to read.
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‘I am reopening this case and I want you to run the investigation.’

Irishman Cormac Reilly remembers his first case as a new garda twenty years ago.  He discovered the body of Hilaria Blake, dead of a drug overdose, in her home.  Hilaria left behind a 15-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son.  Cormac Reilly has never forgotten them.

Aisling Conroy is a surgical resident, working hard to become a surgeon.  She and her boyfriend Jack Blake are happy together.  Aisling goes to sleep one morning after nightshift at the hospital, and when she wakes up Jack is not there.  He doesn’t return home that night, and then the gardaí come knocking at the door.  Jack’s been found dead in the River Corrib, and the gardaí tell her it is suicide.  Aisling has decisions to make, but she tries to numb the pain she feels by throwing herself into her work and study.  Aisling drifts through Jack’s funeral but is shocked when Jack’s sister Maude turns up.  Jack hadn’t seen Maude for twenty years, and while Aisling knew that their lives as children were dreadful, Jack had never spoken of it.  Maude Blake is convinced that Jack was killed and is determined to prove it.

Now a Detective Inspector, Cormac Reilly has spent the last month investigating cold cases in Galway.  When he’s asked to re-examine the death of Hilaria Blake, he jumps at the opportunity.  Was Hilaria Blake’s death an accidental overdose, or is there more to it?

Ms McTiernan skilfully sets the scene for a multi-layered police procedural which kept me guessing until near the end.  What happened to Jack?  Was Hilaria murdered?  And if she was, who would have murdered her and why?   Are the deaths of Hilaria and Jack linked in some way? There are several different strands to this story.  Cormac Reilly has to overcome some difficulties of his own in fitting into the Galway office.  Some of his colleagues seem keen to help, while others seem keen to obstruct him.  It’s a journey best undertaken one step at a time, finding out the facts alongside the investigating detective.  And that’s all I intend to write about the story itself.  

This is Ms McTiernan’s debut novel: the first in the Cormac Reilly series.  It’s one of the best novels I’ve read this year: it held my attention from beginning to end.  And I’m still thinking about some of the issues raised.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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This is the first thriller in a new compelling crime series set in Ireland. Cormac Reilly and his girlfriend Emma have moved from Dublin to Galway for Emma's work. This has meant Reilly has had to take a step down as a police detective and is given unsolved cold cases to investigate.  Reilly struggles to fit in at the station and grapples with all the politics running around the office. An apparent suicide by Jack Black complicates things as Reilly recalls meeting Jack many years prior as a rookie investigating the death of Jack's mother. Jack's girlfriend and sister also attempt to push the investigation further believing Jack didn't commit suicide. From here there are many twists and turns making for an interesting and engrossing thriller.
Dervla McTiernan introduces various elements and characters to this suspense novel making for a wonderful and chilling cliffhanger novel. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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Surgical resident Aisling Conroy was happy with her life. Her desire to become a surgeon was within her grasp; her boyfriend Jack Blake was someone she knew she would spend the rest of her life with. The love they shared was deep and real. But after a long night in A&E, breakfast with Jack then waking late that afternoon to find Jack gone - not returning home overnight either - the knock on the door the next morning was a devastating shock. Aisling would not believe what the garda were telling her...

The fog of disbelief she still held at the funeral didn't lift - but when she learned Jack's sister Maude had turned up, she was shocked. Jack hadn't seen his sister in twenty years - their young lives had been terrible, but it wasn't something Jack had spoken about. But Maude was determined to find the answers to Jack's death; the garda weren't interested but she was sure there had been foul play involved.

Detective Inspector Cormac Reilly had spent the last month investigating cold cases. Fed up, he jumped at the chance to look into the case he'd caught when he was new to the force, twenty years prior. The first dead person he'd seen - the two frightened young children had stayed in his mind throughout his career.

Did the twenty year old case have anything to do with Jack's death? What would Cormac discover? Was there a cover-up? And what would happen with Aisling?

The Ruin by Aussie author Dervla McTiernan is an outstanding police procedural set in Galway, Ireland. The first in the Cormac Reilly series, I'm already looking forward to the next (March 2019!) Gritty, filled with tension, twists and fast-paced action, The Ruin is an excellent debut which bodes only good things for this author's writing future IMO!! Highly recommended.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read and review.
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3.75 stars. A really strong debut from McTiernan. Looking forward to the next O'Reilly installment.
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The first in a new series by a new Australian author, I will definitely be looking out for her next book. This was very different, set in Ireland, the story starts 20 years beforehand where new officer Comac Reilly finds two neglected children in a house with their dead mother. Ffast forward to the present day when DI Cormac Reilly is now investigating cold cases. A suicide of a young man and the reemergence of his long lost sister become somehow linked with Cormac and his case. I did get confused at times with the different characters, especially as one minute they were introduced by the first name, then being called by their surname, it took a bit to figure out who was who, but overall a good crime mystery with some interesting twists.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books for a copy in return for an honest review
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Book blurb...
Cormac Reilly is about to reopen the case that took him twenty years to forget ... The stunning debut novel from your new favourite crime writer. 
'The Ruin is a terrific debut and a rare gem :a compelling crime thriller that delivers depth as well as twists, with everypage clearly written from the heart' Sara Foster, author of The Hidden Hours. 
Responding to a call that took him to a decrepit country house, young Garda Cormac Reilly found two silent, neglected children - fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack. Their mother lay dead upstairs. Since then Cormac's had twenty high-flying years working as a detective in Dublin, and he's come back to Galway for reasons of his own. As he struggles to navigate the politics of a new police station, Maude and Jack return to haunt him. What ties a recent suicide to that death from so long ago? And who among his new colleagues can Cormac really trust?
This unsettling crime debut draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland and asks who will protect you when the authorities can't - or won't. Perfect for fans of Tana French and Jane Harper.
My thoughts…
Wow! I have the utmost respect this author. What a mind! What an imagination! She has written a riveting plot that is so deep and with multiple points of view, with differing versions of the truth, that as a reader I was totally hooked from the start. Every page has something to keep me in my seat and reading until one of the most powerful final scenes I've read in this genre in a very long time.
There is so much going on in this novel. I read everywhere, every chance I got, desperate to solve the mysteries, both present and past.
The author's note says she became attached to the main characters. It's a true indicator of the story telling skill of this author that she transferred that attachment to me.
I loved The Ruin. A TOP READ and surely an award winner in 2018.
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After a stellar twenty-five year career, culminating in the position of the detective sergeant leading the Special Detective Unit’s anti-terrorist section in Dublin, Cormac Reilly moves back to Galway with his partner, Emma, who has received a highly prestigious research grant. His new role is a step down. He expected to have to prove himself before he was accepted at Galway, but after four weeks of being sidelined to work alone on cold cases Cormac is beginning to feel frustrated. 

Aisling, the second protagonist, is an interesting contrast to Cormac. She is a focused, 25 year old doctor in the process of applying for a position in a training program as a paediatric surgeon. She is working hard to prove herself to open the doors to her career. The weekend that she confirms her unplanned pregnancy, her partner, Jack, is found dead. 

Jack’s case is one of many being investigated in Galway. The initial evidence points to suicide. The police are reluctant to view it differently, even when Jack’s estranged sister suddenly appears, asking questions about the case and claiming it should be viewed as a murder investigation. Jack’s sister draws Aisling into a dangerous search to discover the truth about Jack’s death.

Cormac also becomes suspicious about the case. He begins to sense a cover-up, particularly when he is forced to open a cold case that he attended twenty years ago. His investigation makes him question his initial findings, the integrity of some of the officers around him, and the current investigation into Jack’s death. There are surprising links between the two cases that create increasing intrigue until the ultimate unexpected conclusion.

The Ruin is an enjoyable story with strong characters and lots of suspense. The two protagonists are an interesting contrast. Both are professional in highly competitive work forces. Aisling is at the beginning of her medical career and working hard to establish her place. Cormac had successfully worked his way up the ladder in the police force, stopping at the point where he realised a promotion would take him away from investigative work and into management and politics. As a result, he takes a posting that will support the work of his partner. This is reflective of current society where a couple consist of two people who both have strong careers and a highly skilled professional may choose to take a step down in their career to support their partner’s success. There are hints at the conflict within Cormac as periodically he wistfully considers the impact on his career and reminds himself of the fact that he willingly chose the transfer to support Emma. 
Both Cormac and Aisling refer to the constant brutal competition that they engage in at work. Cormac’s situation is amplified by his career choice as he tries to break into the tightly knit group at Galway. As a result, The Ruin is an interesting look at the internal politics of the police force and some of the tragic investigations that police commonly work on. It is also a highly engaging story that I would willingly read again.
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The Ruin is a gripping and well written novel. I could not put this book down, and resented any disturbance that took me away from it! The characters are well rounded and believable and the story line is enthralling. I am certainly looking forward to the next book in this series. Highly recommended. Thanks to Harper Collins Australia and NetGalley for the ARC.
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Some of my favourite police procedurals have been set in Ireland, and this one is definitely in that category! What makes my heart sing is that it is only the start of a (hopefully long) series, and that the author is already working on a sequel.

What could be more intriguing than an old cold case with links to a current crime, especially when it tugs on your heartstrings, with the main characters being young children? I love novels that take you on a journey of discovery, one clue at a time, only ever knowing as much as the detective that leads the case – it makes the story so much more interesting than those where you already know the answers whilst the police are still completely in the dark. Well, that’s my personal preference anyway, and McTiernan’s book could not have played out any better. 

I absolutely LOVED DI Cormac Reilly, from his quintessentially Irish name to his approach to the cold case that has landed in his lap whilst trying to find his feet in his new workplace in Galway. Having moved from Dublin to give his partner a chance to pursue her career, Cormac is prepared to take a backward step in his own job. Being “initiated” into his new squad means having to do prove himself, and instead of being assigned fresh murder cases, he is tasked with slogging through file after file of cold cases. Cormac knows that most of these files will not yield any new information, until he is asked to look into a case he is very familiar with. Twenty years ago, as a young rookie, Cormac was called to the dilapidated farmhouse of a young mother, dead from a heroin overdose, leaving behind two young neglected children destined for foster care. One of these children, now a young man, has died a few days ago under suspicious circumstances. Could his death be linked to something that was overlooked all those years ago? 

Cormac makes the perfect protagonist to take us on a journey into some of Ireland’s darkest history. He is so “normal”! This is not a troubled, lonely soul drowning his sorrows in alcohol after a spade of failed marriages. Neither is he a rebel who is out to defy authority and flaunt all rules to get his cases solved. This is just a straight-forward, honest bloke who loves his job, but is selfless enough to take a backward step in his career to give his partner a chance to fulfil her dreams. He doesn’t even get snarky with all those office politics that would provoke a reaction in most other protagonists. I really liked him. That brings me to character development, and the simple joy of reading a book where each and every character is believable, and there are plenty of people to root for. I soon felt deeply invested in the storyline, and Jack and Maud’s story broke my heart. McTiernan has a knack of offering glimpses into the very hearts of her characters, until they feel so real that you think you have known them all your life. With a somewhat bleak setting, the author evokes an atmosphere of mystery and impending doom that haunts every page and lends the story an air of suspense that had me frantically turn the pages to get answers. Slowly, all the clues lay the foundation for a gripping finale and a fitting denouement to this riveting mystery. 

The Ruin is a brilliant debut from an exciting new voice in crime fiction that will appeal to readers looking for a new gripping crime series with an interesting main protagonist. With its Irish setting it reminded me of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, but McTiernan has her own very unique writing style that drew me in immediately and didn’t let go. I can’t wait to revisit this cast of enigmatic characters in her next book! Very highly recommended.
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