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The Good Turn

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Member Reviews

Dervla has done it again! The Cormac Reilly series is one of my favourites, and McTiernan's writing takes me back to my days living in Ireland. The sense of place is vivid and the characterisation is strong as always. Loved!
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Whilst providing a satisfying conclusion to the corruption story arc that has been built over the three Reilly books, I enjoyed this story less than the previous two. The two split narratives converged a little too neatly for my taste, spoiling what was otherwise an enjoyable crime read.
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This is the third Cormac Reilly novel and what a brilliant addition to the series. I particularly enjoyed that the events are told from alternating points of view, giving us all the information yet the characters are kept in the dark right to the end.
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A new book by Dervla McTiernan is to be celebrated. Our hero Cormac Riley has been ostracised and criticised by his fellow police officers. He is always on the outer and things seem to have just gotten worse for him over time. He is lonely and isolated and at the same time his girlfriend seems to have become more distant, spending time away from him for work. 

Cormac's only friend in the force Peter Fisher goes to investigate a crime scene and is set upon and indeed set up. Someone dies and Peter and Cormac are in the spotlight for being the cause of the death, both of them are suspended from work, Cormac heads to Europe to be with his girlfriend and Peter is banished to the village he grew up in and forced to work with his belligerent father as a punishment for messing up. He begins tidying up the final threads of a death in the village which becomes so much more than it is at first thought and he risks alienating the entire village. Meanwhile Cormac is struggling from afar to prove corruption in the force and enlists the help of an old friend.

What I like about these Cormac Riley books is the way they deal with moral dilemma, always giving you much to think about as well as a good juicy crime, in this case several of them. The threads seem so unconnected in this story that I couldn't see links right up until the end. This author is my new crush, she hooks me in and pulls me along for the ride with skill. I'm now looking forward to the next one with anticipation.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for access to this awesome book.
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The third in the series of books featuring DS Cormac Reilly. That said, he does appear less in this latest episode with the story surrounding his colleague Garda Peter Fisher being the focus. A story with lots of twists & turns which is more character based than some other thrillers, which appeals to me. Police corruption features heavily with several officers under suspicion. After a fatal shooting Fisher is transferred from Galway to a not so sleepy village, under the supervision of his estranged father, whilst Cormac investigates the incident & tries to clear his name. There are several strands to the story which keeps it moving along at a fast pace & had me wanting to read just one more chapter. Cormac is such a train wreck of a character with his career & personal life suffering, but he fights for what is right even if it’s to his own detriment. I can’t wait for the next instalment.
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Book blurb...

Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl's silence - three unconnected events that will prove to be linked by one small town.
While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head. But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone.
For some, like Anna and her young daughter Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma. But even this village on the edge of the sea isn't far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.

My thoughts...

Complex and impactful, as you’d expect from an author who keeps her readers guessing. Three apparently unconnected events come together in this suspenseful crime novel.

There is a bit of backstory covered in the first part of the story. After finishing the novel, I get why the detail was needed, but it did slow the pace down a little for me. 

The location in Galway is easily imagined. I felt the temperatures and understood the difficulties the characters had to deal with getting around the icy conditions. (Give me an Aussie summer any day!!!!)

Brilliantly portrayed.

The Good Turn is the third in this series featuring Detective Cormac Reilly.  I enjoyed this story and love the lead character. In fact, I cared so much for Cormac I wished he could have the happiness he craves in the end.  A great series for those who enjoy good detective stories.
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Galway detective Cormac Reilly receives a report of the abduction of a young girl. In such cases, Reilly is used to getting all resources necessary, but his Superintendent denies him any additional resources at all due to a big drug surveillance operation. Left with a skeleton crew, Reilly and his team scramble to find the girl and track down her abductor before it is too late. Things go awry, there is a police shooting, and Reilly and his sergeant, Peter Fisher, are stood down.

Fisher is relocated to rural Ireland to serve under his hated father, while Reilly is suspended entirely. In the course of his new office duties, Fisher comes across a murder case that simply does not look right to him, but his father is insistent that he drop it and wrap up the case. Fisher ignores him and follows his instincts instead.

I liked the plot of this novel. While it's not as devious and knotty as some that I've read, McTiernan ties her story threads together nicely. I especially liked her descriptions of the Irish countryside in winter; I could almost feel the cold along with the characters.
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This is the third crime novel in the Cormac Reilly series, I thoroughly enjoyed the first two novels The Ruin and The Scholar, but with book #3 The Good Turn, Dervla McTiernan has claimed a spot as one of my favourite crime writers. The Good Turn was a great read, I was hooked from the start. I think knowing Cormac and his coworkers' backstory really helped make a difference in how much I enjoyed this book. I really do recommend you read them in order because the characters' personal lives play a big part in this book.

When a call comes in about a child abduction, everything that could go wrong for Cormac and his team does go wrong. Cormac ends up suspended, something his boss has been angling for since day one. Garda Peter Fisher is sent to a small town and placed under his overbearing police officer father's jurisdiction as well as having the threat of prosecution hanging over his head.

From the start of the series, Cormac was not a welcome member of the Galway station and he hasn't won over too many people since he's been there. He is also damn sure there is some major corruption within the system and with his suspension, he not only sets out to save Peter from the threat of prosecution but is determined this time to uncover the people behind the corruption. What he uncovers goes way deeper than he could have imagined and leaves him with very few people to trust.

We meet Anna and her daughter Tilly who are staying with Peter's grandmother and who seem to be hiding from something. Peter starts to wonder whether his father is on the up and up and after several incidents, he sets out to find out exactly what is going on. This leads to more trouble for Peter, but he's been taught by Cormac and is unwilling to let things be despite any trouble he may be facing. 

As Cormac and Peter try and uncover secrets and save themselves from unemployment, they find out way more than they bargained for. There were so many twists in this novel and even when some of my guesses were right, there were plenty of things that I got wrong. 

I highly recommend The Good Turn for lovers of crime fiction and thank NetGalley and HarperCollins AU for my digital copy in return for an honest review.
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Wow!! What a great read. I love the character Reilly Cormac from Derlva McTiernan’s previous novels but this went to a new level.... it was so intense and captivating. Peter Fisher, a colleague in the Irish police,  is given Cormac’s support but with his background that doesn’t come over as a positive; however the story is about more than just these individuals but the how they cope with a corrupt system, even when family are involved. This is a great story with a lot of intrigue and twists that keep you wanting to read. 
The setting in the cold regions of Ireland is wonderful. Set in the major areas of Dublin and Galway but also the small, fictitious town of Roundstone (which could be any small town) which is typical of the local support and gossip that comes with it and the remoteness and isolation that has positives as well as negatives
The story includes other well developed characters including Anna and her young daughter Tilly, as well as Peter’s father Des who is the major police person in Roundstone. 

Highly recommended read. Look forward to the next adventure of Reilly Cormac with a sincere hope that his personal life improves.

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperColllins Australia Publishers for a copy to read and review.
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The Good Turn is the third novel in the Cormac Reilly series by Irish-born Australian author, Dervla McTiernan. Does it start with the abduction of a girl walking her dog, witnessed by a young boy from his sickbed? Or does that incident just kick off something that has been coming since Detective Inspector Cormac Reilly first arrived at Mill Street Garda Station in Galway? 

After a shooting that sees him under threat of prosecution and jail, Detective Peter Fisher is transferred to the village of Roundstone to work under the guidance Garda Sergeant Desmond Fisher, his (not beloved) father. Will it save his career? He is ordered to sort out the paperwork on a double murder that has been attributed to Dublin gangs, but his training under Cormac Reilly doesn’t let him rubber-stamp it when he sees discrepancies. 

Distracting Peter too, is the sudden deterioration of his grandmother Maggie’s health, but at least now he can regularly check on her. Peter is initially wary of Anna Collins, the young mother of nine-year-old Tilly, whom Des seems to have installed to care for Maggie. It’s hardly his style to bother about her.

The same shooting incident sees Cormac Reilly suspended from duty, and he quickly concludes that what has been happening at the Garda Station is part of a much bigger picture, one that points to widespread Garda corruption involving drug trafficking. But from the outside, what can Cormac do? Emma strongly feels it’s time he abandoned the job in which his superiors frustrate him at every turn, but being a garda, and a good one, is in Cormac’s blood.

Yet again, McTiernan gives the reader a terrific dose of fast-paced crime fiction: an excellent plot, twists and red herrings to keep the reader guessing, an exciting climax and a very satisfying resolution. With each instalment, she develops her regular characters a little further and adds new ones. More of Cormac and co will definitely be welcome. Or anything else this talented author might like to turn her hand to. This is Irish crime fiction at its best. 
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Harper Collins Australia
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This if the third book in the series, the central character being Garda [irish police officer] Cormac Reilly. Given I’ve picked it up at #3 and loved it, this is a fair indication the books don’t really need to be read in order but might be preferable if you’re wired that way. 

Reilly’s junior officer Peter Fisher investigates the kidnapping of a 12 yo girl. Most of the local police resources are tied up in a drug bust and Fisher doesn’t achieve the desired results and finds himself under investigation and serving a suspension in Roundstone, stationed with his estranged police officer father Des. He is supposed to be doing his bit in community policing but instead of keeping his head down, finds himself embroiled in another murder investigation. 

Reilly is left picking up the pieces in Galway and also finds himself on the outer, but decides to investigate what he believes is widespread corruption in the department. He’s determined to clear Fisher’s name as well. 

The book’s parallel storylines converge in Roundstone. The book is an awesome read for lovers of criminal suspense, mystery and/or procedural fiction. It’s a 5🌟 read for me. There are some characters you love to hate, the type you want to get their comeuppance. Reilly and Fisher are pragmatic, unassuming blokes, steadfast in heir commitment to the job. They are challenged in their own personal relationships with partners and family and they are so very genuine and real.

The Good Turn was released on 24 February 2020.

I’m now going back to read the two previous books - I have already picked up #TheRuin and am keeping my eye out for #TheScholar. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me this gifted copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are genuine and my own.
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EXCERPT: It was so cold now. He was vaguely aware that he'd started to shiver again. How long would it take the others to arrive? He should call in. He searched his pockets for his phone, didn't find it. An image of the phone propped up on the central console of the police car presented itself to him. He'd left it there. Oh Christ. Peter swallowed against a wave of nausea. He wasn't going to puke here, not at the scene, where the contents of his stomach could be later dissected in a forensics report. The helicopter made another pass but showed no signs of coming in to land. He needed to call in. He should get his phone. Peter turned and looked back into (the) car. When if he'd been wrong? What if he'd missed a weak pulse? Peter leaned into the car, placed his fingers at (his) neck, then his wrist. Nothing. Nothing but cold, inert flesh, and fingers that came away sticky with blood.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl's silence - three unconnected things that will prove to be linked by one small town.

While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head. But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone.

For some, like Anna and her young daughter Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma. But even this village on the edge of the sea isn't far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.

MY THOUGHTS: I took a while to really get into The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan. It may possibly be because this is book three in a series of which I haven't read either of the two previous titles.

There are several separate threads-a mother whose young daughter hasn't spoken for three months; the violent abduction of another young girl; the suspension of Cormac Reilly and the banishment of officers who support him.

While the threads initially appear unconnected, they gradually come together to weave an intricate plot of police corruption that spills over into other cases that crop up in the course of the book.

My favourite thread was that concerning Garda Peter Fisher's grandmother and the family doctor.

There was an interesting blend of very believable characters, and a great variety of cases. The main character, Cormac Reilly, has a great talent for pissing people off, particularly his superiors. Garda Peter Fisher has a sharp mind and a kind heart. I hope that Anna and Tilly will feature in future story lines.

I have developed quite a taste for Cormac. This was an enjoyable read that has me determined to read the earlier two titles and any further titles that are published in the future.


#TheGoodTurn #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Dervla McTiernan was born in County Cork, Ireland to a family of seven. She studied corporate law at the National University of Ireland, Galway and the Law Society of Ireland, and practiced as a lawyer for twelve years. Following the global financial crisis she moved with her family to Western Australia, where she now works for the Mental Health commission. In 2015 she submitted a story for the Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto competition and was shortlisted. This inspired her to complete the novel that would become The Rúin. She lives in Perth with her husband and two children. (Courtesy of Harper Collins)

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Australia for providing a digital ARC of The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage
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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.
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This new book features Detective Cormac Reilly and is set in Dublin, Ireland 2015.  Cormac Reilly has appeared in two previous books by this best selling author.  This is the first book of the series that I’ve read and I can’t wait to read the others.

The story opens with Anna and her young daughter Tilly sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, Tilly hasn’t spoken in 3 months! What is the mystery of her little girls silence?

Elsewhere the violent abduction of a young girl punched and shoved into the boot of a car takes place and is witnessed by a young boy. When Garda Peter Fisher is called to the scene to investigate he finds himself making a fatal mistake in the case.

One suspended the other banished, we find both Detective Cormac Reilly and Garda Peter Fisher are facing the possibility of their careers ruined, who can they trust? 

This was a good, pacy, murder mystery with an intricate plot of police corruption, drugs and edgy characters.  

I wish to thank NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers Australia for providing me with a copy to read in return for an honest review.
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With police corruption at its dark heart, The Good Turn is another solid entry in a police procedural series that has been pure gold for crime fiction fans since the first book.

Adjusting to the new reality of his long-distance relationship with girlfriend Emma, Cormac Reilly has less patience in the tank than usual to deal with the politics that govern the daily machinations of his job.  Cormac is more than aware that his work superiors do not regard him as a team player, and the level of his concern about these opinions would seem to be decreasing with each day that passes.

Reilly’s younger colleague, Peter Kelly, is at the other end of his career and keen to make his mark in Galway police. Tasked to take the report of a child who claims to have witnessed an abduction in his street, neither Peter or his colleagues expect the incident to be the real deal.  Yet it is.

Launching out on his own to follow up a lead on a suspect, Peter is involved in a fatal shooting. Put under review and banished to Roundstone, where the obnoxious Des Kelly, Peter’s father, runs the local police station, Peter despairs that he has possibly torched his career with his ill thought out decisions. His superior, Cormac Reilly, is accused of leading the young Garda astray.

Outing #3 of Cormac Reilly devotes less page time to its hard done by Irish detective than the series priors, and The Good Turn is a better novel for it.   There is less to read here about Cormac’s relationship with girlfriend Emma also, though these inclusions are pivotal as to how the rest of the series will develop.  

There is a lot going on in The Good Turn, and each plot thread is tended with great care.  The reader will need to keep sharp about whose perspective we are reading as the fact gathering continues, with both detectives Cormac and Peter working on independent concerns for much of the novel. 

Strong characterization carries The Good Turn throughout, and this has been a key feature of all three books in this deservedly popular series.  Both the investigators and the investigation are given equal consideration in The Good Turn, which is immensely satisfying to anyone who prefers a holistic experience with their reading of crime fiction.  

Perth based author Dervla McTiernan’s debut novel, The Ruin, was received with great enthusiasm, and won the 2019 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Crime Fiction. The Ruin has also been optioned for TV by Hopscotch Features.
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Another brilliant book by Dervla McTiernan in the Detective Sergeant Cormac O'Reilly series.

Cormac's move to Galway is looking increasingly a mistake. A Garda to his toes, he is clearly on the outer in the station and everyone can see it. Plus Emma has moved to Brussels on an increasingly lengthy 'short term' contract.

Then a young girl is abducted off the street and Cormac's urgent request for more staff to save her is turned down. What can his boss, Brian Murphy, be thinking? And how does it happen that not only is Brian working with his son, Trevor Murphy, against regulations but that practically all the stations resources have been funnelled into Trevor's anti drug operation for the last six months?

But then not only is Cormac's off sider, Peter, forced to kill the suspect but the abducted girl turns up miles away, and both Cormac and Peter are thrown to the dogs.

A brilliant and gripping story that will keep you engrossed. Plan to stay up late (or early).

Highly recommended

Thanks to NetGalley and @HarperCollinsAU for an advance copy in exchange for an independent review
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Ireland seems to be a favourite setting for crime writers lately, and McTiernan’s novels are a great example of this. The Good Turn features Galway and the village of Roundstone, and inspired me to look them up to gain a further sense of the locale. Cormac Reilly features again in this novel, but shares the stage with Peter Fisher, a keen detective who has been working with Reilly and taken on much of his “never give up” attitude, as well as a big dose of independent action.
This leads him into disaster when he believes he’s found the man who abducted a schoolgirl and follows him to a deserted boathouse at a lake. The pursuit ends in disaster, and Fisher is sent off to work for his father in the village of Roundstone, supposedly to keep him out of trouble while he waits for a police review and punishment. The fact that under police guidelines, fathers and sons shouldn’t work together is a sign of the internal politics and underhand dealings going on with the Irish garda – who owes who a favour? And how far do those kinds of “favours” stretch? Into full police corruption?
In Roundstone, Fisher can’t keep his nose out of what seemed to be a cut-and-dried investigation. Back in Galway, Reilly isn’t faring any better with those higher up determined to find a way to get rid of him. His attempts to uncover corruption lead him deeper into the bog.
This was definitely a book I couldn’t put down – the kind that you read in every spare minute and then are disappointed when it finishes because you wanted more. But there is more than enough in The Good Turn to keep any crime reader enthralled. Family hatred, corruption at such a level that there seems no way to stop it, detectives who plough on despite setbacks and threats. One of my top reads in the past six months – highly recommended.
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“Cormac took a breath, a sudden involuntary inhalation. He felt as if the solid ground beneath his feet had been removed, as if he was standing, swaying, at the top of a cliff and the wind was at his back. ‘I don’t understand,’ he said.”

Of course not. Reilly has been working with a smaller and smaller team of garda (Irish police) in circumstances obviously designed to set him up to fail. He’s a nuisance, because he’s smart, thorough, asks questions, and follows through.

He’s also the sort of fellow that Peter Fisher admires. Peter is a young garda, son of an established senior officer, Des Fisher, in another town, who has his own, lax style of policing. At one point, he says to Peter

“‘But Reilly’s a black-and-white operator in a world that’s all grey. And that just doesn’t work.’”

Des's style is to live and let live and accumulate favours that he can call in when he needs to. When Peter gets into trouble and has to work with his father, he gets the lecture.

“‘Maintaining a healthy community, that takes a bit of discretion. You have to leave room for people to be human. To make the odd mistake. You have to be able to tell the difference between someone destructive, or dangerous, and someone who’s generally a contributor, and who just wanted to let off a bit of steam.
. . .
‘But working in the grey, it can get messy. People make mistakes. Even the best of people. So we have to look out for each other. We’re caught between a rock and a hard place.’”

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Sounds like a country copper, whereas Cormac Reilly has come from Dublin and wants to cross every T and dot every i. But Peter has seen enough of Reilly’s methods to question his father’s rather dismissive air and his demands that Peter stop questioning people about something which Des considers an open-and-shut case.

[You know, of course, that Peter will disregard that, don’t you?]

“He would think of his father as he would any other difficult senior officer. Someone to be avoided, or managed.”

There are a few stories going on, all of them interesting. Cormac’s girlfriend is working in Brussels, so they see each other only when he can fly over – not a healthy situation. Peter’s closest friend is the girl who grew up with him at boarding school since they were eight. They’ve been sharing a flat (no romance). We see just enough of them to help fill out the characters of Cormac and Peter.

And alongside this is Anna and her daughter Tilly, currently mute from some unnamed trauma. They begin as a separate thread and join the other threads as the story moves on.

There’s a kidnapping, police shooting, unusual deaths in a small town, protection, drugs and crooked police. There’s even a touch of Interpol – what more could you want?

Plus, it is COLD and it is SNOWY and it is ICY and impossible to get around. I was reading this in sub-tropical weather and felt the chill from here.

I think this might be my favourite so far. Clever, well-written, and with people I look forward to meeting again in the future.

Many thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted.
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4.5⭐️. The Good Turn (Cormac Reilly #3) was an absolutely brilliant read! It’s a guaranteed page turner! This was a story full of twists, turns and intrigue. Seemingly unconnected cases interconnect and some cases unwittingly take on a life of their own. Sargeant Cormac Reilly is having problems in his personal and professional life. His relationship with Emma is in a precarious place and he’s on a collision course with Superintendent Brian Murphy. His repeated requests for resources have been blocked by Murphy and when tragedy strikes in a case Reilly’s team is investigating of a young boy witnessing a young girls abduction, this is the perfect opportunity for Murphy to dismantle Reilly’s team and target any of Reilly’s supportive colleagues. I was immediately drawn into the story with the various threads that were so brilliantly interwoven in a story that had me furiously reading until the very last page.
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Dervla McTiernan knows how to write an immersive crime story., I have read all three of her books now and they don't disappoint. This latest follows Detective Cormac Reilly and his protege Peter Fisher as they come close to being kicked off the force altogether. It begins with the disappearance of an 11 year old girl but soon moves into corruption in the police and the murder of a land owner and his nephew. We also follow Cormac's relationship with Emma and Peter's relationship with his father Des, also a police officer. 

McTiernan knows how to interweave characters and plots seamlessly. Her writing is very visual so that it's almost like watching a movie or television series. All of this is accomplished without missing a beat in ratcheting up the tension and mystery.
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