Cover Image: The Murder Rule

The Murder Rule

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Member Reviews

Part legal thriller, part family drama, and a splash of courtroom drama at the end that hearkens to early John Grisham. This one does ask the reader to not question major points of plot (legal aid group not doing a background check?) and to roll with the fast-paced drama.

The story is told from two points of view- present day Hannah who is avenging her mother, and Laura, Hannah's mother, as read through her dairy. Its this mother/daughter relationship that the whole plot hinges on, and I never got the feeling that they were in a healthy, close relationship that would initiate this level of illegal actions.

All in all a fun, two timeline drama for fans of early John Grisham, Ruth Ware, and readers looking for an unreliable narrator/thriller.

Audiobook was well narrated with three narrators, but the inclusion of a male voice for one chapter (?) was jarring.
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I loved how the mystery pulled me in leaving me wanting more and how the psychological/thriller side of the story made me uncomfortable.  The story had me disliking everyone except one character, Sean, a law student in the Innocence Project. The story focuses on Hannah, another law student at a different university, who uses subterfuge to get on a specific case in the Innocence Project. The author does an excellent job in creating such morally twisted characters. Hannah's extreme course of actions in revealing the truth towards the end, though, seemed too unrealistic for a court room. I would have given the story 5 stars if the ending wouldn't have been so contrive.
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A suspenseful legal thriller, filled with twists and turns. I liked the way the author gave the reader glimpses into the past using Laura's diary.  However, the character development was a little off.  I found myself repeatedly asking why Hannah was going to so much trouble to get vengeance for her mother, because I didn't see how they could have a close relationship after the way her mother behaved. I guess that's codependency showing it's ugly head, but I didn't buy it. The narrator of the audio version was excellent.
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A law student inserts herself into a case taken on by the Innocence Project at a university other than the one she attends for reasons that only become clear through carefully timed revelations.  Over and above the compelling story, readers will care about what happens to the fully fleshed out characters in this suspenseful tale perfect for readers who enjoy unreliable narrators.
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Nostalgic for the first 5 or 6 Grisham Books? 

Thank me later.

Well I mean thank me for the rec
 Thank Dervla McTiernan for the book.

And the narration? Spot. On.
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Thanks to NetGalley & Blackstone for providing an audio ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This was my first Dervla McTiernan book, although I've seen her name here and there. I was surprised that the story was set in the US and the narrators had American accents! The premise was promising: a young woman, Hannah, blags her way into the Innocence Project, not because she believes in the innocence of a particular incarcerated person, but the total opposite: she thinks he should stay in jail, due to her mother's story of having been assaulted by him and her boyfriend murdered by him 25 years prior (a crime that was written off as an accident).

I gather that this story is a bit of a departure for McTiernan - it looks like her other books are police procedurals - and maybe that's why there's a hefty suspension of disbelief necessary to take on this book. The main character gets into the Innocence Project essentially by threatening blackmail to the lawyer who heads up the organization, and quickly assures a spot working directly on the case she's interested in; meanwhile, no one has even bothered to check if she's actually enrolled in the university that houses the project. Mmmmm, OK. ;)

The story jumps back and forth between present day Hannah and 25 years previous (her mom); the flashback is told in diary format, and we learn that Hannah found the diary in a box of things of her mother's some years before. Since then, she has been on a mission to keep Mike Dandridge, the boogeyman of the diary, in prison for a crime he was convicted of 11 years prior to now.

McTiernan creates a compelling story overall, even with the massive hoops you have to jump through to find the details credible. However, it didn't take much to guess the ending (and I'm usually pretty bad at that, plus I take pains not to try to figure it out so I can feel the full force of the denouement). 

The voice actors did a fine job, but the inclusion of a single chapter acted by a man was a curious choice, and a bit jarring. I'm interested to read McTiernan's previous books, but this one just didn't do it for me.
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Murder! Lies! Miscarriage of justice! Definitely all the makings of a riveting story, so why did it fall so flat for me? The last quarter of the book felt so far-fetched that it kind of made me forget how much I enjoyed the first three-quarters. I loved Hannah and her motivation along with the other characters on the Innocence Project. Certain characters just felt completely unrealistic, which left me more annoyed than anything at the end.
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Dervla McTiernan is top notch. A highly recommended series purchase for collections where crime fiction is popular. The audiobooks are beautifully narrated.
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While we won't purchase the audiobook we will purchase the Hardcover version.  A good story about things not always being what they seem and how we can deceive ourselves.
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Hannah is a 3rd year law student in Maine. She is on a mission to seek revenge on the man who she believes killed her father. She wants him to stay in prison for life for a murder he swears he didn’t commit. To do this she must transfer to UVA law school and talk her way on to the Innocence project – specifically on to the case of Michael Dandridge whose original conviction was overturned but who is on the verge of being tried again, unless the innocence project can convince the judge the original evidence was tainted. Hannah is sneaky, conniving, and bright – very bright – and she manages to to talk her way on to his case. Luckily, she also genuinely believes in justice. The Murder Rule was a riveting story told from two points of view – the 1994 diary of Laura who is Hannah’s mother and Hannah’s as she works to sabotage the project. The work of the law students to help prove people innocent was intriguing and very well explained (McTiernan is herself a lawyer). The ending was totally unexpected following some real heart stopping action.
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An interesting take on The Innocence Project, Dervia McTiernan offers up a tale with a twist that made for a suspenseful listen. The narrators were excellent and I recognized two of their voices. I'll be recommending this in my book group.
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3.5 stars. I'm a big fan of Dervla McTiernan's gritty first novel, The Ruin, which is set in Ireland. Had I not seen her name on the cover of this audiobook, I would have never guessed that she penned this legal suspense tale set primarily at the University of Virginia.
Hannah is a law student in Maine when she cons her way onto an Innocence Project Team at UVA run by a charismatic Brit. We soon discover that she is there not to "fight the good fight" of freeing the wrongly convicted, but for a much more personal reason. 
The story is told in the dual voices of Hannah in present day, and through the old journal entries of her mother Laura, who is now a fragile alcoholic.
The twists in this story make up for some of the plot holes, and overall it was an entertaining enough read. I still hope that McTiernan will return to gloomy Galway in her future books.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this audiobook in exchange for my opinion.
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Her books keep getting better. This one was well-plotted, as usual, and the characters are compelling. The narrator is superb.
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