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The Ruin : Cormac Reilly - Dervla McTiernan

Paperback Published: 19th February 2018
ISBN: 9781460754214
Number Of Pages: 400

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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.

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.

Review by Sarah McDuling

The Rúin is an absolutely stunning debut from a fresh new talent. Dervla McTiernan is a brilliant author who has secured a place alongside Jane Harper, Sarah Bailey and Candice Fox on my list of favourite crime writers at the moment. (And can we just take a moment to appreciate how much Australian based female crime writers are killing it right now? Eeeeeeeeeeee!)

Set in Ireland, The Rúin is a highly atmospheric and utterly chilling mystery that ties an old suicide case from twenty years earlier to a present-day murder. Our leading man is Cormac Reilly – perhaps the nicest, most likable, most normal crime-solving protagonist I have ever encountered. I’m used to reading about world-weary, weathered, deeply damaged detectives with dark pasts and boatloads of emotional baggage. And don’t get me wrong, I love them all! In fact that sentence describes most of my favourite fictional people!!

And yet, along comes Cormac Reilly – a character who doesn’t fit this mould at all. He’s not an alcoholic. He doesn’t have any anger management issues. On the contrary, he is a sensible and level headed guy and a supportive husband. He isn’t haunted by any traumatic memories. He remains calm under pressure (even when faced with bureaucratic nonsense from truly infuriating coworkers). He’s a nice, normal guy with a good heart, a happy home and a strong work ethic. Imagine that!?

The mystery at the heart of the The Rúin is intricate and multi-layered. It’s also quite dark and deeply upsetting. I won’t lie – there were moments during this book where I had to put it down, take a few deep breaths and blink away some tears. Dervla McTiernan has a deft way of creating characters that ring very true to life. Flawed, complicated and wonderfully human, I felt very deeply for the characters of this story.

The title of this book works on multiple levels. In English, the word ruin means devastation and downfall. The Irish meaning of the word rúin is “something hidden”. Both words apply to this craftily constructed mystery full of old secrets, compelling character development and riveting suspense. I’m completely blown away by the fact that this is the author’s first novel and to say that I’m looking forward to the next Cormac Reilly book would be a vast understatement. This is an author to watch and a book to grab and devour as quickly as possible!

Perfect for fans of Jane Harper, Sarah Bailey, Candice Fox, Tana French, Val McDermid and basically anyone who likes a complex, character-driven mystery virtually dripping in blood-chilling atmosphere!

About 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.



Excellent mystery from start to finish. Loved all the characters. Couldn't put it down!



Beautifully written !


An easy , enthralling page turner ! Can't wait for the authors next piece .

Henley beach


Loved it great story


I found the book to be very well written, and could not put down.



A really great mystery. I read it all over one Saturday.


The product is great, and the book was great.

Alice Springs, NT


Brilliant novel apart from the constant use of the "F" word


Recreational reading. So well written, believable characters. Can't wait for the next book. Well done Dervla. Hated the frequent use of the "F" word hence I have given 4 stars and not 5.

South Australia


a darker shade of grey


The author appears to delight inlaying around with language. The period is well researched and engaging. The protagonists are likeable by degrees. The plot of this book is somewhat darker than the previous novels by this writer. A tad more 'grown up'.



Bring on the next book, Dervla


Knew nothing of this book or author....passed the book section of department store, saw it on the shelf and purchased it....I didn't even read the cover or blurb...just took a chance and am very glad I did. Back at home I find out author lives and works in Perth too! The story has me gripped from the start.... a page turner. Scored! I like the depth of the characters and it was an easy read. Dervla- apology accepted!

Perth, Western Australia


I loved this crime novel; smooth and believable.


As an aspiring writer, I was aware of Dervla's skill in character development, plot and eagerness to find the answers.

Scarborough, W.A.




I was disappointed because others reviews were very good I did not like The Ruin, it read like a crime program on television. Couldn't get into it after 6 chapters I gave it away.


Looking forward to Book 2.


Finished it late on Saturday in the 2nd chance I had to open it... the characters are still rattling around in my head. Excellent story! Perfect for a TV Series. :-) Looking forward to book 2.

Perth, Western Australia


The Ruin

4.7 17


ISBN: 9781460754214
ISBN-10: 1460754212
Series: Cormac Reilly
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 19th February 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5  x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.48