The Rúin ~ ‘The secrets of the past will expose the crimes of the present’
I recently was delighted to receive a copy of The Rúin by Dervla McTiernan in the post and, having read it, am now wondering how I have never heard of this book before. Released in many different formats over the last year, my copy has just been published on 6th September by Sphere and, in my wee humble opinion, puts Dervla McTiernan right up there with the best of crime fiction writers.
A brilliant debut folks!! Please do read on for my full review should you need any further convincing…
About the Book:
On his first week on the job, Garda Cormac Reilly responds to a call at a decrepit country house to find two silent, neglected children waiting for him – fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack. Their mother lies dead upstairs.
Twenty years later, Cormac has left his high-flying career as a detective in Dublin and returned to Galway. 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 the woman’s death so long ago? And who among his new colleagues can Cormac really trust?
For those of you unfamiliar with the Irish Language, Rúin is the Irish for a secret and is a perfectly apt name for Dervla McTiernan’s debut. There are many aspects to this book that I like but this is one particular feature that really appeals. Dervla McTiernan may now be living in Australia, but her Irish roots are obviously very strong, with the named title, the fact this book is based in Galway, on the West coast of Ireland and it is a new Irish crime fiction series. Sure what’s not to love!!
Garda Cormac Reilly was a fresh faced recruit just out of Templemore Training college in 1993. Sent off on his own to a rural location, following a call into the Garda Station of an apparent minor domestic situation, Cormac is totally unprepared for what transpires. The weather is atrocious and when Cormac finally finds the address, the door is opened, with a young teenager at the door waiting. Cormac bears witness to the horrendous living conditions for this girl, Maude, and her younger brother, Jack. As he moves through the house it becomes quite apparent to Cormac that something is not right. Indeed something is very very wrong.
‘The floorboards were bare. The fireplace was black and empty and the room was very cold, but the woman on the bed had no need of the blankets that were pulled up past her bare feet. She was dead. Very obviously dead, her eyes open and staring at the ceiling….Her arms and legs were skeletal, her hair lank and greasy…the smell of sour body odour and faeces was thick despite the frigid air’
It is the body of Hilaria Blake, Maude and Jack’s mother. Cormac takes hold of the situation as best as he can, but he is a rookie, green around the gills, resulting in evidence being overlooked and the case being cited as a suicide.
Over the years Cormac forgot about it and got on with his life. He relocated to Dublin and swiftly moved through the ranks of An Garda Siochána. Now 2013 and with a back story, that Dervla McTiernan only gives us a tantalising glimpse of, Cormac has reason to return to Galway. He takes up a new position in the city station but he finds it extremely difficult to settle, struggling to get allocated new and interesting case work.
When handed a current case, that may be linked to the death of Hilaria Blake all those years ago, Cormac is about to open a can of worms…. Will the past rear it’s head? Can buried secrets be left hidden?
Cormac Reilly is a fabulous character. I have him in my mind’s eye, what he looks like, how his mind works. which is an absolute credit to Dervla McTiernan’s writing. Cormac faces many challenges in life. There is a history with his current girlfriend that influenced the upheaval from Dublin to Galway. It is obvious that Cormac misses his old life and. as a reader, we are most certainly left looking for more. Cormac also has reason to believe that all is not what it appears with his colleagues at work. There is an undercurrent of tension that is palpable, driving the reader forward to find out more.
Ireland in the early 90s was a different country from what it is today. The parish community was, and still is, very close-knit but some terrible secrets were kept hush, with folk not wanting to draw any attention to themselves. The church was held in very high regard and there was a strong element of respect and fear, combined, for those in positions of authority. When Cormac returns to the west in 2013, he is wiser, more mature and society has moved on in how issues are dealt with.
As the layers of the case unfold, Cormac has to dig deep into his own personal psyche and challenge what he has always believed to be right and wrong. It is always difficult to bury the past and as Cormac finds out some secrets just do not wish to remain buried. But sometimes, it can be best to let the past be just that…the past.
The Rúin is an exceptional debut. I was gripped from the beginning. I thoroughly enjoyed Dervla McTiernan’s writing style and the ease with which she moves between time-lines. The Rúin is a tale that runs at many levels, revealing humanity and society at it’s best and at it’s ugliest.
I highly recommend and am already looking forward to the next book in the series The Scholar, due out in 2019. A TV series just looking to be created…
Riveting. Affecting. Impressive.
Purchase Link ~ The Rúin
Dervla McTiernan’s debut novel The Rúin sold in a six-way auction in Australia, and has since sold to the United States, the UK and Ireland, and Germany.
Dervla 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 practised as a lawyer for twelve years. Following the global financial crisis she moved with her family to Western Australia, where she now lives with her husband and two children.
In 2015 she submitted a story for the Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto competition and was shortlisted. This gave her the confidence to complete the novel that would become The Rúin, which will be published in 2018 in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Twitter ~ @DervlaMcTiernan
Website ~ https://dervlamctiernan.com/