The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan ★★★★★ #BookReview #BookBlog


Primary Genre(s): Crime Drama, Mystery
Published: 1 March 2018 by Harper Collins
Page count: 388 (10:25 hours)
My Format: Audiobook via Hoopla
Cover: Rorschach feel
Pacing: Slow burn, but perfect pacing
Ending: Satisfying
Would I recommend it: Absolutely
Commission Link: Buy The Ruin

My rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis from Goodreads
It’s been twenty years since Cormac Reilly discovered the body of Hilaria Blake in her crumbling Georgian home. But he’s never forgotten the two children she left behind…

When Aisling Conroy’s boyfriend Jack is found in the freezing black waters of the river Corrib, the police tell her it was suicide. A surgical resident, she throws herself into study and work, trying to forget – until Jack’s sister Maude shows up. Maude suspects foul play, and she is determined to prove it.

DI Cormac Reilly is the detective assigned with the re-investigation of an ‘accidental’ overdose twenty years ago – of Jack and Maude’s drug- and alcohol-addled mother. Cormac is under increasing pressure to charge Maude for murder when his colleague Danny uncovers a piece of evidence that will change everything…

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.

My Thoughts
Boy did I need this book! I’ve been reading some real duds lately and I’ve been craving a great story and this definitely fit the bill. Here are my pros and cons for The Ruin:


  1. This was a compelling police procedural/murder mystery. It is full of deceit, half-truths, misdirection, mistrust, and betrayal… you will very likely stay up super late reading it, just like I did. It was definitely a page-turner for me.
  2. This book was a character-driven slow burn, but impactful. The story was incredibly well-written and it held my interest throughout. Even though I describe it as a slow burn, the pacing was actually perfect and I never felt like it was dragging at all. The story was detailed enough to be interesting without being overwhelming or tedious.
  3. There were a lot of interwoven stories and interconnected people in this book and everything flowed very well. The story connected the past to the present by relating a current crime to a cold case and I thought this was an effective way of telling the story.
  4. I’m intrigued by DI Cormac Reilly – he’s persistent, responsible, determined, and honorable. I don’t think we get to know him super well in this book, but there is clearly a foundation being developed and I want to learn more about him.
  5. The characterizations of the two main women in the story, Aisling and Maude, were well done. I was particularly intrigued by Maude and I found myself wanting to know more about her life.
  6. The narrator is Aoife McMahon and her Irish accent was mesmerizing. She was a phenomenal reader and I really enjoyed listening to her.
  7. I learned about google/gmail timeline! I had no idea that existed!


  1. If I had one nitpick, it was that I felt like Aisling should have been a little more upset about the death of her boyfriend. I understand that everyone processes grief differently, and I get that Aisling was super focused on her career and refused to let anything interfere with her success, but I still felt like there just wasn’t enough emotion on her part.

I really enjoyed this debut novel – it was interesting, intriguing, and well-written. I am so glad I stumbled across it while perusing Hoopla last week! This is the first novel in a series of books featuring DI Cormac Reilly – The Scholar was published in 2019 and The Good Turn is coming out in March 2020. I’m looking forward to continuing this series.

If you enjoy crime dramas, murder mysteries, or police procedurals, you will very likely love this book.

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Ruin. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

2 thoughts on “The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan ★★★★★ #BookReview #BookBlog

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