The Ruin is a fantastic crime murder mystery with multiple fascinating plot threads that the brilliantly drawn characters get to weave in and out of. Each and every character adds intriguing suspicion, hidden agendas and background to the story. The plotting is very clever and delicate layers of deceit from suspects, family and the police, ensure this is a spellbinding read from the first page to last.
As a rookie cop in 1993, Garda Cormac Reilly attended a remote house on a call of domestic violence to find a dead mother, from an apparent drug overdose, and two children, 15-year-old Maude Blake and her 5-year-old brother Jack, both malnourished and both with bruising. Jack is so bad that Cormac takes him to the hospital in Galway along with his sister. Maude absconds and even a distressed Cormac manages to let the thoughts of her, and Jack left alone and placed into foster care, drift from his mind.
In 2013, Garda Cormac Reilly returns with his partner Emma, to Galway after a stellar Detective Sergeant career in Dublin, to a situation where his boss has placed him on cold cases. Within the police station, Dervla McTiernan creates an enthralling atmosphere of internal politics, mistrust and suspicion of police corruption everywhere. Cormac feels it difficult to navigate and even his old friends are keeping secrets. A suicide is called in on St Patrick’s Day and the person is identified as Jack Blake. Maude returns from Australia for the first time in 20 years and with Jack’s pregnant partner Aisling, they question the evidence that relates to the supposed suicide and the glaring holes in the evidence. The police seem totally disinterested in pursuing any alternatives to suicide. Shortly after Cormac is handed a cold case, to investigate the death of Jack and Maude’s mother from 1993. Cormac knows he’s a pawn in some greater game but is determined to conduct himself appropriately and not jump to decisions hastily. Dervla has written such an enthralling plot that is just mesmerising in its twisting possibilities.
I could connect with all the characters and empathise with particular ones and the dilemmas some face is deeply moving. The dialogue between them is flawless and Dervla has managed to use it sensibly where it’s needed and has kept slang out for the benefit of a wider audience. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
I first received this book from Little Brown Book Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC version of the book in return for an honest review.