BOOK CLUB: The Ruin

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Author: Dervla McTiernan
ISBN: 9781460754214
RRP: $32.99
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

I am fast running out of month and am still looking at this one longingly, but I know that some of our readers are loving it.


The Rúin is another debut novel, also highly anticipated and with hotly contested rights.

Cormac Reilly is an Irish detective at the centre of this small-town mystery and that lends me to hope that it may just be the beginning. A detective novel could well become a series following the cases of a detective and that prospect excites me.

Young Garda Cormac Reilly responded to a call at a decrepit country house, when he arrived he found two silent children and their overdosed mother. Twenty years later, after years working in Dublin, he is back in Galway and tasked with re-investigating the case.

A body surfaces in the freezing waters of the river Corrib and the police rule Jack’s death a suicide, until his sister returns crying foul play with a determination to prove it.

The two deaths are linked and the story unfolds to tie the two together. This is a story of betrayal and the small town laws that live unwritten alongside the law. A story that takes us deep into the heart of Ireland and explores who will protect you when it’s the authorities you aren’t sure if you can trust.

I look forward to sinking my teeth into this one soon, and I really look forward to reading what our members have to say about the book.

Dervla McTiernan can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

The Rúin is published by Harper Collins and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harper Collins 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading The Rúin so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

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18 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Ruin

  1. Congratulations Dervla! I had not taken note that this was your debut novel and loved every second of The Ruin.

    It was definitely not what I expected but so much more. The two stories entwine smoothly with the 20 year gap, a very believable story and timeline. Cormac is an interesting character and we get to see him from the beginning of his career to the more experienced detective. There was never any need for me to go back and search for events that happened along the way as the whole book flowed smoothly from start to finish. ( I did wish to find out more about the back story of Emma, but I realize that is not important to this book)

    The sister , Maude, was an major part of your book and we only find out just enough about her to keep us wondering if there is more, did she , didn’t she! Certainly a person of many levels.

    Looking forward to hearing more about Cormac and I wish you well on your next crime writing adventure!

  2. Two deaths – 20 years apart but they seem to be linked but how, why and who is behind these deaths?

    The book starts in Ireland 1993 with a young Irish Detective named Cormac Reilly arriving at a house where a mother is dead and there are two children 5 and 15 sitting on the stairs. The 15 year old girl named Maude is very protective of her very quiet brother Jack. Detective Cormac takes them into the hospital and then we switch over to the year of 2013.

    In 2013 we are introduced to a couple named Aisling and Jack. I found myself warming to them straight away.

    A body is found in the river and it is thought to be a suicide or is it? This is where you just want to keep reading to find out what has happened. This really is such a great crime read which had me not wanting to put the book down for anything. Definitely a page turner for sure.

    Detective Cormac is again on this case and he knows straight away that they are somehow linked but who to turn to, who to trust and who to believe.

    The character of Maude always had me thinking she was guilty and then I would change my mind and say no, it can’t be her. Dervla certainly kept me thinking ahead of myself trying to guess the links to the deaths and what happened.

    This book is such a compelling read. There are lots of other characters that you think along the lines, that maybe they are involved and no more. It got to the stage, I couldn’t trust too many of them.

    There are characters though like Detective Cormac his partner Emma and Aisling where they are such strong characters that become so real to you. My heart was pounding with reading this book because it is such a compelling read. I also shed a few tears too.

    Wow, I can absolutely say that I loved this book from start to finish. I didn’t know till the end of reading about the author, that this is her debut book. At the end of the book, Dervla has given us a preview of her next book which brings Cormac Reilly’s next case which I’m sure is going to be great after reading the preview.

    I could easily see this book easily as a movie.

    CONGRATULATIONS Dervla for such a wonderfu,l powerful read and thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for introducing me to another fantastic author. I look forward to her next book for sure.

    If you love crime reads, this book is for you.

  3. The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

    This was a compelling page turner! I was hooked right into this gripping Irish crime novel.

    Detective Cormac Reilly leaves his fast-paced job in the drug unit due to his wife’s new prestigious job opportunity. This sees Cormac brought back to the Galway Police Force after working there 20 years prior. While Cormac is happy to be a Garda in the force, many question his return to only investigate cold cases (something of a menial pace in comparison). As Cormac deliberates his present investigation he isn’t sure who is on his side in a seemingly corrupt work force. This is only exacerbated as he is working on a cold case that links back to a murder he investigated two decades ago. Why is the case now open? What didn’t he know then but discovers now?

    This is the first novel I have read by McTiernan. I am delighted to see that the Cormac Reilly’s cases will continue and more than happy to recommend, and rate this book 5 stars.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace Book Club and HarperCollins Publishers Australia for this little gem.

  4. For a debut novel, this one is a cracker. The opening chapter is unsettling and gripping as these two sad, neglected children are discovered by young Garda Cormac Reilly. That scene stays with you right through the next 370 pages as we skip forward twenty years and Detective Sergeant Cormac Reilly is forced to look back on a case that has haunted him.

    The writing is so detailed. You feel the clawing heat in tiny kitchens, the smell of fried pub food and the cluttered, tired houses of characters who appear to lead you one way, and the then another. I had no idea what really happened in that house until the reveals came, and I burned through The Ruin to get there. I won’t leave spoilers here, but one of the minor characters in this book is actually one of the most clever and the thought of them ‘sitting spider-like’ in their house will stay with me for a good while.

    The plot is quite complex, so don’t even think about skipping a paragraph, or a chapter to get to the end, you’ll end up missing something big. The Ruin will be VERY popular and is a must-read for all lovers of crime fiction.

    Big thanks to Harper Collins and Beauty & Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read this book.

  5. Thankyou once again Beauty@Lace and Harper Collins for another great read..As a debut novel this great book was as good a mystery I have read. The Irish Garda investigating a apparent suicide has put new to Galway detective on the case. While researching he finds a connection to a case that he first investigated as a young Garda 20 yrs ago. Having to fight the office politics as well as trying to sort out the now adult
    Sister and daughter from the previous case while trying to maintain a serious personal relationship. Garda Cormac O’Rielly is put under serious pressure.
    This book is a definite must read and kept me guessing all the way to the explosive end.

  6. Its not every day that a law enforcement professional gets a second go at something that wasn’t right. Detective Cormac Reilly started his career being sent to a house for a supposed domestic violence complaint. He arrived to find two small children, scared, with their mother upstairs in her bed, dead. It looked like an overdose of a woman who was ill from alcoholism. The case was closed without much due investigation. The girl, Maude, ran away when taken to the hospital, her brother, Jack was fostered. He thought that was the last he would see of the case that unsettled his start in a career.
    20 years on, he transfers back into small town Ireland and his “initiation” into the station is a sea of cold cases, each more unsolvable than the next, including a revisit to his start in the Garda… the death from 20 years prior.
    Aisling and her partner Jack were up against a challenge in their relationship… she was pregnant. Having just started working in the hospital with aspirations of becoming a surgeon this was not good timing for Aisling. They have a lot to consider but she has come off nights and he needs digest the information before they can really make a decision. Only, when she wakes he has not returned home, the house is cold and dark…
    The Garda say Jack committed suicide, she can barely believe it. The reappearance of Maude and her insistence that her brother Jack would never take his life puts doubt in the mind of Aisling that he could have done this.
    Follow the story as the investigations of Maude, Aisling and Detective Cormac eventually cross, finding an answer, true and final…
    Hold your horses, you would never expect the ending!!!

    Loved the read and look forward to any sequels to follow. Thanks for the great opportunity!

  7. Thanks Beauty & Lace for the chance to read and review this fabulous crime novel! I’m surprised it’s a debut novel too it was written so well.
    I found I had to go back and re read parts because it was quite intricate and having kids around while reading was making it tough (haha go away kiddies) I got lost if I didn’t concentrate.
    The storyline was intense and I couldn’t pick where it’d go which makes for a fantastic read.
    Crime novel fans this is one for you!
    5 / 5 stars from me!

  8. Thanks to the excellent book club Beauty & Lace and Harper Collins- what joy you and Michelle bring to my life! Really enjoyed this book, 5/5 looked forward to picking it up again everytime I was forced to put it down (life gets in the way of reading!).
    The start is dramatic, with excellent hooks (no spoilers) the plot and characters. As described in the blurb the crime investigated by a new cop on the beat then again becomes news with a death when the cop returns again to work the old beat. The characters pain is particularly well portrayed, the strength and resilience with really difficult issues of childhood, and adulthood, grief, loss, work versus a child, these were all rich and well handled I thought. You care about the characters. Aisling in particular in her shock and loss, but work being a big part of her life resonates. Maud I did feel was a strong character at the beginning and the mystery drew you in but then I did feel that this could have been a longer unwinding to reveal her time away from her brother. The sacrifice and suffering again were well done. An easy thrilling read and I would enjoy more from this author.

  9. Dervla McTiernan’s debut novel The Ruin is a great read. It centres around Cormac Reilly an Irish detective. Early in his career he was given a case that has haunted him since
    Fast forward twenty years and a suicide case crossed his path. Cormac meets up with Maude one of the children in the earlier case looking to find answers to the death of her estranged brother Jack
    There are many strange characters in this novel including Aisling Jack’s partner. As everyone looks further for answers, shocking secrets are revealed
    This is very well written and you won’t want to put it down. Quite a few surprising twists and turns kept me reading well into the night
    An awesome debut novel well worth checking out
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Bookclub and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read a review this page turner

  10. Oh My Goodness.
    This book was mind blowing. I really didn’t expect quite the journey that I ended up taking.
    I enjoyed it all and loved how the plot was weaved into this beautiful old and new story.
    Heartbreaking, I truly questioned so much it had to offer in the beginning until things started to make sense.
    I honestly didn’t put grown-up Jack as child jack together straight away (I know silly when you read the blurb) but I didn’t so as it dawned on me and I started making assumptions the story created a delicious juxtaposition that I couldn’t put away.
    I devoured the change in story and the back-grounding that was created.
    Dervla created a master-piece that I was truly inspired but and I cannot wait to read more from her.
    Just a delight to read.
    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read such a gripping read Beauty and Lace!!

  11. Thanks Beauty & Lace for the chance to read The Ruin & special thanks to Dervla McTiernan for such a brilliant read

    This was a great read from beginning to end
    With a good strong character like Cormac & an intriguing plot that glided from past to present with no effort & easily followed this captivated me from start to finish & was left wanting more

    I do hope there is a sequel to follow

    Highly recommend

  12. Disappointed to finish this book, but so excited to get a hint of the next book and know that there is more to come for us – a new part of Cormacs life for us to be a part of.
    The Ruin was never predictable and is an enthralling read. The character development of both Cormac and Aisling was indepth but not over done, and to be honest I wasn’t really sure whether Maude was trustworthy or not until the end. The twists and we are taken on keeps us guessing right from the start and it was a ride I was grateful to be a part of!
    Thank you for passing this on for me to read!
    Was a gripping read and an amazing debut novel!! All the best to Dervla! Get that next book written! I want more!!! hahaha

  13. The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan had me hooked from the beginning. Lucky I am retired because I did not put it down until I had finished the whole story.

    In 1993 Cormac Reilly is called to a crime scene involving two young children in an old house with their mother dead upstairs. 20 years later a body is found in a river, and Cormac Reilly finds himself looking for links between the two deaths.

    The story is extremely well written, no problems moving back and forth between the two time spans, a thoroughly enjoyable read. Great first book by Dervla and I am looking forward to her next one.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace, and Harper and Collins for the opportunity to read this book.

  14. Well what more can I add to the previous comments? I totally agree with all the above –I loved this crime story, It was intriguing, the characters were well developed and the story of 20 years ago was heart wrenching. I always like to understand what motivates people to act in certain ways, Dervla has definitely given depth to the characters and even though there are some who have committed serious criminal acts there is room for compassion when we are shown their history. Well done Dervla, I look forward to the next case for Cormac.

  15. A different type of crime story, starts with the death of a mother and tow now orphaned children … fast forward 20 years and now the son who was a child is also found dead… presumably a suicide and then another seemingly unrelated death of a young girl. A web of story lines that somehow manage to weave a story and show the links as it unfolds. A sad story really showing how people who are going about normal life can sometimes be caught up in something that has nothing to do with them, A good read worth sitting and just enjoying the story-line. Well written with a good character backgrounds. I would recommend this book to anyone who like as good suspense crime story.

  16. The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan was given a lot of media attention prior to release and I immensely enjoyed an interview with the author just before receiving the book, so therefore feel a little let down with the actual novel, which has left me with more unanswered questions about both the storyline and the characters involved.
    Cormac Reilly began his career in in 1993 at Mayo, Ireland as a young Garda, when he is called to a crumbling country house he finds two silent and neglected children – 15 year old Maude and 5 year old Jack – their mother is lying upstairs dead, this haunts him for many years.
    Moving forward 20 years and Cormac moves to Galway and is placed at Mill Street Garda Station, working cold cases and this is the part where I got lost – where did the last 20 years go? There are references throughout the book of Cormac’s past BUT not the whole story which has left me with more questions than answers. As I have heard there is a second book will this answer my questions or will it leave me with more?
    As Cormac goes through his cold cases he is assigned the case that was his first ever as a rookie Garda, and when a body surfaces from the icy black waters of the river Corrib, Cormac comes face to face with Maude, the sister of Jack (who supposedly has committed suicide). Maude pushes relentlessly for police to try and find out who killed her brother and again I struggled to follow this thread.
    In the meantime what I thought was another smaller storyline in the book becomes huge at the end leaving me even more confused and left me again with a lot of unanswered questions. Am I looking forward to the next book featuring Detective Cormac Reilly? Not sure. Will it answer some of my questions from the first book or will it be a totally different storyline altogether? Again, not sure but I will be on the lookout for when it is released.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins Australia for allowing me to read The Ruin.

    1. I found that when I re-read the book, things were even clearer. Because I was more familiar with the characters and the storyline, I appreciated just how brilliant Dervla is in the way she can “string the reader along” – unraveling a bit more information, keeping the level of interest and intrigue up.
      Is it a truly realistic novel ? No, I dont think so. However, it’s a great form of entertainment mingled with lots of challenging social dilemmas that add a thoughtful, human element to the characters.

  17. The Ruin is the first novel in the Cormac Reilly series. Twenty years ago, Cormac Reilly attended a call out to a woman found dead in her home. Her two children, Maude and Jack, are found neglected, and they are taken in to care. Now, Jack has been murdered. And it’s up to Cormac to solve the murder.

    I really enjoyed this novel! Some of the characters certainly rubbed me up the wrong way, but they are characters that I love to hate. Some of them gave off a bit of a shady vibe, and some felt much more wholesome. This worked really well for the story.

    The book is very well written. I spent the entire novel wondering who had done what. I kept leaping between blaming different characters, and the end result really took me by surprise!

    There aren’t a lot of books that I could read over and over again, and this is definitely one of them. As I write this, I found myself wanting to read it all over again – I might read it again over Christmas!

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