The Rúin, by Dervla McTiernan

Ní scéal rúin é más fios do thiúr é.
An Irish saying, meaning ‘it’s not a secret if a third person knows about it’.

The title of my book can be read in English, or can be given its Irish meaning. In Irish Rúin means something hidden, a mystery, or a secret, but the word also has a long history as a term of endearment. (Dervla McTiernan)

Ireland and Irish creativity has appealed to me for almost 30 years now. I built up a reasonable collection of Irish music of many genres, as well as books written by numerous Irish writers, ranging from the literary classics (Beckett, Joyce, Yeats) through to more recent writers like Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor and Colum McCann.

Therefore the title, and author’s name helped this book stand out in the bookshop, immediately attracting my attention.

Being a “crime novel” added to the appeal.

McTiernan is an Irish born lawyer who moved to Australia following the Global Financial Crisis.

This, her first published novel, is set in Galway, Ireland and starts with an event in February 1993. Cormac Reilly, a new policeman, finds himself out of his depth when he’s sent to check on what is supposed to be a “minor domestic”.

What he finds at the isolated house becomes significant twenty years later. In 2013, and now a Detective, Reilly is given the task of reinvestigating that old “domestic” as a cold case and finds there are links to recent events.

After the introductory chapters where the cast of main characters are introduced, the book starts to twist and turn, with none of the characters knowing who they can trust.

A constant thread within the story, tying it all together, is the plight of children denied the security and stability of a loving family, and the resulting dangers of institutional neglect and abuse.

Unimaginatively I’ll have to fall back on clichéd term I’ve used several times before: “page-turner”.
It was a very hard book to put down and I read it whenever I could make time. Importantly that eagerness to keep reading was rewarded with a satisfying resolution.

The copy I have includes a sneak peak of “Cormac Reilly’s next compelling case to be released in 2019” – so far I’m resisting reading it. I don’t need to be tempted. I intend to get it anyway.

I wouldn’t miss it.


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