Plano Reads: The Ruin

Read our review of The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan, a Mystery Book Club pick for January 2021.

You can join us to virtually discuss The Ruin on January 21 at 7 p.m. using Zoom! Register online here.

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

Currently available through the PPL catalog as well as Overdrive and the Libby app.

Description from OverDrive

It’s been twenty years since Detective Cormac Reilly discovered the body of Hilaria Blake in her crumbling 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 in Ireland, the police tell her it was suicide. She throws herself into work, trying to forget—but Jack’s sister Maude reappears in Ireland after years abroad, determined to prove Jack was murdered.

Meanwhile, Detective Cormac Reilly, who was recently transferred to Galway from his squad in Dublin, is assigned to dig into a cold case from twenty years ago—the seeming overdose of Jack and Maude’s drug and alcohol addled mother. Other detectives are connecting Jack’s death to his mother’s, and pushing Reilly to arrest Maude, and fast. But instinct tells him something isn’t quite what it seems…

This unsettling small-town noir draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland, where corruption, desperation, and crime run rife. A gritty look at trust and betrayal where the written law isn’t the only one, The Ruin asks who will protect you when the authorities can’t—or won’t.


The Ruin starts off with what seems to be a clear-cut case of death by drug overdose in 1993. McTiernan jumps ahead twenty years to a new case involving a seemingly clear-cut case of suicide. Both investigations involve Detective Cormac Reilly at vastly different stages of his career. As Detective Reilly dives into the current case at hand in Galway, we learn more details about the case that has haunted him since 1993. While both cases seem completely different and self-explanatory, McTiernan expertly weaves them together as this gritty story deepens in intensity. Detective Reilly grounds the story and will be an instant hit for fans of Irish mysteries.

While the novel has many twists and turns throughout, the final twist will shock you to your core. If you are anything like me, you will want to immediately read the second book in this series, The Scholar, as soon as you finish The Ruin!   

Librarian Emery

Dervla McTiernan was a lawyer in Ireland for twelve years before moving to Australia in 2011 after the Global Financial Crisis. In Australia, she began her writing career with The Cormac Reilly series. Learn more about the author by visiting her website.

Titles available on OverDrive, the Libby app, and through PPL:

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