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Publisher's Summary

It's been 20 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.

Cormac Reilly is the detective assigned with the re-investigation of a seemingly accidental overdose 20 years ago - the overdose of Jack and Maude's drug-and-alcohol-addled mother. Detective Reilly is under increasing pressure to charge Maude for murder when his colleague Danny uncovers a piece of evidence that will change everything....

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.

©2018 Dervla McTiernan (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Aoife McMahon delivers Cormac's low-key, hard-working style of detective work in an easy-listening manner in this multilayered police procedural.... This debut novel has a compelling storyline deepened by McMahon's Irish-accented voice, perfect pacing, and riveting attention to details. Building tension seems to come naturally to McMahon; his precise pauses add to the emotional impact. McTiernan's well-written story and McMahon's top-notch narration make this a compelling listen." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Book of the Year

Would not surprise me at all if this becomes the book of the year. I have not enjoyed a book this much since Tana French wrote her series. This book has several subplots, each as interesting and keeping you wondering what is next. I hope is that she continues with a series. Loved it and will be listening to it again

42 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Louanne
  • Santa Fe, NM, United States
  • 07-18-18

Exceptional Debut

The only reason I didn't give this five stars was that I got confused with all the characters. couldn't keep them strait. I had to go back and listen to the first half again before I could keep going. I listen to a lot of books. I have been on audible for ten years. Most books are somewhat similar when listening to mysteries, police procedures etc. after the HUNDREDS that I have read this one kept my attention and wanted me to keep on listening. There is no exploitive violence, sex, drama, but the story is compelling nonetheless. I enjoyed it. Don't get put off by the language, that is the way they talk in Ireland. Accept their culture and enjoy.

40 of 41 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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So good!

When I saw that this author was being compared to Tana French I knew I’d be hooked. The story was gripping, the narrator was great, and I can’t wait for the next book!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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If you like Tana French ... this is for you

Gripping first novel, well developed characters, credible and well paced plot and great sense of place. Style is similar to Tana French for those who enjoy her novels also set in Ireland. And Aoife McMahon shows how great narration is done and can really add so much!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A combo whodunit/soap opera? Good/bad idea?

There are certainly things to enjoy here. Aoife McMahon is definitely a narrator to whom I could listen reading other books. And Dervla McTiernan can write. It's just that there is way too much of almost everything here: so much so that the book gets mighty confusing and the plots/subplots/red herrings become so twisted around that by a certain point I lost track of what was up and what was down. I felt kinda like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole. Down, down, down! The soap opera and the whodunit vie for dominance throughout, and IMHO this is not a healthy competition for an author to set up. I couldn't begin to tell you all of the characters and all of the plots. Just too much. Even the basic story is complicated, spanning over twenty years of people living in or near Galway, on the west coast of Ireland (a perfectly wonderful place to visit, BTW: go there soon). There are drug deaths, murders, long-simmering hatreds, garda (police) departments that just cannot keep up with the chaos that is happening on the streets of their communities. I know that I sometimes complain about the lack of humor in novels. Rightly or wrongly, I feel that a little bit of humor truly helps break the tension that is being generated by the plot(s), and it also serves to make the characters feel more like fleshed-out people. In ten and a half hours of listening to this book, I found exactly one moment of fun: the crotchety/crazy/psychopathic/demented old lady named Domenica Keen is a true laff riot, as they used to spell it in Vaudeville days. And Aoife does a perfect job with this voice, down to the last inflection. But truly, that is the only moment of fun in the entire book. The rest of it, and there's a lot, is about 100% suffering and pain. Now I know quite a number of Irishfolks, and I have spent three months there over about twelve years. I do know how much they have suffered, from a variety of misfortunes so severe that a weaker nation would collapse into an ocean of its own tears. Nonetheless, the brands of suffering here are so extensive that almost any character could burst into a flood of tears at any moment. Child abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, horrible poverty, disease, death, the fear of going to Hell...I'm a nervous wreck just thinking about all of it, and I am merely scratching the surface. A moment to breathe, please? A bit of comic relief? See what I mean? Too much misery. Almost like reading Dickens, although certainly not that far down the line.
So, as usual, you must make up your own minds about this book. I think I have been fair about the positives and the negatives, insofar as that is possible. For myself, when Aoife McMahon narrates another audiobook, I will look very closely at it, hoping that her serious talents might be well-employed again. And as for Ms. McTiernan, perhaps not so much.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the reader!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Reader was wonderful and enhanced the experience. Layers of secrets and surprises.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Great listen! Great book!

Great mystery! I couldn't stop listening and I also didn't want to listen because I didn't want it to be over.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Stay with it.

It was a little slow getting into the story but worth sticking with it. The performance was excellent and made the story more interesting.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not Quite There

The author has the right idea but needs seasoning. I thought she started too many threads. Every few chapters, new people with new backstories. The ending is strung out over several chapters with the effort to tie up so many threads. I like complexity but this lacked focus. It's her first novel and I see she's being compared to Tana French - not even close, though she shows promise.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

If you like French's Dublin Murder squad series...

you'll appreciate this book. I very much hope this is the beginning to a series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful