Category: Irish Crime, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Book Review
When Detective Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend Emma stumbles across the victim of a hit and run, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. As Cormac investigates, evidence mounts that the death is linked to a Darcy laboratory and, increasingly, to Emma herself. Cormac is sure she couldn’t be involved, but how well does he really know her? After all, this isn’t the first time Emma’s been accused of murder…
Sergeant Callie O’Halloran is on the edge of exhaustion with working all hours since her promotion. Her home life is suffering and the Henderson case, one of several she’s working on, seems to be losing momentum despite giving it most of her attention.
Cormac Reilly is still being assigned to cold cases after a year at the Galway police station and Callie can’t understand why the powers that be aren’t utilising such a good detective. She says as much to her superior, Superintendent Murphy, pleading Cormac’s case and her own, although it doesn’t turn out quite as she hoped.
Cormac transferred to Galway from Dublin when his partner, Dr Emma Sweeney, had been head hunted, securing a position with Darcy Therapeutics as a research scientist. They both felt the need for a new start although Cormac’s time with the Galway Gardaí hasn’t been, and still isn’t, what he would call satisfying. At least now he is getting ongoing cases, thanks to Callie’s intervention.
When Cormac receives a phone call from a distraught Emma late one evening, Cormac catches a case he really shouldn’t be investigating. Emma discovers the victim of a hit and run by chance as she is on her way to the lab. According to ID found on the body it seems the dead woman is Carline Darcy, the granddaughter of John Darcy, head of Darcy Pharmaceuticals.
Cormac cursed inwardly. The fact that she’d gotten close to the body meant that her involvement in the case, at least to some degree, was now inevitable. To a different person a couple of police interviews, necessary to rule her out as a suspect, would be no big deal. For Emma it might bring back memories that were better forgotten.
Things aren’t quite what they seem initially, as the ID found turns out not to belong to the victim, and the injuries sustained make it difficult to make an identification. A case involving the Darcy family is high profile and Cormac is told in no uncertain terms he has to tread very lightly, unless he has strong evidence.
All sorts of factors come into play during the course of the story, including the issue of internal police politics, secrets, lies and deception, corruption in the corporate world and the privileged existence of the rich.
The characterisations of minor players, one in particular, are succinct and give an immediate sense of their personalities. The key characters, including Cormac, Callie, and Peter Fisher, are extremely well developed and realistic. Cormac has moral standards without being self-righteous and won’t stop until he gets at the truth. There’s still more to learn about Emma—this case impacts on both her and Cormac and Dervla McTiernan gives a nice balance between professional and personal relationships. An atmospheric, well thought through plot, interesting police procedural and several twists make The Scholar a worthy successor to The Ruin. I really enjoyed it.
I chose to read and review The Scholar courtesy of Little, Brown Book Group UK via NetGalley
Internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed writer Dervla McTiernan is the author of The Ruin, her crime debut set in Ireland. The Ruin is the first in the detective Cormac Reilly series and has been published in the United States, the UK and Ireland and in New Zealand and Australia, where it was a top ten bestseller. It has been named as one of Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Crime Mystery and Thrillers of 2018 and an Amazon Best Book of July 2018. Dervla was a New Blood Panellist at Harrogate Festival.
Dervla spent twelve years working as a lawyer. Following the global financial crisis, she moved to Australia and turned her hand to writing. An avid fan of crime and detective novels from childhood, Dervla wrote a short story, The Roommate, which was shortlisted for the Sisters in Crime Scarlet Stiletto Competition. She went on to write The Ruin, which is followed by The Scholar. The Ruin has been optioned for TV by Hopscotch. Dervla is a member of the Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers Association, and lives in Perth, Australia, with her husband and two children.