Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Book Review: THE SCHOLAR by Dervla McTiernan

Title: The Scholar (Cormac Reilly #2)
Author: Dervla McTiernan
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Read: January 2019
Expected publication: 18 February 2019
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟1/2

Book Description:

When DS Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend Emma stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, from sponsoring university research facilities to funding political parties to philanthropy – it has funded Emma’s own
ground-breaking research. The investigation into Carline’s death promises to be high profile and high pressure.

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...

My musings:

I really loved Dervla McTiernan’s first book, The Ruin, and was a very happy chappy when I received a copy of The Scholar, number two in the Cormac Reilly series. I am pleased to say that I liked it equally as much, and it was great to see all the characters back again and to get to know them a bit better.

In The Scholar, DI Cormac Reilly is finally taken off cold cases and given a caseload of current crimes to solve. However, when one of the cases involves someone close to him, it may test his loyalties. That is really all you need to know about the story– some books are best plunged into with held breath and eyes closed, letting the author take you on a journey.

As soon as the story started, McTiernan transported me seamlessly into Cormac’s world, and I was totally engrossed. He really is one of the best fictional detectives to come along in the last two years! I said it in my review of The Ruin, and I will say it again, the refreshing thing about Cormac is that he is so “normal”. He is neither an alcoholic, nor a tortured cynical soul that lives on take-aways and donuts, neither is he a sad divorcee nor involved in some bizarre workplace romances. Cormac just appears to be an average nice guy, and a damn good investigator to boot. However, all is not totally whole in Cormac’s world. There are some workplace issues that have seen him banished to work cold cases after his transfer to Galway, and even though he is finally granted permission to take on a caseload of fresh cases, his boss seems determined to see him fail. Cormac does not appear bitter or resentful about this, surprisingly, although he will be sorely tested when one of the crimes he is sent to investigate involves his girlfriend Emma. This brings me to his personal life, which may have appeared quite idyllic in The Ruin, but which also has some darker events preceding his move to Galway. I loved getting to know Cormac better as a character, and really look forward to watching him grow in depth and background as the series progresses – which I hope will be a loooong one!

McTiernan writes well, and drew me in with the ease of a skilled author, effortlessly evoking the sights, the sounds and atmosphere of the world her characters inhabit. I found both cases Cormac is trying to solve in The Scholar utterly intriguing, and as in The Ruin, some of the themes pulled on my heartstrings. 


With The Scholar, the author has written another intelligent, multi-layered mystery that was pure joy to read and get lost in. Some things may not come as a surprise to a seasoned mystery-lover, but the side stories added a depth that is not often found in other police procedurals. I must also mention that I thoroughly enjoyed the development of the side characters, like Carrie O’Halloran and Peter Fisher, and will look forward to seeing them back in the next book. McTiernan’s Cormac Reilly series has quickly risen to reside amongst my favourites, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins Australia for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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