by Dervla McTiernan
I very much enjoyed this author’s Ireland set mysteries of which there were three, The Ruin, The Scholar, and The Good Turn. In The Murder Rule, the author changes everything up. This new book is not set in Ireland, but rather in the U.S., around the UVA Law School. The book is meant to be a thriller with an unreliable narrator who is single minded but not straightforward among most things.
Laura and her daughter, Hannah, share a very close relationship, albeit one with role reversals. Hannah worries about and cares for her mother who suffered enormous trauma in the past. The story behind her mother’s circumstances is what motivates Hannah throughout these pages.
Hannah is a third year law student at the University of Maine as the novel opens. She manipulates her way into a semester at UVA (the University of Virginia) Law School and to a spot on their Innocence Project. Hannah is there for her own purposes but her desire to see justice done does not mesh with the goals of the others with whom she works on Michael Dandridge’s wrongful (is it?) murder conviction.
Readers get to know Hannah, Laura and their situation well. They also spend time with the other law students, the head of the program and those involved in, and impacted by, the actions of Michael Dandridge.
I wanted to like this book as much as the others that I have read by this author, but, sadly for me, I didn’t. I found that there was a lack of warmth in these pages. I know that Laura was wronged and traumatized but somehow I didn’t care quite enough for her. The plot of this story also depended on actions that did not always feel realistic to me.
Those who like thrillers, law and courtroom stories and idealistic young lawyers to be may well enjoy this book. I just wished for more even as I respect that the author was trying to write something completely different from her earlier novels.
Many thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for this title. All opinions are my own.
Pub date: 10 May 2022