The Ruin is McTiernan’s debut novel and what a novel it is. It’s a cracking read, fast-paced which hooks the reader in and never lets her go until the climactic end.
It begins in 1993 in Galway, Ireland when as a new recruit, Reilly is sent to a scene in a lonely broken down old house to find two abused and starved children, Maude and Jack alone with their dead mother. Twenty years later, Jack is found dead, supposedly suicide… or is it? Reilly uncovers secrets, lies, and corruption and struggles to trust anyone, most of all his own colleagues.
I confess to reading this crime series featuring Cormac Reilly a little out of sequence. The second novel The Scholar was enthralling and I scratched my head about the inclusion of Carrie O’Halloran’s character but now having read this novel, it all makes perfect sense. You can check out my review here. (https://sckarakaltsas.com/2019/05/29/book-review-the-scholar-by-dervla-mc-tiernan/)
Don’t get me wrong. The two novels are strong enough to stand on their own. But if you do read them in sequence, the nuances of the common characters become clearer.
There are two points of view, Reilly and Jack’s girlfriend, Aisling. I enjoyed all the characters which I thought were drawn well. Aisling, an ambitious doctor struggles with her grief and her scenes were particularly heartfelt. Reilly, at times, floundered and the reader felt as much on the outer as he did. I also enjoyed the inner workings and politics of the police department too. I did wonder about Reilly’s method of investigation; why didn’t he go to Maude immediately and ask her questions first, instead of going to the old next door neighbour? But what do I know? I’m not a detective.
Yes, this one is very difficult to put down and there’s lots in it. I’d definitely read another of McTiernan’s books. Check it out.
I’ve been sorting out my reading for 2019. My Goodreads Challenge is set at 30 for the year and although it’s down on what I actually achieved in 2018, I like to set myself an achievable goal.
I’ve finished two books so far (The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton and The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein – reviews to come ) and have started a list to keep me out of mischief during the year. So to give you an idea, here’s some of them.
- Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
- The Lost Man by Jane Harper
- Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
- Beartown by Frederik Backman
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- The Corset by Laura Purcell
- Imperfect by Lee Kofman
- The Power by Naomi Alderman
- Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
- Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
- Milkman by Anna Burns
- Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
- The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre
- Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales
There’s some long books in this list and some very good ones so I’m excited to get right into it.
Watch out for my reviews in 2019. Do you have any suggestions for books to get me to my goal of 30?
I’ve previously written a couple of posts about the reading challenge I set for 2018. (https://sckarakaltsas.com/2018/09/14/my-2018-reading-progress/)
My goal was 24 books for 2018 and managed to read 36 so I’m pretty happy about that. What made the difference for me? It was the ability to track my books by using Goodreads which is a great place for readers (and authors too). I love to be able to look back at the list. Since joining Goodreads more than five years ago I’ve been astounded at what I have read. It might sound a lot to some but compared to others, the amount is a mere morsel. I’ve seen others who read over one hundred. Perhaps I’m a slow reader. Maybe I’ve been busy writing. That’s right, I did just publish my third book, A Perfect Stone.
So for a summary of 2018 I list some stats below.
Books: 36 (27 for 2017)
Pages: 11999 (8901 for 2017)
Books by Women: 21 (17 by Australian women)
Books by Men: 15 (8 by Australian men)
Book of the Year: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Other books which were strong contenders for Book of the Year were: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
Now to sort out my challenge for 2019. Any suggestions?
In a post earlier this year (https://sckarakaltsas.com/2018/01/05/my-reading-list-for-2018/) , I listed 18 books I wanted to read by the end 2018. I’ve read ten from my original list so far, but somehow seem to have added many more along the way . Check out the list below of the additional books I’ve read so far.
I joined the Goodreads Challenge for the first time this year and what a difference adding a target has made to my reading. I set myself a challenge of 24 books which was conservative as I’d read 27 in 2017. I’m up to 28 now and will now doubt crash through the 30 barrier. It might seem a lot to read but I’ve been astounded that the average Goodreads Challenger has pledged to read 55 books and I’m a long way from that.
I’ve also tried to review most of the books I read although it hasn’t been possible for each one. When looking at my list so far, I was startled to see so many books by Australian authors (fourteen) but then, it’s hardly surprising as Australian authors are producing incredible work. If you don’t believe me check some out for yourself.
- The Sister’s Song by Louise Allan (Aus)
- What Was Left by Eleanor Limprecht (Aus)
- Castle of Dreams by Elise McCune (Aus)
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Aus)
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood
- The Rules of Backyard Croquet by Sunni Overend (Aus)
- Movemind by Robert New (Aus)
- The Passengers by Eleanor Limprecht (Aus)
- The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland (Aus)
- The Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning (Aus)
- Watching Glass Shatter by James J Cudney
- Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic (Aus)
- The Unfortunate Pilgrim by Mario Puzo
- The Lion by Saroo Brierley (Aus)
- The Bridge by Enza Gandolfo (Aus)
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- First Person by Richard Flanagan (Aus)
- The Last of the Bonegilla Girls by Victoria Purman (Aus)
Do you have any you’d like to recommend?