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Book review: The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan

I’m usually no fan of police procedurals or detective novels, but somehow Dervla McTiernan makes the topic of murder and the ensuing investigation completely moreish.

I listened to The Scholar on audiobook, and found that this was the perfect plot to dwell on while out on a walk or driving across town.

Like The Ruin, it centred on Detective Cormac Reilly, whose girlfriend made a grim discovery evening after leaving work at Galway University.

The investigation into who ran down a young woman takes the reader into the world of big pharma when Darcy Laboratory is implicated in the crime.

However, it is not just the plot that is engrossing, it is also the characters who are real and fully formed. I liked the way the different police officers and detectives communicated – there was all of the office irritation, bickering, exhaustion and ambition that you would expect in the commercial world, but not as much in a police station.

Cormac is just as likeable in this novel as he was in The Ruin, but is not without his flaws and missteps. It was interesting to learn more about his partner, Emma, who only played a bit part in the previous novel.

I’m now keen to read the next instalment in McTiernan’s highly readable series, and it might even change my perception about what a police procedural can be.



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