Book talk: The Good Turn


Jeff Popple reviews an exceptional new novel by Australian author Dervla McTiernan, The Good Turn. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog:

The Good Turn book cover

Australian author Dervla McTiernan’s first two novels, The Ruin and The Scholar, shot her towards the top of the international crime writing tree with a host of awards and solid sales.

The books featured Detective Cormac Reilly, a former rising star in the Dublin-based Special Detective Unit, who has returned to his hometown of Galway to be with his fiancée, much to the displeasure of some of his newer colleagues.

In The Good Turn, Reilly is still struggling with his move to Galway and having to deal with the resentment of those outside his team. His Superintendent, Brian Murphy, also doesn’t make his life easy, content to play office politics and showing favouritism to the Drug Task Force run by his son. When a young girl is snatched off the streets, Murphy refuses Reilly the extra manpower he needs. That decision leads to Peter Fisher, an inexperienced detective in Reilly’s team, acting on his own and making a terrible mistake. Reilly is held responsible and put on suspension, while Fisher is shunted off to work in his father’s police station in Roundstone, the little coastal village where he grew up. As Reilly tries to get to the bottom of what happened, another crime occurs.

The Good Turn is a very good book. It is pacier than the first two novels, but still features the same exquisite attention to plotting. The various strands of the plot are well worked out and Dervla interweaves an interesting murder mystery into the over-arching framework about drugs and corruption. Although Reilly features prominently in the book, much of the story is seen through the eyes of the exiled Peter Fisher, which adds an extra dimension to the plot.

In all, The Good Turn is a very enjoyable read and another impressive novel by the ever improving Ms McTiernan.

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