The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan

The Scholar Dervla McTiernan
The Scholar is Dervla McTiernan’s follow up to her debut novel The Ruin which was one of my favourite reads of 2018 and is certainly one of my favourite new series. I think fans of The Ruin will be pleased with The Scholar; with its excellent writing, and interesting relateable characters this series ticks all the boxes for me and so I’m eagerly anticipating her next one already!

This case takes Cormac into the privileged world of medical research when his partner Emma is the first to discover the body of a young woman victim of a hit and run outside her work.

I really enjoyed the exploration of Cormac’s personal life. McTiernan really expands in The Scholar and certainly helps to understand more about Cormac’s attitudes and protectiveness towards Emma. I still think we have a lot more going on in their relationship as this case had severe consequences for them personally.

However, I felt like this case highlighted Cormac’s strong character and his integrity. And also general easy goingness as well – I really enjoy his method’s and his way of relating to people. Still answering to his superiors but I liked the way he dealt with things. I enjoyed the multilayers to the case – especially where Cormac is forced to question his objectivity within this case. It was an interesting exploration and also gave us a deeper understanding of his character. I loved the way McTiernan explored the inner struggles with Cormac and moral dilemmas.

The Scholar is more police procedural than The Ruin – Cormac finally gets off the cold cases and has a bit more respect in the office. With more insight into the team and I enjoyed the different viewpoints adding background – especially into office politics.


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…

Have you read The Scholar? What did you think? Click here to read my review of Dervla McTiernan’s The Ruin and here for more fantastic thrillers.

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