Category Archives: Cormac Reilly Series

Review: The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan

Title: The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan
Cormac Reilly Series Book Two
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


From the author of The Ruin comes a compulsive new crime thriller set in the fiercely competitive, cutthroat world of research and academia, where the brightest minds will stop at nothing to succeed.

When Dr. Emma Sweeney stumbles across the victim of a hit-and-run outside Galway University early one morning, she calls her boyfriend, Detective Cormac Reilly, bringing him first to the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID that will put this crime at the center of a scandal–her card identifies her as 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 even funded Emma’s own ground-breaking research.

As the murder investigation twists in unexpected ways and Cormac’s running of the case comes under scrutiny from the department and his colleagues, he is forced to question himself and the beliefs that he has long held as truths. Who really is Emma? And who is Carline Darcy?

A gripping and atmospheric follow-up to The Ruin, an “expertly plotted, complex web of secrets that refuse to stay hidden” (Karen Dionne, author of The Marsh King’s Daughter), The Scholar is perfect for fans of Tana French and Flynn Berry.


The Scholar by Dervla McTiernan  is a fiendishly clever, riveting mystery. This second installment in the  Cormac Reilly series can be read as a standalone but I also highly recommend book one, The Ruin.

Finally freed from working nothing but cold cases, DS Cormac Reilly is the lead investigator of a hit and run death that occurred near the local university. The case is quickly complicated due to the fact that Reilly’s partner, Dr. Emma Sweeney, discovered the victim. Then he finds out the deceased has a connection to Darcy Therapeutics’ research laboratory which is where Emma works. Surprisingly, Superintendent Brian Murphy has no issue with Cormac working the case but he does caution him to tread lightly around the über wealthy Darcy family. Just as the team is making progress on the case, another murder increases the tension for Cormac who is desperate to unmask the killer.

Cormac relies heavily on Detective Peter Fisher as he juggles the current murder investigation and another case he recently inherited from overworked Sergeant Carrie O’Halloran.  Identifying the hit and run victim is not easy due to the damage inflicted by the vehicle. They do have one valuable clue that leads straight to Darcy Therapeutics. John Darcy is quite formidable as he fights to protect the proprietary information in the research lab. Cormac then turns to the lab head James Murtagh who is a little more forthcoming but will the information he provides lead them to the murderer?

Cormac is a well seasoned veteran detective whose keen instincts serve him well throughout the investigation.  While most of his co-workers are eager and hardworking, Officer Moira Hanley is not one to come in early or stay late. She is not at all happy to be working with Reilly but will her resentment harm the investigation and Cormac’s career?

The Scholar is a multi-layered mystery which is set against the backdrop of pharma research and the academic world. Cormac is an engaging lead protagonist who is finally settling into his new life in Galway. Emma is a bit of an enigmatic figure whose past is shrouded in mystery.  The investigation moves at a steady pace but just as Cormac is starting to piece together the truth, a second murder turns his world upside down.  Although savvy readers will most likely guess the killer’s identity early on,  Dervla McTiernan keeps the motive for the murders tightly under wraps until the novel’s stunning conclusion. Mystery buffs are sure to enjoy this newest addition to the fantastic Cormac Reilly series.

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Filed under Contemporary, Cormac Reilly Series, Dervla McTiernan, Mystery, Penguin Books, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Scholar