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Publisher's Summary

It's been 20 years since Cormac Reilly discovered the body of Hilaria Blake in her crumbling Georgian home. But he's never forgotten the two children she left behind....

When Aisling Conroy's boyfriend Jack is found in the freezing black waters of the river Corrib, the police tell her it was suicide. A surgical resident, she throws herself into study and work, trying to forget - until Jack's sister Maude shows up. Maude suspects foul play, and she is determined to prove it.

Cormac Reilly is the detective assigned with the re-investigation of a seemingly accidental overdose 20 years ago - the overdose of Jack and Maude's drug-and-alcohol-addled mother. Detective Reilly is under increasing pressure to charge Maude for murder when his colleague Danny uncovers a piece of evidence that will change everything....

This unsettling small-town noir draws us deep into the dark heart of Ireland, where corruption, desperation, and crime run rife. A gritty look at trust and betrayal where the written law isn't the only one, The Ruin asks who will protect you when the authorities can't - or won't.

©2018 Dervla McTiernan (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Aoife McMahon delivers Cormac's low-key, hard-working style of detective work in an easy-listening manner in this multilayered police procedural.... This debut novel has a compelling storyline deepened by McMahon's Irish-accented voice, perfect pacing, and riveting attention to details. Building tension seems to come naturally to McMahon; his precise pauses add to the emotional impact. McTiernan's well-written story and McMahon's top-notch narration make this a compelling listen." (AudioFile)

Featured Article: The 10 Detective Book Series That Keep Us Guessing


Chances are if you’re a mystery or crime fan, you love detective novels. And if, like me, you hate having a suspenseful story interrupted by life’s chores and routines, then you’re always on the lookout for the best detective book series in audio. Here are 10 detective series that are so good, you’ll have a hard time not marathoning them all. Bonus: there are short marathons, two completed series, and series with more than five books for you. Let's go!

What listeners say about The Ruin

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Exceptional Debut

The only reason I didn't give this five stars was that I got confused with all the characters. couldn't keep them strait. I had to go back and listen to the first half again before I could keep going. I listen to a lot of books. I have been on audible for ten years. Most books are somewhat similar when listening to mysteries, police procedures etc. after the HUNDREDS that I have read this one kept my attention and wanted me to keep on listening. There is no exploitive violence, sex, drama, but the story is compelling nonetheless. I enjoyed it. Don't get put off by the language, that is the way they talk in Ireland. Accept their culture and enjoy.

215 people found this helpful

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Book of the Year

Would not surprise me at all if this becomes the book of the year. I have not enjoyed a book this much since Tana French wrote her series. This book has several subplots, each as interesting and keeping you wondering what is next. I hope is that she continues with a series. Loved it and will be listening to it again

196 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Dreary goodness

So I'll start by saying that I loved the story. The writing is great, the narrator is fantastic. It will absolutely keep your attention the entire time. However, I couldn't wait for it to be over. It is so sad and so bleak, that it really took a toll on me. I mean that in a good way. That's obviously what the writer was going for but whew... I need a pallet cleanser after that.

174 people found this helpful

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A combo whodunit/soap opera? Good/bad idea?

There are certainly things to enjoy here. Aoife McMahon is definitely a narrator to whom I could listen reading other books. And Dervla McTiernan can write. It's just that there is way too much of almost everything here: so much so that the book gets mighty confusing and the plots/subplots/red herrings become so twisted around that by a certain point I lost track of what was up and what was down. I felt kinda like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole. Down, down, down! The soap opera and the whodunit vie for dominance throughout, and IMHO this is not a healthy competition for an author to set up. I couldn't begin to tell you all of the characters and all of the plots. Just too much. Even the basic story is complicated, spanning over twenty years of people living in or near Galway, on the west coast of Ireland (a perfectly wonderful place to visit, BTW: go there soon). There are drug deaths, murders, long-simmering hatreds, garda (police) departments that just cannot keep up with the chaos that is happening on the streets of their communities. I know that I sometimes complain about the lack of humor in novels. Rightly or wrongly, I feel that a little bit of humor truly helps break the tension that is being generated by the plot(s), and it also serves to make the characters feel more like fleshed-out people. In ten and a half hours of listening to this book, I found exactly one moment of fun: the crotchety/crazy/psychopathic/demented old lady named Domenica Keen is a true laff riot, as they used to spell it in Vaudeville days. And Aoife does a perfect job with this voice, down to the last inflection. But truly, that is the only moment of fun in the entire book. The rest of it, and there's a lot, is about 100% suffering and pain. Now I know quite a number of Irishfolks, and I have spent three months there over about twelve years. I do know how much they have suffered, from a variety of misfortunes so severe that a weaker nation would collapse into an ocean of its own tears. Nonetheless, the brands of suffering here are so extensive that almost any character could burst into a flood of tears at any moment. Child abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, horrible poverty, disease, death, the fear of going to Hell...I'm a nervous wreck just thinking about all of it, and I am merely scratching the surface. A moment to breathe, please? A bit of comic relief? See what I mean? Too much misery. Almost like reading Dickens, although certainly not that far down the line.
So, as usual, you must make up your own minds about this book. I think I have been fair about the positives and the negatives, insofar as that is possible. For myself, when Aoife McMahon narrates another audiobook, I will look very closely at it, hoping that her serious talents might be well-employed again. And as for Ms. McTiernan, perhaps not so much.

129 people found this helpful

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Not Quite There

The author has the right idea but needs seasoning. I thought she started too many threads. Every few chapters, new people with new backstories. The ending is strung out over several chapters with the effort to tie up so many threads. I like complexity but this lacked focus. It's her first novel and I see she's being compared to Tana French - not even close, though she shows promise.

63 people found this helpful

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Great listen! Great book!

Great mystery! I couldn't stop listening and I also didn't want to listen because I didn't want it to be over.

48 people found this helpful

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Like reading a junk drawer

I haven't taken the time to write down a review in some time.
I've listened to many mysteries and police procedurals, it's one of my favourite genres.

This book was free so I'm thankful for that. This review will also have spoilers so avoid now if you don't want to read any.

This book was stuffed with so many characters that you felt not connection too, zero direction and you can tell with the very heavy topic of child abuse that it wanted you to CARE about it but the way it was all done made you roll your eyes. Nothing connected, the main issue was a lack of communication. There were characters introduced that never had any outcome. There's people's deaths that served zero purpose for the story.
All of this story could've been avoided if the main detective actually did some detective work. the author seemed more into letting us know he slept with his wife, than he actually tried to communicate with his peers.
There were so many loose ends and so many "points" to be made in this book that they get tangled around one another and it just leaves you disappointed.

The narrator couldn't decide on an accent and kept dropping out of an Irish accent. I would suggest in future to actually get someone who speaks in different tones for different characters who can keep the accent.

This book was a mess. Give it a try if you want, perhaps you'll love it as others have. But don't expect great writing here.
Perhaps the authors next book will be better and pulled together. I for one will not be waiting around to see.

2/5

38 people found this helpful

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If you like Tana French ... this is for you

Gripping first novel, well developed characters, credible and well paced plot and great sense of place. Style is similar to Tana French for those who enjoy her novels also set in Ireland. And Aoife McMahon shows how great narration is done and can really add so much!

35 people found this helpful

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So good!

When I saw that this author was being compared to Tana French I knew I’d be hooked. The story was gripping, the narrator was great, and I can’t wait for the next book!

35 people found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyed both the story and the reader!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Reader was wonderful and enhanced the experience. Layers of secrets and surprises.

28 people found this helpful

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