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The Murder Rule

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For fans of the compulsive psychological suspense of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a mother daughter story—one running from a horrible truth, and the other fighting to reveal it—that twists and turns in shocking ways, from the internationally bestselling author of The Scholar and The Ruin. First Rule: Make them like you. Second Rule: Make them need you. Third Rule: Make them pay For fans of the compulsive psychological suspense of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a mother daughter story—one running from a horrible truth, and the other fighting to reveal it—that twists and turns in shocking ways, from the internationally bestselling author of The Scholar and The Ruin. First Rule: Make them like you. Second Rule: Make them need you. Third Rule: Make them pay. They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system. They think I’m working hard to impress them. They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row. They're wrong. I’m going to bury him.


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For fans of the compulsive psychological suspense of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a mother daughter story—one running from a horrible truth, and the other fighting to reveal it—that twists and turns in shocking ways, from the internationally bestselling author of The Scholar and The Ruin. First Rule: Make them like you. Second Rule: Make them need you. Third Rule: Make them pay For fans of the compulsive psychological suspense of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a mother daughter story—one running from a horrible truth, and the other fighting to reveal it—that twists and turns in shocking ways, from the internationally bestselling author of The Scholar and The Ruin. First Rule: Make them like you. Second Rule: Make them need you. Third Rule: Make them pay. They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system. They think I’m working hard to impress them. They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row. They're wrong. I’m going to bury him.

30 review for The Murder Rule

  1. 5 out of 5

    GirlWithThePinkSkiMask

    Thank you William Morrow for a gifted physical ARC in exchange for an honest review. IYKYK, my reviews are always honest. THE PLOT Hannah joins UVA Law's chapter of the Innocence Project—but she's not there to help. MY OPINION I— what just happened? I've read three ARCs from three authors I REALLY like (Dervla McTiernan, Holly Seddon, and Lucinda Berry) and they were all so cookie-cutter and uninspired. Each book was devoid of the originality that I admired in the author. I can only conclude t Thank you William Morrow for a gifted physical ARC in exchange for an honest review. IYKYK, my reviews are always honest. THE PLOT Hannah joins UVA Law's chapter of the Innocence Project—but she's not there to help. MY OPINION I— what just happened? I've read three ARCs from three authors I REALLY like (Dervla McTiernan, Holly Seddon, and Lucinda Berry) and they were all so cookie-cutter and uninspired. Each book was devoid of the originality that I admired in the author. I can only conclude these books are the equivalent of a talented artist putting out a top 40 bubblegum pop song. I just finished The Scholar (shameless plug here's my review) which I liked so much I gave it FOUR stars. It was well-written, fast paced, and unique. But THIS???? YMCA creative writing class. Slow as a snail despite it being barely over 300 pages. As unique as a human with two eyeballs. There was so much closed caption ass writing in this book, for example: They found a cafe that served an all-day breakfast. Sean ordered a breakfast burrito. Hannah a cajun chicken sandwich, and then waited, while Hannah thought about how hungry she was. She couldn't remember if she'd eaten breakfast. The food came quickly, and it was really good. WHO TF CARESSSSS???? At least explain WHAT makes the food good—is it saucy, spicy, salty??? C'mon now. This one nearly killed me: They walked to the car and Sean beeped the locks open. They dumped their bags in the trunk and climbed in. Bro... Ok and then we have "the diary." LOL. The diary that was written in present tense, chock full of dialogue, and more closed caption writing. I understand WHY the diary had to be included, but c'mon... this diary was written MLA style. Next, we have inaccuracies galore. Where to start? Well, apparently Hannah is wearing BOOTS in VIRGINIA in AUGUST. GWURLLLL. Your feet about to be STANKY. All it takes is a quick google to confirm the temp and realize this outfit is not appropriate for the character. Also, if she wanted to destroy the case and send Danbridge back in jail... why wouldn't she just volunteer for the prosecutor's office? Lol. Would be a whole lot easier than being a double agent of sorts. And ... I hated Hannah. Is she supposed to be a protagonist? Antagonistic hero? Or just a conniving, manipulative, easily swayed nutter? She sent Hazel on a fake interview in New York just to take her place on the Danbridge case. What did Hazel do to deserve that? Damn. A little extreme. And she expressed NO remorse. I guess this was supposed to be part of her redemption arc, but she didn't actually redeem herself in the end so??? Ok... maybe I'm almost done with this rant? But, similarly to The Woods, the author inserted random tangents about shit that was irrelevant to the plot or character development. For example, what was the point of saying "the left-leaning papers"? The papers were legit never mentioned again. Lol. Or a thicc ass paragraph about Hannah's opinion on the murder rule—which BTW is irrelevant to the plot. Hilarious. Literally the case at hand has NOTHING to do with the murder rule. *screams into the abyss* Cutting myself off from writing more. Bye. I will still read the rest of McTiernan's Cormac series and I recommend you do the same. Skip this one like you skip ads on a YouTube video. PROS AND CONS Pros: the hardcover is absolutely beautiful Cons: .... read my rant above :'(

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    Heck, yeah! When Hannah Rokeby stumbles upon an article in Vanity Fair about what was happening at the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia, a plan is set in motion. Professor Rob Parekh who runs The Innocence Project at the University is working to free Michael Dandridge, a man convicted of the brutal rape and murder of Sarah Fitzhugh. Hannah cannot let that happen. You see, Hannah’s mother, Laura has been running from this man for over 20 years-the details of WHY, chronicled in the Heck, yeah! When Hannah Rokeby stumbles upon an article in Vanity Fair about what was happening at the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia, a plan is set in motion. Professor Rob Parekh who runs The Innocence Project at the University is working to free Michael Dandridge, a man convicted of the brutal rape and murder of Sarah Fitzhugh. Hannah cannot let that happen. You see, Hannah’s mother, Laura has been running from this man for over 20 years-the details of WHY, chronicled in the diaries she wrote when she was just 19 years old. Details which led her mother down a lonely path of alcoholism and distrust. So Hannah blackmails the Professor to make sure that a spot for her will become available in the “already full” program, and sets about to make herself invaluable to the team. While she is convincing the others that she is passionate about saving this man who they believe is innocent- she is working behind the scenes to make sure that he will NOT walk free. The story alternates between Hannah, in the present, working with the project and Laura’s diary entries from 1994. While I doubt that the newest member of the Innocence Project team, would so easily get to take center stage on the case, in the many ways that she does, just go with the ride and enjoy the entertaining story! After all, aren’t we all looking for a book, where we yell “Heck, yeah” at the end? 😉 Dervla McTiernan may not be a household name in the US, yet…but she is an award winning, number one bestselling author known around the World for her Cormac Reilly series, which has sold over 400,000 copies in Australia and New Zealand, alone. The Murder Rule is her first standalone thriller, inspired by the true story of a young law student who uncovered evidence at the Innocence Project, exonerating a man who had been in prison for 26 years. NOW AVAILABLE !! Thank You to DeAnn for the buddy read! Be sure to check out her amazing review! Thank You to the Scene of the Crime Early Read program and William Morrow/Harper Collins for providing a gifted ARC. It was my pleasure to offer a candid review!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    4-5 stars In 2019 Hannah Rokeby blags her way onto the Innocence Project clinic run by Professor Rob Parekh at the University of Virginia. Why? The answer lies in her mother’s diary from 1994 when she works as a cleaner in Maine. There she meets uber-rich Tom Spencer and his friend Michael Dandridge, the latter is the case Hannah is interested in. Michael is in prison following the rape and murder of Sarah Fitzhugh for which he protests his innocence. The story is told mostly by Hannah intersper 4-5 stars In 2019 Hannah Rokeby blags her way onto the Innocence Project clinic run by Professor Rob Parekh at the University of Virginia. Why? The answer lies in her mother’s diary from 1994 when she works as a cleaner in Maine. There she meets uber-rich Tom Spencer and his friend Michael Dandridge, the latter is the case Hannah is interested in. Michael is in prison following the rape and murder of Sarah Fitzhugh for which he protests his innocence. The story is told mostly by Hannah interspersed with extracts from her mother Laura’s diary. This is a cracking read with a slow but inexorable build up to where we hurtle to some breathtaking moments of danger, suspense and tension with numerous unexpected twists and turns in the plot road. Hannah is an intriguing central protagonist, she seems enigmatic, she’s certainly determined and can manipulate and use her creative powers to full effect in order to achieve what she wants. The diary is illuminating but is it true, that’s the million dollar question. We get hints of Laura, she’s in the background but she’s absolutely central to what occurs. The case is fascinating, the aspects of the law are really interesting and you find yourself willing the team in as they’re working against the clock to get Michael’s case heard. They are pitted against some powerful forces in order to reveal huge contradictions in the case. What emerges is a dramatic story of corruption, violence and intimidation to the degree that Hannah and the team don’t know which way is up. The ending is satisfying for all concerned. My only reservation is how Hannah manages to get onto the Dandridge case with such ease but hey ho, it does lead to a darned good story! Overall, another gripping read from the talented Dervla McTiernan who has a way of effortlessly pulling you into the storytelling and keeping you there until the very end. With thanks to NetGalley and especially to HarperCollins, Harper Fiction for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: He knelt beside me, quite casually, and then he reached out his hands, put them around my neck, and started to choke me. I lashed out, tried to scratch him, gouge his eyes. He let go of my neck and I gasped for breath, but then he pulled me down until I was lying flat, straddled my body and knelt on my arms so I couldn't move them, couldn't fight him. He started to strangle me again. He was so much stronger than me. There was absolutely nothing I could do to stop him. He strangled me un EXCERPT: He knelt beside me, quite casually, and then he reached out his hands, put them around my neck, and started to choke me. I lashed out, tried to scratch him, gouge his eyes. He let go of my neck and I gasped for breath, but then he pulled me down until I was lying flat, straddled my body and knelt on my arms so I couldn't move them, couldn't fight him. He started to strangle me again. He was so much stronger than me. There was absolutely nothing I could do to stop him. He strangled me until I lost consciousness. When I woke up he was sitting beside me, looking down at me. 'I could kill you,' he said. 'Quite easily. I could take your body out to sea and dump you and no one would ever find you. But then, there might be questions, I suppose. Two deaths in such a short period of time, even if one of them is just little old you, might be problematic, even for the cops. So maybe I won't. I haven't decided.' ABOUT 'THE MURDER RULE': First Rule: Make them like you. Second Rule: Make them need you. Third Rule: Make them pay. They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system. They think I’m working hard to impress them. They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row. They're wrong. I’m going to bury him. MY THOUGHTS: Although this is totally different from McTiernan's previous work, it's no less gripping, no less enthralling. The story alternates between Hannah in the present (2019), and her mother Laura's diary entries from 1994, Laura's perfect summer. The year she fell in love. The year she found she was pregnant. The perfect summer, until . . . The build up is slow but intense as Hannah manipulates and inveigles her way into the Innocence Project. And I mean manipulates! She will stop at nothing to get where she wants to be. NOTHING! I was torn over this character. She's a complicated individual. I didn't like what she did, and couldn't condone her actions, but I understood why. Or I thought I did. Laura is an alcoholic, sly, deceitful and manipulative. You can see where Hannah learned from. Her diaries are very detailed and are a cry out for justice to be done. But there's something rotten in the state of Denmark, as they say. Lies, secrets, corruption and intimidation, not stopping short of violence, all rear their ugly heads. Hannah may have set out to seek revenge for what was done to her mother, but I bet she never thought she'd be putting her own life on the line in doing so. The Murder Rule is a book that has everything from psychological manipulation to a thrilling car chase. From its slow start it morphs into a breathtaking tale of danger and action. Tense, unsettling, clever and compelling. ⭐⭐⭐⭐.2 #TheMurderRule #NetGalley I: @dervlamctiernan @harpercollinsaustralia T: @DervlaMcTiernan @HarperCollinsAU #contemporaryfiction #crime #legalthriller #murdermystery #mystery #psychologicaldrama #suspense #thriller THE AUTHOR: Dervla spent twelve years working as a lawyer. Following the global financial crisis, she moved from Ireland to Australia and turned her hand to writing. Dervla is a member of the Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers Association, and lives in Perth, Australia, with her husband and two children. DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    2.5 stars This legal thriller revolves around, Hannah, a law student who joins the Innocence Project to aid in working a case of a wrongfully convicted man. I was interested and excited to read this as the premise held much potential. I generally love campus settings and am fascinated by wrongfully convicted cases. I tend to enjoy old journal entries scattered throughout novels slowly revealing pieces of the past which this one included. However, none of these elements worked for me in this book 2.5 stars This legal thriller revolves around, Hannah, a law student who joins the Innocence Project to aid in working a case of a wrongfully convicted man. I was interested and excited to read this as the premise held much potential. I generally love campus settings and am fascinated by wrongfully convicted cases. I tend to enjoy old journal entries scattered throughout novels slowly revealing pieces of the past which this one included. However, none of these elements worked for me in this book. From the very start, nothing felt real. The journal entries were there as a forced plot device to move the story forward and lacked any sort of genuine feel. So much of this story is built on unrealistic elements which kept me distanced and struggling to connect. I need to believe the stories I read could actually happen and that just wasn’t the case here. I struggled with the characters, especially the main character Hannah. I didn’t like her or find her root-worthy. She was selfish, arrogant and was able to conveniently (and unrealistically) manipulate any situation to her liking. Much of the dialogue lacked natural ease. My lack of connection to and investment in any of the characters kept me at a distance. Bottom line — I didn’t buy into this story or enjoy it but I am definitely the outlier, so I encourage you to read the many raving reviews on this title before making your decision to read it. Thank you to the publisher for my physical review copy!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    For me this was an okay book but definitely not up to this author's previously proven standard. I wondered why she had decided to set a legal thriller in America and whether she had researched their legal system fully because some of the events in the book seemed rather unlikely. Nevertheless there is a good story in there as long as you suspend belief and do not analyse what is happening too closely. Events unfold through a series of old diaries which tell Hannah how her mother, Laura, suffered For me this was an okay book but definitely not up to this author's previously proven standard. I wondered why she had decided to set a legal thriller in America and whether she had researched their legal system fully because some of the events in the book seemed rather unlikely. Nevertheless there is a good story in there as long as you suspend belief and do not analyse what is happening too closely. Events unfold through a series of old diaries which tell Hannah how her mother, Laura, suffered at the hands of Michael Dantridge. He is currently in prison but there appears to be a chance that the Innocence Project may be about to get his release. Hannah lies her way into a job on the Project in order to undermine this possibility and keep him locked up. There follows lots of lying and deceitfulness, a major twist which turns everything you have believed so far upside down and a reasonably satisfying ending. I was left with a feeling of not being quite sure about a number of points but I do not want to go into spoiler land, so I will accept that I liked the book but did not love it. My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Hannah Rokeby is a third year law student at the University of Maine. She lives with her single mother Laura, an alcoholic who suffered a traumatic event before Hannah was born and now drinks to numb the pain. When Hannah was fourteen, she found her mother’s diaries and read about the man who was her father and the man who abused her mother. That man, Michael Dandridge has served eleven years in prison on death row for the rape and murder of a young mother in Virginia. However, she recently disc Hannah Rokeby is a third year law student at the University of Maine. She lives with her single mother Laura, an alcoholic who suffered a traumatic event before Hannah was born and now drinks to numb the pain. When Hannah was fourteen, she found her mother’s diaries and read about the man who was her father and the man who abused her mother. That man, Michael Dandridge has served eleven years in prison on death row for the rape and murder of a young mother in Virginia. However, she recently discovered that the Innocence Project in Virginia is working to overturn his conviction. Through various ways and means Hannah manages to inveigle herself onto the team of law student volunteers at the University of Virginia who work on the Innocence Project under the leadership of Prof Robert Parekh. Only applications that fit three criteria are considered by the group.Firstly, the inmate must have been convicted of a crime in Virginia, secondly the conviction must be final with no ongoing appeals and thirdly the inmate must be claiming factual innocence of the crime. The students are required to assess the applications, including any new evidence and make a recommendation on the likelihood of being able to prove innocence. The budget is limited so the students are expected to investigate facts and follow up new evidence themselves. However, Hannah has clearly not joined the team for altruistic reasons and is only really interested in a single case, that of Michael Dandridge. She discovers that Michael is claiming that a false ‘confession’ was beaten out of him by the arresting Sherriff and that evidence pointing to an alternative suspect was withheld from the trial. If she is to find a way to prevent the overturn of his conviction, she must somehow first become part of the select group focusing on his case and find some way to undermine the investigation. This is an engaging and gripping tale of betrayal and corruption. Dervla McTiernan’s experience as a lawyer shows in the intriguing legal details and investigative leads that the students follow. Entries from Laura’s diary are interspersed with the narrative so that we learn what lead to Hannah’s desire that Michael should never be released. Hannah may not be a likeable character with her ability to lie and manipulate everyone, but she is certainly resourceful and courageous and it would be difficult to not to be on her side by the end of the novel. The novel’s pace is steady at first, picking up speed as the new trial draws closer and it becomes evident that other parties also have vested interests in the outcome of the trial, finally exploding into a tension packed thriller laced with danger for Hannah and others involved in the trial. While the final courtroom scenes might be stretching plausibility, they certainly made for a compelling and very satisfying ending. With thanks to William Morrow via Netgalley for a copy to read. Original review first published in Mystery and Suspense Magazine https://www.mysteryandsuspense.com/th...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    3.5 stars, rounded up I’m a big fan of Dervla McTiernan’s Cormac Reilly series, so I was curious to see what she’d do with her first stand-alone. Not only does she change characters, but this time the story is set in the US. Hannah Rokeby is the daughter of an alcoholic mother. Throughout her life, she’s been told her father was a rich young man that died before she was born. His family paid off her mother rather than have anything to do with them. And her mother’s diary led Hannah to believe tha 3.5 stars, rounded up I’m a big fan of Dervla McTiernan’s Cormac Reilly series, so I was curious to see what she’d do with her first stand-alone. Not only does she change characters, but this time the story is set in the US. Hannah Rokeby is the daughter of an alcoholic mother. Throughout her life, she’s been told her father was a rich young man that died before she was born. His family paid off her mother rather than have anything to do with them. And her mother’s diary led Hannah to believe that another young man was to blame for her father’s death. When she discovers that that man has been sitting in prison for 11 years, convicted of another crime which has been recently overturned, she cons her way onto the Innocence Project that is representing him. But nothing is as it seems. While this was an entertaining, fast paced story, it revolves around several moments that require a suspension of belief. Also, too many characters are cliches. (view spoiler)[ I also found the mother’s rationale to be inadequate. (hide spoiler)] That said, I didn’t see most of the twists and turns coming and was on the edge of my seat to see how it would all come together. I also found Hannah to be fully developed and a very interesting character. Not always sympathetic, but interesting. All three narrators did a fine job.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    That was anther winner from Dervla McTiernan. Law student Hannah Rokeby blags her way into a student associate position with the Innocence Project. Then she deviously manipulates things so that she is on the team working on the appeal for convicted murderer Michael Dandridge. The claim is that he had his confession beaten out of him and certain evidence that may have resulted in reasonable doubt was not presented to the court. Hannah, however, is on a personal mission. For years she has looked af That was anther winner from Dervla McTiernan. Law student Hannah Rokeby blags her way into a student associate position with the Innocence Project. Then she deviously manipulates things so that she is on the team working on the appeal for convicted murderer Michael Dandridge. The claim is that he had his confession beaten out of him and certain evidence that may have resulted in reasonable doubt was not presented to the court. Hannah, however, is on a personal mission. For years she has looked after her fragile, alcoholic mother, Laura. As a teenager she found and secretly read her mother’s diary. In it, Laura describes one summer of her life. She was working as a cleaner at a hotel but some of the cleaners had side hustles and she was invited along to clean one of the big mansions that the wealthy use for summer holidays. Two young men were staying there - Tom and Michael. Michael didn’t seem to like her very much but Tom was friendly and they soon started seeing each other, Laura having ditched the cleaning. She says the young men seemed to argue a lot. When the time came for them to leave, Tom decided to stay on another week with Laura and apparently Michael was furious. The next day Tom’s body is found near the jetty. It is deemed to be an accident - he was drunk, fell and hit his head and then drowned. Laura, however, is convinced that Michael killed him in a rage. Years later Michael Dandridge is convicted of the murder of Sarah Fitzhugh. Angry on her mother’s behalf, Hannah sets out to scupper any chance of having him released. The Innocence Project team go over all the evidence and speak to many witnesses in order to find something to exonerate Dandridge (of course Hannah is looking for the opposite). But what they find, what they slowly piece together is a surprise to everybody! This one has a real kick in the tail! It was a wonderful plot with believable and likeable characters, mostly. By the end of the story though nothing was as it seemed and everybody was questioning their assumptions. There was a brilliant twist at the end and it’s likely not what you were expecting. I enjoyed this story from the talented Ms McTiernan immensely. I received a free e-arc in exchange for an unbiased review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Law student, Hannah Rokeby quietly left the house, leaving a note for her mother Laura, knowing she would be upset she’d left, but also knowing she had no choice. Hannah had read Laura’s long-ago written diaries and knew about the man, Michael Dandridge, and what he’d done. Now Hannah was determined to join the Innocence Project in Virginia, who were working to free Dandridge from prison where he’d spent eleven years. Hannah would work hard to impress Professor Robert Parekh, the boss of the pro Law student, Hannah Rokeby quietly left the house, leaving a note for her mother Laura, knowing she would be upset she’d left, but also knowing she had no choice. Hannah had read Laura’s long-ago written diaries and knew about the man, Michael Dandridge, and what he’d done. Now Hannah was determined to join the Innocence Project in Virginia, who were working to free Dandridge from prison where he’d spent eleven years. Hannah would work hard to impress Professor Robert Parekh, the boss of the project, so she was trusted. Then she would find a way to stop the release of Dandridge… Hannah’s lies and deceit saw her join Sean and Camilla who were working on Dandridge’s case and Parekh was happy with what they were doing. But corruption and betrayal was everywhere. Would Hannah be able to do what she set out to do? And with the danger all around, what would be the outcome? The Murder Rule is a standalone novel by Aussie author Dervla McTiernan and it didn’t really work for me. After reading and loving the Cormac Reilly series I guess I expected something along the same lines. And I must admit to not being a great fan of legal thrillers, which this is. That said, for all her antics, I did feel for Hannah. The big twist at the end made for a satisfying conclusion. Recommended for fans of the genre. With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    4★ “HANNAH – Sunday, August 25, 2019 Because of the diary, Hannah knew exactly what had happened to Laura, and she knew exactly who was to blame. ======= LAURA DIARY ENTRY #1 Saturday, July 9, 1994, 9:00 p.m. Writing in a diary is a habit you’re supposed to grow out of. Starting one now, at nineteen . . . I’m like the girl who brings her My Little Pony collection to her college dorm.” We’re not in Ireland anymore! McTiernan has written an American mystery about a young woman who found diaries written 4★ “HANNAH – Sunday, August 25, 2019 Because of the diary, Hannah knew exactly what had happened to Laura, and she knew exactly who was to blame. ======= LAURA DIARY ENTRY #1 Saturday, July 9, 1994, 9:00 p.m. Writing in a diary is a habit you’re supposed to grow out of. Starting one now, at nineteen . . . I’m like the girl who brings her My Little Pony collection to her college dorm.” We’re not in Ireland anymore! McTiernan has written an American mystery about a young woman who found diaries written by her alcoholic mother, Laura. Only fourteen when she found them, Hannah read her mother’s story of how she became pregnant by one man and was abused by another. The abuser was jailed 11 years ago for murder, but the Innocence Project thinks his conviction should be overturned. This enthusiastic group of law student volunteers is determined to get him released. Hannah is a law student in Maine and reads about this. She's furious, so she writes to the head of the Innocence Project in Virginia, to wangle her way into their team. I use the word “wangle”, although her methods are a little more persuasive than that. Hannah is a doer – she gets things done. As far as she’s concerned, he’s paying for what he did to her mother and should continue to pay. Who cares how he was convicted? She arrives and sees how frantic the pace is and how many cases there are that students - students! - are sifting through to see which convictions they think were unjust. The boss explains. “Here at the Project, we are not the police and we are not the FBI. We have a very limited budget to pay investigators. I need students who are imaginative, inventive, and willing to be creative when it comes to pursuing our cases. Working here does not mean sitting behind a desk drafting motions—our staff attorneys take care of that. We need students to do the hard grind of investigating facts and tracking down new evidence. If you could be as dogged with that as you were with that as you were with trying to get a place here, maybe you could be of use to me.” They have several reasons for having selected this convict, so it is going to be quite a feat for Hannah to earn the trust of the group, while privately trying to foil their crusade to prove him innocent. It makes for compelling reading. Laura’s ten diary entries are interspersed through the first half of the book. They are often several pages long and written in italics, which makes it easy to differentiate from the main story. Laura’s voice is different from Hannah’s as well. In her diaries, she sounds young, impressionable, naïve, and in love. Today, she fluctuates between complaining bitterly and sobbing pitifully. She is so dependent on Hannah that Hannah feels tremendous guilt going to Virginia. Don’t be fooled when the story seems to slow down a little in the middle and you think you know where it is going. It isn’t. It becomes a thriller. They have a very short deadline to appeal the case, necessitating some interstate travel and questionable investigating. After the last few years of political and pandemic news, I'm not going to quibble about reality. I’m happy to suspend disbelief for the sake of a good yarn. I also have no idea how accurate the legal side of the story is, but I did want to know what came next. “The courtroom settled again into tense, anticipatory silence. Hannah was painfully aware that every person in the courtroom was focused on her and on what she might say next.” In spite of whatever artistic licence McTiernan found necessary for the telling, I enjoyed this story. I think she is probably going to appeal to a wider audience with this one, although I missed her usual Irish landscape, and I wish she would try an Aussie one. Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the preview copy from which I’ve quoted.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kylie H

    First up, this is not part of the Cormac Reilly series so don't expect it to be the same. Next, for a lot of the book I found the main character Hannah not very likeable. The plot was initially quite frustrating but as it moved on the motives of Hannah became clearer. As I progressed it became harder and harder to put the book down, In short Hannah leaves Maine University to temporarily join a Uni in Virginia so she can participate in the Innocence Project, a program for law students where they ta First up, this is not part of the Cormac Reilly series so don't expect it to be the same. Next, for a lot of the book I found the main character Hannah not very likeable. The plot was initially quite frustrating but as it moved on the motives of Hannah became clearer. As I progressed it became harder and harder to put the book down, In short Hannah leaves Maine University to temporarily join a Uni in Virginia so she can participate in the Innocence Project, a program for law students where they take on cases of prisoners with a life or death sentence and review the evidence for a wrongful conviction. When Hannah joins the team they are about to launch a retrial for a man who has already served eleven years for rape and murder. Hannah is doing everything she can to get a heads up on the case and will stop at nothing to ensure she becomes a part of it. However she reaches a point where she realises that her lying is starting to really impact on the lives of those around her. There are some significant twists in the story and I found the ending most satisfying. Happy to recommend this book, thank you Netgalley and Harper Collins Australia for the opportunity to review this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    Absolutely loved it! The Murder Rule took over my entire afternoon, once I started reading it everything else was pushed aside. I really enjoyed Dervla’s Cormac Reilly series so I knew that I would be in for a great story. This stand alone thriller, this time set in the US, was easily as much of a page turner. We met a young law student, Hannah just before she leaves home in a mission. She has found her mothers diary and learned what happened to her when she was younger. The man who abused her ha Absolutely loved it! The Murder Rule took over my entire afternoon, once I started reading it everything else was pushed aside. I really enjoyed Dervla’s Cormac Reilly series so I knew that I would be in for a great story. This stand alone thriller, this time set in the US, was easily as much of a page turner. We met a young law student, Hannah just before she leaves home in a mission. She has found her mothers diary and learned what happened to her when she was younger. The man who abused her has been in prison for 11 years but she has discovered that the Innocence Project at a university in Virginia is working on a case to have him released as he is claiming innocence. She is determined to infiltrate them and throw a spammer in the works. And she will stop at nothing to have her way, It is a fast paced and compelling read that I just couldn’t not stop reading. I loved Hannah and her strength and sense of family. It is a wild ride and I highly recommend. Thanks to Harper Collins Australia for my advanced copy of this book to read. Grab it May 4th.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 Hannah needed to do three things. She needed to get hired by the Innocence project, then assigned to a particular case and next to derail a verdict. The reasons why lie in her mother's diary, entries which are shown between chapters. But....well there's always a but and let's just say there are often detours to the truth. I !over this authors Cormac series, set in Ireland. This one is set in Virginia, a little disappointing, but knowing how well this author can put together a story, made this 3.5 Hannah needed to do three things. She needed to get hired by the Innocence project, then assigned to a particular case and next to derail a verdict. The reasons why lie in her mother's diary, entries which are shown between chapters. But....well there's always a but and let's just say there are often detours to the truth. I !over this authors Cormac series, set in Ireland. This one is set in Virginia, a little disappointing, but knowing how well this author can put together a story, made this for me a must read. It was suspenseful and though I didn't exactly take to Hannah right away, by books end that had changed. Good insight into how the innocence project in various locations run and how they determine the cases they take. Many fakes and fades, red herrings made this a quick moving read. There was one question mark presented in the legal case that I found perplexing. Not a legal scholar, but not sure if this was a misstep to benefit the story, or if this presentation of evidence is legally allowed. Still, I enjoyed it, but hope her next is set back in Ireland with Cormac. Listened to the audio which had three different narrators and thought they all preformed well. ARC by netgalley.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Chu (The ChuseyReader)

    DNF so not putting a rating on this for now. Ive got about 3 hours left but I just can't pay attention! Maybe I'll try pick this up again later. I was expecting a morally grey character that I felt conflicted to root for. For a clever chess game, to calculate every move to hide Hannah's true intentions. But I didn't get any of that. It felt too unrealistic to let students run a case and I just couldn't get into it. DNF so not putting a rating on this for now. Ive got about 3 hours left but I just can't pay attention! Maybe I'll try pick this up again later. I was expecting a morally grey character that I felt conflicted to root for. For a clever chess game, to calculate every move to hide Hannah's true intentions. But I didn't get any of that. It felt too unrealistic to let students run a case and I just couldn't get into it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I was so excited to read this! I listened to the audiobook and read the physical copy and it did not live up to what I thought it would. The narrator did a good job but I was bored both with the audiobook as well as the physical copy. I could not connect with the characters or the story and I just couldn’t wait until it was over.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    3.5 stars rounded down. This is one of those books that I loved the first half of the book, but the last half was such a letdown for me that it made me forget just how much I loved the first part of the book. Hannah is a third-year law student at UMaine Law with an agenda. She leaves Maine and shows up at the University of Virginia law school to garner a highly sought after position with The Innocence Project. She does so by essentially blackmailing the lead attorney in the organization. From th 3.5 stars rounded down. This is one of those books that I loved the first half of the book, but the last half was such a letdown for me that it made me forget just how much I loved the first part of the book. Hannah is a third-year law student at UMaine Law with an agenda. She leaves Maine and shows up at the University of Virginia law school to garner a highly sought after position with The Innocence Project. She does so by essentially blackmailing the lead attorney in the organization. From there, she quickly does what it takes to land herself a spot on the high-profile death row case of Michael Dandridge. Hannah is beyond conniving - she isn't there in a pursuit of innocence, she's there to ensure that Dandridge stays behind bars and that she exacts revenge on him for something that happened to her mother, Laura, back in 1994. The more Hannah immerses herself in the Dandridge case, the more blurred the lines become, and more questions than answers come to light. First of all, this is a fast, engaging read with so much potential, but unfortunately, there is a lot (and I mean A LOT!) of belief that must be suspended in regard to the legal aspects of this book - and that was difficult for me. There were so many times I was scratching my head as the scenarios would NEVER play out the way McTiernan detailed. The story is told in dual timelines - Hannah in 2019, and her mother's diary in 1994. I really liked the 1994 diary entries - it was a unique way to unveil the storyline and it worked well. It's not that I disliked the 2019 storyline, but I just didn't love Hannah's character. Her character was uber shifty and edgy (but not in a good way), and her actions were a huge reach i.e. she shows up finagling for a position at the Innocence Project but no one there bothers to check to see if she's actually even enrolled at UVA law school. Okay .... Also, her courtroom actions near the end were way too 1980's Perry Mason and just not realistic. I also agree with other reviewers who have said that the relationship between Hannah and her mother just didn't fit the narrative, so to speak. And the ending was a complete miss for me. Overall, a few too many plot holes to be a 4 or 5-star read for me, but it is still a compelling story with a few good twists. P.S. I may have found it in my heart to round up to 4 stars, but for the inexplicable hating on UMaine Law. 🤷‍♀️😂

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shannon M

    Will the real Dervla McTiernan stand up? I loved her Cormac Reilly trilogy and, in fact, rated “The Ruin” as one of the best books I’d read this year. Then I got THE MURDER RULE (from the library) and can’t believe that the same author wrote both. Not only is the writing level of THE MURDER RULE juvenile — Harlequin-level writing — but the plotting and characterization are poorly developed. Several reviewers have mentioned that they find the main protagonist, Hannah, irritating. I didn’t find he Will the real Dervla McTiernan stand up? I loved her Cormac Reilly trilogy and, in fact, rated “The Ruin” as one of the best books I’d read this year. Then I got THE MURDER RULE (from the library) and can’t believe that the same author wrote both. Not only is the writing level of THE MURDER RULE juvenile — Harlequin-level writing — but the plotting and characterization are poorly developed. Several reviewers have mentioned that they find the main protagonist, Hannah, irritating. I didn’t find her as disturbing as some readers, but I didn’t understand her motivation; it simply didn’t ring true. But more notably, I was unable to grasp the motivations of either Hannah’s mother, Laura, or or the primary villain (the sheriff). These motivations originated in family relationships that would not lead to such intense revenge in America. Maybe in Ireland (the author’s home country) family relationships mean more than they do in the United States. In truth, the author has no understanding of America at all, and I can’t understand why she would try to set her latest book in the U.S. Unless a ghost writer wrote either the the Cormac Reilly trilogy or THE MURDER RULE. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My reviews for other novels by Dervla Mctiernan, books that I enjoyed reading: The Ruin The Scholar The Good Turn ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  19. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4 innocent stars -- now available! My first read from this author and it’s a good one! I loved the premise, a young law student starts volunteering at the Innocence Project at University of Virginia, for very personal reasons. Hannah has a connection to one of the cases the group is working on, and she strategically figures out a way to join the defense team. None of them know that she is sabotaging their efforts due to a past crime that horribly impacted her mother, Laura. As the team investigates 4 innocent stars -- now available! My first read from this author and it’s a good one! I loved the premise, a young law student starts volunteering at the Innocence Project at University of Virginia, for very personal reasons. Hannah has a connection to one of the cases the group is working on, and she strategically figures out a way to join the defense team. None of them know that she is sabotaging their efforts due to a past crime that horribly impacted her mother, Laura. As the team investigates evidence and conducts interviews, Hannah gets even closer to the case. The stakes are high in this one and I had to pay attention to keep up! This one was suspenseful, and I wondered if Hannah would ultimately be successful in her quest to find justice for her mother. The story alternates as we get Laura’s side of the story through a diary that she kept. This one is filled with secrets and deception. There were definitely a few twists that I didn’t see coming and I would read this author again! This one made for a perfect buddy read with Jayme. My thanks to the Scene of the Crime Early Read program and William Morrow/Harper Collins for providing a gifted ARC.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    2.5 stars. Legal thrillers are always on a tricky footing with me because I know too much about the legal system. Usually they make an effort to do their research and while I can tell when they are bending the rules for the sake of the story, I make allowances. But really, a good legal thriller should try its best to work within the framework, it's like a sonnet, when you play within the rulebook and pull it off, it's quite lovely. Here, at first it seemed like perhaps McTiernan had done her res 2.5 stars. Legal thrillers are always on a tricky footing with me because I know too much about the legal system. Usually they make an effort to do their research and while I can tell when they are bending the rules for the sake of the story, I make allowances. But really, a good legal thriller should try its best to work within the framework, it's like a sonnet, when you play within the rulebook and pull it off, it's quite lovely. Here, at first it seemed like perhaps McTiernan had done her research, and every now and then she throws out a term or principle that is in fact real, but otherwise this is absolutely ridiculous and it nearly drove me to distraction. It's unfortunate (for me and this book) that this book also falls into a particular intersection of law that I have experience with so I could see all the things that didn't make sense with an extra level of clarity. But I don't think you need to be a former criminal lawyer to know that no one would send a couple of law students out by themselves to interview absolutely crucial witnesses. This is the sin the book commits constantly. And like the other ridiculous things it pretends are reasonable, it happens because the book is built on a rather teetering foundation. This is one of those books where it's all the concept and everything else that happens is in service to the concept. I would be more forgiving if it were a better concept but it's also a rather silly one. I have been on the fence about a few of McTiernan's previous novels, but I liked THE SCHOLAR so much that I keep coming back. I was excited to see a standalone from her, but this just did nothing for me. If it had been another author that I didn't have high hopes for, I wouldn't have finished it. As it was, at a certain point I knew this book was not going to get better so I kept at it partly just to be done and partly to see just how much worse it could get. Unfortunately it ended with a courtroom scene so preposterous it might as well have been in an old episode of Perry Mason. I am sure a lot of thriller readers will enjoy this very much. It has some twists and plays with a double narrative. But I suspect many of them will be annoyed by the resolutions and see too many of the twists coming to really enjoy it. Hannah, our primary narrator, starts the book out so high and mighty, so obviously biased in her judgments of everyone around her, that her upcoming character arc is basically laid at our feet. And finally this commits one of the major sins many thrillers commit these days: being about an actual problem in the criminal justice system but ignoring the realities of that problem entirely. Which is why this book is about an innocence project case for a white man who was rich for most of his life before prison. And presents potential law enforcement corruption as an over the top outrageous scandal instead of an actual systemic problem. (For other thrillers that don't do this I recommend Tiffany D. Jackson for starters.) Content warnings for multiple sexual assaults and violence.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    This is quite different to the previous books by Dervla McTiernan, the Cormac Reilly books set in Ireland. The Murder Rule is a legal thriller set in the US and it’s a tense and compelling read. Hannah is difficult to like from the start. A law student, she effectively blackmails her way into a position on the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia, a program that looks into last ditch efforts to free wrongly convicted prisoners. It’s clear she’s on a mission of some kind and it has som This is quite different to the previous books by Dervla McTiernan, the Cormac Reilly books set in Ireland. The Murder Rule is a legal thriller set in the US and it’s a tense and compelling read. Hannah is difficult to like from the start. A law student, she effectively blackmails her way into a position on the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia, a program that looks into last ditch efforts to free wrongly convicted prisoners. It’s clear she’s on a mission of some kind and it has something to do with her mother, Laura now an alcoholic. Interspersed through Hannah’s narrative are excerpts of Laura’s diary from the early 90s when she was a maid at a hotel in Maine and also cleaned rich people’s houses. Once the story gets going it’s difficult to put down. It’s a complex plot yet it works and I enjoyed the twists and turns.

  22. 4 out of 5

    chantalsbookstuff

    At 14 Hannah Rokeby found her Mother's old diary. She uncovers a secret about a man called Michael Dandridge. In the present, Hannah is determined to join the Innocence Project in Virginia. She is hoping to join the legal team who will represent Michael for a crime committed and to make sure he never goes free. I do like legal thrillers, but they have to grip me and flow quickly. This one started off fast and then lost some pace in the middle. Although Hannah was not my favorite character I did At 14 Hannah Rokeby found her Mother's old diary. She uncovers a secret about a man called Michael Dandridge. In the present, Hannah is determined to join the Innocence Project in Virginia. She is hoping to join the legal team who will represent Michael for a crime committed and to make sure he never goes free. I do like legal thrillers, but they have to grip me and flow quickly. This one started off fast and then lost some pace in the middle. Although Hannah was not my favorite character I did admire her "grab and hold" side. She was so determined to uncover the truth. I also liked how she found a new set of friends and finally found her purpose. I found that the ending really pulled this one across the finish line. It was full of twists and very satisfying. Thank you Netgalley and HarperCollins UK Audio for this ARC.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Author of the Cormac Reilly series, Dervla McTiernan has released a new standalone thriller - The Murder Rule. Promoted as a mother-daughter suspense story, it’s a legal thriller set in the actual existing University of Virginia Law School. Hannah is a law student who volunteers for the Innocence Project Clinic after transferring from Maine to be near her mother undergoing a clinical trial for cancer sufferers. Working on overturning wrongful convictions, the Project Team is working to stop the Author of the Cormac Reilly series, Dervla McTiernan has released a new standalone thriller - The Murder Rule. Promoted as a mother-daughter suspense story, it’s a legal thriller set in the actual existing University of Virginia Law School. Hannah is a law student who volunteers for the Innocence Project Clinic after transferring from Maine to be near her mother undergoing a clinical trial for cancer sufferers. Working on overturning wrongful convictions, the Project Team is working to stop the Dandridge case at its Preliminary Hearing. As the team explores all avenues, there is a glitch in the filings and other complications requiring additional follow up. Hannah’s involvement is no coincidence and the role her mother plays is revealed through her diary entries that Hannah reads. The tension mounts and the ulterior motives of those involved are brought into question, culminating in the finale with a decisive court hearing. The flowing narrative, subtle edgy drama and nuance law question of guilt or innocence, makes this a first-class legal thriller with a five-star rating. With thanks to Harper Collins Publishers Australia and the author, for an uncorrected advanced copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own and freely given without obligation.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Review coming soon.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The Murder Rule is a standalone suspense-thriller, from Irish-Australian author Dervla McTiernan, probably best known up to this point for her series featuring Garda Síochána detective Cormac Reilly. The story follows Maine law student Hannah Rokeby, as she manipulates her way onto the highly-selective University of Virginia Innocence Project. (Many such organisations exist around the world, and operate with the aim of providing legal and investigative services for selected individuals seeking to The Murder Rule is a standalone suspense-thriller, from Irish-Australian author Dervla McTiernan, probably best known up to this point for her series featuring Garda Síochána detective Cormac Reilly. The story follows Maine law student Hannah Rokeby, as she manipulates her way onto the highly-selective University of Virginia Innocence Project. (Many such organisations exist around the world, and operate with the aim of providing legal and investigative services for selected individuals seeking to prove their innocence of crimes for which they have been wrongly convicted). However, unlike her Project colleagues, Hannah's motives aren't altruistic, idealistic or even based around bolstering her own employability post-law school. She's motivated purely by thoughts of revenge, and is fully prepared to undertake any skulduggery necessary to achieve her aim. The UVA Innocence Project's current big case is that of Michael Dandridge, a man who has spent 11 years in prison for the rape-murder of Yorktown mother of two Sarah Fitzhugh in 2007. New evidence of prosecutorial misconduct has recently come to light, and Dandridge's case has been sent for retrial. He protests his innocence, claiming that a false confession was beaten out of him by Sheriff Jerome Pierce, and that a witness identification - by the victim's then-8-year-old son - was wrong. Unfortunately, the friend who might have been able to provide Dandridge with an alibi seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. The story employs a dual timeline narrative, alternating between Hannah's exploits in the novel's 2019 present and a series of diary entries made by her mother, Laura, during the summer of 1994. By this means, we gradually learn the link between Hannah, Laura and Michael, and the reasons that justify her determination to prevent him from being released. However, as Hannah dives deeper into Michael's alleged crimes and gains a greater appreciation for what her Innocence Project colleagues are trying to achieve, she finds herself beginning to question what is reality and what is illusion. Her repeated investigative trips backwards and forth across Virginia, from Charlottesville to Yorktown, to the Greensville Correctional Centre, morph into a journey of discovery and ultimately an attempt at redemption for the self-righteous Hannah. I found The Murder Rule a taut and multi-layered mystery, an engrossing read with a thrilling conclusion. A courtroom scene which draws the threads together is perhaps more than a little far-fetched, but I was willing to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story. Hannah is a complex character, and is difficult to like in many respects, given her blatantly dishonest activity in attempting to undermine the Innocence Project's defence of Michael Dandridge. However, as more details of her upbringing emerge, the reader can at least understand her rationale, if not her methods. The supporting cast of characters are varied and intriguing, from Hannah's student colleagues to her supervising professor, her demanding alcoholic mother to an almost cartoonishly-evil town Sheriff. I'd recommend The Murder Rule to readers who enjoy contemporary crime fiction with strongly character-driven plot threads. However, fans of Dervla McTiernan's Irish-set Cormac Reilly series should be aware, before launching into The Murder Rule, that this is a very different beast indeed. While there are some common themes around police corruption and the re-consideration of old crimes, the setting and style of The Murder Rule struck me as distinctly American in flavour, and perhaps lacking the subtlety of McTiernan's earlier work. My thanks to the author, Dervla McTiernan, publisher HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction, and NetGalley (UK) for the opportunity to read and review this intriguing title.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    2.5 I want to start this review by saying that I read an earlier review of this by someone I trust (and is much wiser on the topic than I) and I went against my better judgment and read this anyway. I should have just went with my gut and skipped it. I want to say I read the review in February or March (the review was written in January) and I did my best to delay reading the book so I could forget the review I read and go in as blind as possible. The only thread my brain maintained from reading 2.5 I want to start this review by saying that I read an earlier review of this by someone I trust (and is much wiser on the topic than I) and I went against my better judgment and read this anyway. I should have just went with my gut and skipped it. I want to say I read the review in February or March (the review was written in January) and I did my best to delay reading the book so I could forget the review I read and go in as blind as possible. The only thread my brain maintained from reading the review all those months ago was that law students would never be allowed to interview major witnesses in the way this book portrayed. I began the book remembering and willing to overlook this point. I mean, it's fiction. Some things I am comfortable forgiving authenticity because it's not real life. What I'm not willing to forgive is blatant untruths. Most of the last half was just me scratching my head. This book is very popular with a lot of my book friends and I'm glad they all enjoyed it. I cannot get past the end. I am being deliberately vague because I don't want to spoil it for future readers, but the end is crazy to me. I listened to the audio of this book and I really enjoyed the narration. If I had read the book I probably would have DNF, but I felt invested in the audio and wanted to see how it ended. This started at a 4 star, got to a 3 star and the end knocked that down even more. I think this held a lot of promise, the premise was intriguing and I think this could have been a great book. Unfortunately, parts were so preposterous that it just wasn't for me. Many thanks to William Morrow for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. Review Date: 06/13/2022 Publication Date: 05/10/2022

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea | thrillerbookbabe

    Thank you so much to Dervla McTiernan and William Morrow for my copy of The Murder Rule. Both the cover and the title grabbed my interest immediately. The book is about law student who has found her mother's diary and read it to learn about her history. She learns a man that abused her and is in prison is at risk of being let out by the Innocence Project soon. Hannah decides to infiltrate the group and make sure that her mother's abuser is not allowed to go free. Thoughts: I guess you could call Thank you so much to Dervla McTiernan and William Morrow for my copy of The Murder Rule. Both the cover and the title grabbed my interest immediately. The book is about law student who has found her mother's diary and read it to learn about her history. She learns a man that abused her and is in prison is at risk of being let out by the Innocence Project soon. Hannah decides to infiltrate the group and make sure that her mother's abuser is not allowed to go free. Thoughts: I guess you could call this a legal thriller, but it's much more legal than thriller. I really enjoyed the way the story was told in both the present and through diary entries. It is not always easy to weave past and present together, and I think the author did a good job with this. I liked Hannah as a main character and related to her strong bond with her family. The writing in this book was not my style and didn't leave much to the imagination. It seemed that the author really just wanted to tell us everything to think, instead of letting us fill in the gaps with imagination. There was a bit too much irrelevant information and too many tangents for my taste. The ending was too far fetched and left me feeling frustrated. 3-stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    I don´t understand why she felt the need to venture into what´s clearly US crime writers' territory re plot,setting and characters;she can´t pull it off. Where to start? Nothing, absolutely nothing, works here. Not the characters (cardboard), not the plot (absolutelly silly),not the writing (clunky),not even the title (which has abosolutely nothing to do with the plot) I loved The Ruin, didn´t care much for The Scholar, loved The Good Turn, so maybe I should just read the odd books by this author I don´t understand why she felt the need to venture into what´s clearly US crime writers' territory re plot,setting and characters;she can´t pull it off. Where to start? Nothing, absolutely nothing, works here. Not the characters (cardboard), not the plot (absolutelly silly),not the writing (clunky),not even the title (which has abosolutely nothing to do with the plot) I loved The Ruin, didn´t care much for The Scholar, loved The Good Turn, so maybe I should just read the odd books by this author ;)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

    *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr **4.5 stars** The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan. (2022). **Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review; published 4 May 2022** No one is innocent in this story… First rule: make them like you. Second rule: make them need you. Third rule: make them pay. They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system. They thin *www.onewomansbbr.wordpress.com *www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr **4.5 stars** The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan. (2022). **Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review; published 4 May 2022** No one is innocent in this story… First rule: make them like you. Second rule: make them need you. Third rule: make them pay. They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system. They think I’m working hard to impress them. They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row. They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him… If you’ve read this author’s previous books (the popular Cormac Reilly series – I highly recommend), you’ll almost feel like someone else has written this novel – the writing style and tone is completely different. That could be positive, negative or irrelevant depending on your preferences. For me it was irrelevant as I really enjoyed this standalone thriller. It was modern, gripping and entertaining. Hannah has transferred universities and joined ‘the Innocence Project’, with a determined focus on the case of criminal Michael. It is slowly revealed why Hannah is doing this, with journal entries from her mother Laura explaining the history and motivation. However nothing is as it seems and Hannah quickly becomes immersed in a complex web of lies, secrets and betrayals. Overall: happily and highly recommend this thriller for anyone who enjoys an addictive mystery suspense story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    The Murder Rule is the fourth novel by award-winning, best-selling Australian author, Dervla McTiernan. Law student Hannah Rokeby leaves her mother Laura in Orono, Maine and travels to Charlottesville, Virginia to study for a semester at UVA. She has a convincing cover story and manages to get herself a trial position with The Innocence Project. Professor Robert Parekh takes her on despite her fairly blatant attempt to blackmail him into it, but she will have to prove her dedication to the cause The Murder Rule is the fourth novel by award-winning, best-selling Australian author, Dervla McTiernan. Law student Hannah Rokeby leaves her mother Laura in Orono, Maine and travels to Charlottesville, Virginia to study for a semester at UVA. She has a convincing cover story and manages to get herself a trial position with The Innocence Project. Professor Robert Parekh takes her on despite her fairly blatant attempt to blackmail him into it, but she will have to prove her dedication to the cause. Parekh’s intimate team of three students is faced with an urgent case preparation: their latest client, Michael Dandridge, having served eleven years for the rape and murder of Sarah Fitzhugh in Yorktown is, due to certain technicalities, about to face trial once again. Within days, Hannah has manipulated the situation to her advantage, becoming one of Rob’s team. What isn’t apparent to anyone on the team is that Hannah is not there to help prove Michael ’s innocence; rather, she wants to see him incarcerated for as long as possible, and to this end, sets about surreptitiously sabotaging their efforts; she knows something about Michael Dandridge that they don’t. Laura Rokeby’s journal from 1994, the year she worked as a maid in a Seal Harbor Hotel, describes her summer love affair with a rich young man, an affair that ends with a shocking tragedy. McTiernan’s first stand-alone novel has a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing right up to those jaw-dropping reveals. The felony murder laws and the inner workings of the Innocence Project add interest, and very little suspension of disbelief is required with this intriguing page-turner. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Harper Collins

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