27 July 2022

Review: THE MURDER RULE, Dervla McTiernan

Synopsis (publisher)

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.

My Take

Hannah Rokeby finds a way to blackmail her way into the Innocence Project being conducted by the Law faculty of the University of Virginia despite the fact that the official application period has concluded and candidates have already been chosen. The Innocence Project works with death row prisoners and others who appear to have been wrongfully convicted. Initially the Associate Professor in charge of the Innocence Project tells her that applications are closed but then Hannah reminds him of some "personal mentoring" that he gave to a female student, and he agrees to meet with her.

Hannah's determination wins her a place on the project, but unlike most other students who are there to prove a convicted criminal's innocence, Hannah is there to prove someone's guilt and to impede the project. Hannah has been primed for this role by her mother's diary which she believes proves that this particular criminal killed her father. This is not the crime for which he is on death row.

Normally students new to the Innocence Project would work only on entry level cases until they were able to prove their abilities at research, but Hannah is able to put the project director into a position where he can't ignore her.

This new stand-alone thriller by McTiernan takes us into an area of US law that most of us would not be familiar with. I wasn't entirely convinced that the sequence of events in the latter pages of the story were credible, but certainly the plot held together, and the characters were believable.   A clever piece of writing.

My rating: 4.6

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