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Review: The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

on February 24, 2020

The Good Turn (Cormac Reilly #3)
Dervla McTiernan
Harper Collins AUS
2020, 382p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

The unputdownable new novel from the bestselling author of The Ruin and The Scholar. Police corruption, an investigation that ends in tragedy and the mystery of a little girl’s silence – three unconnected events that will prove to be linked by one small town.

While Detective Cormac Reilly faces enemies at work and trouble in his personal life, Garda Peter Fisher is relocated out of Galway with the threat of prosecution hanging over his head. But even that is not as terrible as having to work for his overbearing father, the local copper for the pretty seaside town of Roundstone.

For some, like Anna and her young daughter Tilly, Roundstone is a refuge from trauma. But even this village on the edge of the sea isn’t far enough to escape from the shadows of evil men.

This series is amazing.

Three books deep now and each book is an incredible story on its own but combined they are shaping a police organisation overrun by corruption. Cormac Reilly is still in a precarious position – he’s not popular in his Galway station, and his personal situation has changed too. Cormac doesn’t have the warmth of home to balance the days at work where he’s frustrated and stonewalled at every turn when he tries to ask his boss for extra resources.

This book starts with a child abduction, witnessed only by another child. Cormac finds himself with a skeleton staff, everyone else borrowed for a task force doing surveillance on a major drug operation. Although he begs for a few more men, he is refused and he and the few remaining he does have, have to do their best in order to get to the bottom of what happened and hopefully find this child before they are harmed…or worse.

What happens results in Peter Fisher, one of the officers on the case, faced with an impossible choice. Manipulated into a country posting while ‘things blow over’, he will be overseen by his estranged father, something that shouldn’t even be allowed. Peter’s father instructs him to tidy up some paperwork of a case he believes is cut and dried but when Peter looks at it, he sees things that require further investigation. It doesn’t endear him to his father and it isn’t the lay low and stay quiet he’s been told to do, but this is his job and he has firm ideas about how to do it. Peter’s father warns him that if he wants to get back to his previous posting, he’s going to have to change the way he does things, the people he allows to influence him. In other words, he’s going to have to burn Cormac Reilly, before the association with Cormac Reilly burns him.

There is so much going on in this book – there’s the kidnapping case and trying to race against the clock to solve that, with the limited information they have. There’s the drug task force and what they’re up to and how Cormac Reilly’s begging for resources and his ‘rubbing people the wrong way’ is making things incredibly difficult for not just him, but also the few he still has working with him. In this book, I don’t think Cormac has ever been lower. He’s sort of impervious a lot of the time, to how people feel about him and what he does realise, he never seems to really care that much. He is focused on doing the job and if he steps on a few toes and burns a few bridges, well that’s just part of it. As long as he gets the people he needs and the freedom to work how he wishes, I’m not sure he really seems to mind the rest. There are people that do respect Cormac, even if they don’t know him enough to like him but a lot of people do resent him, wonder why he came to Galway and consider him to think that he’s above them all. After the happenings of the previous novel, Cormac no longer has an external presence as a buffer. He’s very solitary at times, although he knows people to call on when he desperately needs it. And the deeper he gets into things going wrong, the more backlash that he receives, the less it looks likely that he’ll have a career coming out of this, which means that he has no idea what to do. Then there’s Peter and his situation – the more he looks into things in the small town he’s been banished to, the more he thinks that there’s definitely something going on. His father’s way of policing is not always for him…and Peter’s way of policing isn’t always for his father either. But despite their differences, the two do manage to learn something from each other, about their different methods. And then there’s Anna and her situation and you wonder how she fits in…what she’s fleeing from and why.

I have enjoyed the previous two books in this series a lot – but for me, this is the best yet. I am loathe to throw this term around, but I kind of have to – it’s the perfect crime novel. It’s politics hindering an investigation in a myriad of ways, it’s some of the best policing in difficult situations, it’s dedication and determination despite all the roadblocks. It’s a monumental f*ck up that leads to a disaster, that makes people question themselves and their abilities more than once. Cormac has never felt so in the gun as he was in this book and you can see the toll it’s taking on him, even though he’s a stoic sort of person that doesn’t seem particularly given to self-pity and dwelling on the negatives. It’s hard not to in this case but he just keeps going. He knows that there’s things going on that he absolutely cannot stand by and allow to happen and even when suspended, he keeps investigating, keeps digging until he has what he needs and he can try and put things in motion to stop it. And then he gets one-upped but he still doesn’t give up. I really got into his head in this one I think, even though a huge portion of the narrative is Peter’s. All of the separate stories came together really well…effortlessly actually. This series is just incredibly well plotted and researched and just…..hugely, hugely good. I was gripped by this, I didn’t want it to end even though I wanted the answers so badly and to see everything come to light. The only thing is, now I have to wait for the next one.


Book #28 of 2020

The Good Turn is book #12 for my participation in the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2020

7 responses to “Review: The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernan

  1. Marg says:

    Best yet is a big call! Going to have to read this soon!

  2. […] 1girl2manybooks said “I was gripped by this, I didn’t want it to end even though I wanted the answers so badly and to see everything come to light.  The only thing is, now I have to wait for the next one.” […]

  3. […] The Good Turn by Dervla McTiernanThe waiting room was ugly and neglected. […]

  4. […] 1GIRL2MANYBOOKS gave it 10/10 and called the whole series “amazing!”: […]

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