The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan

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.


#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 profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and


Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbler. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

6 thoughts on “The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan”

  1. I’m glad to see you enjoyed this one Sandy. I really liked it, but it has received a lot of mixed reviews. I loved the ending and final twists. Can a diary be an unreliable narrator??

    Liked by 1 person

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