4 star

Review: The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan

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.

Another one I picked off the shelf, but it certainly had an interesting premise. As a legal(ish) thriller, it was fairly well executed, and it wasn’t too jargon heavy, and anything that needed explaining was explained well. Compared to my last review of Verity, there were actually a lot of similar plot elements that I found interesting.

The Murder Rule follows our protagonist, Hannah, who worms her way into the Project Innocence project at the University of Virginia Law. She has high stakes in this project, as they are taking care of a famous murder case. Except she isn’t there to help free him like everyone else is. Will she be found out as she works against her own team? Full of twists and surprises, this is a story of girl who will do anything for her goals, with her own ideals of the justice system.

The characters were good in this book. I didn’t particularly love any of them, as in, relate to them personally, but I thought they were all well-constructed and consistent in their character. The story mostly revolves around Hannah and her mom, Laura, anyway, but each character that does show up added depth to the story, and I enjoyed watching the character develop.

The plot of fairly decent. There were good twists and turns and I didn’t feel bored. There was definitely a good undercurrent of suspense in this thriller, and I definitely didn’t want to put it down. The story went by pretty quickly, and I would say overall I enjoyed the plot. Nothing too surprising in the plot device department, though the story also revolved around Hannah’s mother’s diary, which provided a perspective into the past and Hannah’s motivations.

The ending was overall pretty good. It was nothing crazy out of the ordinary, but it wasn’t completely predictable either. I appreciated the twists and the ending came together nicely. I’m not sure I fully bought everything that was sold to me (like motivations), but I think nothing was way out there. It was a good read and I liked the interesting perspective of a protagonist kind of playing antagonist in the story.

Overall Recommendations

The Murder Rule follows Hannah, a upper year law student who transfers to University of Virginia to participate in the Innocence project. She will do anything to get there to execute her secret agenda. Motivated by her mother’s diary depicting the truth of what happened in the past, she sets out to make things right by her own books. A suspenseful story from beginning to end, this is sure to be your story if you enjoy a slightly too devious protagonist, who braves the world for her goals, and discovers along the way whether it’s worth it or not.


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