The Good Turn
Dervla McTiernan has rapidly cemented her place among contemporary bestselling crime fiction greats by producing in quick succession two expertly crafted and beautifully written character-driven novels in The Ruin, and The Scholar. Her third Cormac Reilly crime thriller, The Good Turn, similarly exhibits all of the characteristics that have earned her such acclaim. The novel switches primarily between the points-of-view of detective Cormac Reilly and Garda Peter Fisher, as well as several other characters, but in such a way as to both patiently characterise the two men but also ratchet up the tension as the novel progresses. In keeping with the previous novels in the series, The Good Turn is a fascinating and forensic examination of the institutional pressures associated with Irish policing, detailing the office politics but also the intense psychological stresses placed upon each officer. This is deserving of attention enough, but as with all good crime writers, the process of detection and the psychological tension created as the novel progresses is also a fitting medium through which to examine Irish society in general, and to reflect upon the intergenerational trauma visited upon certain parts of the population and the place of vulnerable Irish children in particular. The Good Turn is that rarest of things – a gripping yarn but also a deft and deeply empathetic novel whose characters will stay with you long after you turn the final page.