Hannah has abandoned everything—her trajectory as a law student, her childhood home, and caring for her ill mother—for the chance to work with the Innocence Project, a prestigious coalition of investigators who fight to free wrongly convicted prisoners. Hannah's ambitions are set on the program's highest-stakes case in years: a convicted rapist and murderer on death row. She'll do anything to work on this case. Because Hannah has a secret. Nearly three decades ago her mother Laura abandoned everything, too. A teenage runaway who fled her abusive family, she escaped to Maine for a fresh start. Desperate for work and a place to sleep, Laura is forced to resort to favors from friends and strangers, until she meets a young man named Tom, who becomes her guardian angel.
The Murder Rule is a masterclass in manipulation from an author who knows just how to pull the strings without revealing her (amply skilled) hand. In Hannah, she has crafted a nuanced, and ultimately sympathetic, character who does wrong in the pursuit of (perceived) right—but who also rights wrongs when opportunities allow. This dynamism coupled with abundant plot twists, ethical ambiguities, and legal loopholes all conspire to make a cunning and compulsively readable story in which justice is in the eye of the beholder. But of one thing you can be certain: Dervla McTiernan is a name to know, and to remember.
The Murder Rule is a page-burner. It’s like Maurice Ravel’s Boléro – growing louder and closer and fiercer and more obsessive ... McTiernan and I both disagree with killing off the prodigies, and The Murder Rule is one darling sentence after another. Don’t miss this one.