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.
... slow-burning, suspenseful ... McTiernan takes inspiration from the real-life story of a law student who worked at the Innocence Project. The novel's version of events is filled with twists and turns aplenty and will keep readers engrossed all the way to the explosive finale.
Even though it might seem like the 'revenge' part of this novel already has been revealed, trust in Dervla McTiernan to have a few more big surprises up her sleeve that will spin the story in unpredictable directions. The Murder Rule is a clever thrill ride and a nice mix of psychological and legal thriller that will appeal to fans of both genres and ultimately satisfy them. I look forward to reading more of this talented author’s work and hope that the FX series does the source material justice.