cover image The Scholar

The Scholar

Dervla McTiernan. Penguin, $16 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-14-313369-8

In McTiernan’s solid second police procedural featuring Galway’s Det. Cormac Reilly (after 2018’s The Ruin), Reilly’s girlfriend, Emma Sweeney, a lab researcher for Darcy Therapeutics, calls him when she discovers the body of student Carline Darcy, a rising research star in the lab and the granddaughter of the company head, on the road near their workplace, the victim of a hit-and-run. In the subsequent inquiry into what develops into a murder case, departmental rivals of Emma, who suspect that she is somehow involved in Carline’s death, try to push Reilly off the case. Meanwhile, the lab principals impede the investigation. Though the characters nearest to Carline are a bit too stereotyped, and the solution to the mystery is telegraphed too soon, the complexities of the relationships within the department, and the tensions between Reilly and Emma, are rich enough to carry the reader through this story and into the next one. McTiernan’s cautionary tale about money, prestige, and the secretive world of pharmaceutical research will resonate with many. Agent: Faye Bender, Book Group. (May)