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  • Writer's pictureBrendan Holba

The Wrong One

Updated: Aug 26, 2023


In her latest novella, "The Wrong One," acclaimed author Dervla McTiernan weaves a suspenseful tale that delves into the depths of loyalty, family ties, and the relentless pursuit of justice. With a gripping narrative and well-drawn characters, McTiernan keeps readers on the edge of their seats as they unravel the shocking truth behind a heinous crime.


The story revolves around Clara Coleman, a mother wrongly accused of the murder of Rachel Stapleton, a prominent figure in the affluent neighborhood of Lavender Valley, New Jersey. Determined to prove her innocence, Clara's teenage son, Sebastien, reaches out to Simon Miller, an estranged family friend and detective from their former hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. United by their shared belief in Clara's innocence, Simon embarks on a race against time to uncover the truth.


McTiernan skillfully captures the essence of each character, presenting them as flawed and multi-dimensional individuals. Clara's unwavering strength and determination in the face of adversity make her a compelling protagonist, while Sebastien's unwavering loyalty adds emotional depth to the story. Simon, with his complex past connections to the Coleman family, brings a personal stake to the investigation, further intensifying the suspense.


As the plot unfolds, McTiernan expertly reveals the interconnected web of secrets and hidden motives that surround the crime. With each revelation, the tension escalates, leaving readers engrossed in the intricate puzzle of cause and effect. The author's ability to keep readers guessing and second-guessing the true nature of events is a testament to her skill in crafting a gripping mystery.


McTiernan's writing style is concise yet evocative, capturing the essence of Lavender Valley and its affluent residents. The novella's pacing is well-balanced, combining moments of introspection with thrilling twists and turns. While the story unfolds in a shorter format, the author doesn't compromise on depth, delivering a satisfying narrative that explores themes of friendship, trust, and the complexities of human relationships.


While "The Wrong One" is undoubtedly a captivating novela, it is important to acknowledge that no story is without its weaknesses. In the case of the paranormal activity that took place in the cottage, one potential weakness lies in the explanation or resolution of the supernatural occurrences.


Throughout the novel, McTiernan skillfully builds suspense and introduces eerie elements that suggest a haunting presence in the cottage. However, as the story progresses, readers may find themselves hoping for a more satisfying resolution regarding the paranormal activity. While ambiguity can enhance the mystery and intrigue, some readers might desire a clearer explanation or closure regarding the supernatural phenomena.


It is worth noting that the focus of the novela primarily lies in the psychological thriller aspect, exploring the complexities of relationships and mistaken identity. As a result, the resolution of the paranormal subplot might receive less attention, potentially leaving some readers with unanswered questions or a desire for a more thorough exploration of this aspect of the story.


To conclude, "The Wrong One" by Dervla McTiernan is a captivating novela that showcases the author's talent for weaving intricate and suspenseful narratives. With its engaging plot, well-developed characters, exploration of profound themes, and impeccable writing style, the book stands out as a remarkable psychological thriller. McTiernan has once again proven herself as a master storyteller, leaving readers eagerly anticipating her next work. Whether you are a fan of the genre or simply appreciate a compelling tale, "The Wrong One" is a must-read that will keep you enthralled until the very last page.


Overall Review Score 4.15/5

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