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Bust by Dearbhail McDonald, Penguin Books

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Non Fiction

By Vanessa O'Loughlin

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As legal editor of the Irish Independent, Dearbhail McDonald enjoys unique access to the high stakes and often shadowy realm of property investment and is at home amongst the intricacies of the Irish courts system. It’s clear that McDonald’s true talent is her ability to render the complex machinations of these unfamiliar worlds accessible to readers through the unambiguous and lucid writing style she employs both as a journalist and as author of this compelling book.

McDonald’s utterly gripping and clear sighted exposé of the manner in which Ireland’s flimsy house of cards finally tumbled down within the confines of our courtrooms is as enlightening as it is enraging. The only things I would change about this thoroughly excellent book are the genre – I wish it were fiction – and the setting. I would have enjoyed this book a whole lot more had it documented the rotten heart of an economy other than the one in which I live.

Some of my favourite quotes:

In hindsight, it wasn’t the smartest thing I have ever done in my journalism career; travelling alone, on a hunch, to the Algarve to spend time with a man I had never met — a man who had refused to tell me his real name and gave me no details about his background.

“Gardaí were staggered by the vast sums of money entering and leaving O’Brien’s bank accounts, of which he had close to 100.”

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