Last year, Becky Masterman released her debut thriller – Rage Against the Dying. Since then, praise and award-nominations have flourished for this novel which features an unusual heroine, a gritty plot, and a deep understanding of human nature – not to mention, a few good shocks along the way.
With a striking and original voice, Masterman tells the tale of retired FBI agent, Brigid Quinn. Fifty-nine-year-old Brigid did not necessarily want to retire when she did, but she is doing her best to acclimate to this new laid back lifestyle in Tucson, Arizona. However, when she hears that a suspect has confessed to her most famous unsolved case, Brigid finds it impossible to keep her distance.
Becky Masterman cleverly starts her novel in media res, as readers watch an older woman on the shoreline being stalked by a psychotic rapist. Following this disquieting introduction, the action flashes back to an earlier time. Eventually, the plot of the novel catches up to this opening moment and then continues well beyond it, to its tense conclusion. Mixed into this already complex structure are other smaller flashbacks to Brigid’s past. This tangled web alone would make this novel a must read for fans of the genre – few authors are able to do non-linear story-telling with such a deft hand.
When Laura Coleman, the agent who took the confession of the “Route 66 Murderer,” tells Brigid that she is convinced the confession is fake, Brigid’s traumatic past becomes her immediate present. Brigid lost a young colleague during the original investigation of that case and damned if she will allow an “innocent” man to take credit for it, thereby absolving the real culprit of his punishment. Against orders from the FBI and disapproval from her husband, Brigid begins to help with the task of proving the confession false.
Brigid Quinn is unlike most novel protagonists – almost sixty, with white hair, frail bones and massive career regrets. Most typical authors would allot her a spot on the sidelines, at best, but Becky Masterman proves that you can’t keep a strong woman down and readers will quickly see that Brigid can kick ass and take names with the best of them. It is a refreshing change of pace for a genre that is overloaded with testosterone-heavy womanizers. But make no mistake about it, Rage Against the Dying, remains a dark and gritty tale. Masterman is not afraid to discuss the ill effects of aging and loss on one page and describe a violent encounter with the killer on the next.
Luckily for readers, Rage Against the Dying is only the first Brigid Quinn thriller. Becky Masterman will be back with another in this series in January (Fear the Darkness). Until then, readers who have not yet met Brigid Quinn should give Rage Against the Dying a try – you won’t regret it.
This review is based on the audio version of the novel, out now from MacmillianAudio. Why not try a sample of the listening experience:
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Disclaimer: An audiobook version of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel