Not the real ones, of course, but I’m sure they provide a great deal of fodder to the ingenious authors who write such great nail-biters.
Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterson was published in March of 2013. It was a nominee for the Crime Writers Association (CWA) Gold Dagger Award, the International Thriller Writers (ITW) Best First Novel, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and a nominee for the Anthony Award for Best First Novel.
I received an ARC of this book (thank you BookBrowse) back in December of 2012 and really liked it. I just came across the sequel, which was published in January of 2015, and I decided to re-read the first book so I could refresh my memory before buying the new one.
In some ways, this is a sort of “run of the mill” serial killer story but in other ways, mostly because of the main character, it is not as “run of the mill” as you may think.
The minute I started reading, Rage Against Dying, and learned that the main character, Brigid Quinn, was 59 years old, I was intrigued. How often do we see a 59 year old female protagonist? Especially, in the lead role as the primary investigator. I don’t mean to take anything away from Christie’s Miss Marple, or any other older female detectives who solve mysteries, but we rarely read any stories about women who served in the FBI or police departments after they’ve retired. That’s because, I’m sure, publishers (and probably movie directors as well) don’t believe anyone wants to read about an older female detective. They’re not what the the “powers that be” would consider relevant. However, I would like to see more female characters like Brigid Quinn. Whatever it was that sparked the woman to take up a career in law enforcement is probably still there, even after they’ve retired, so what happens to them then? Do they retire, stay home, and bake cookies? No! If they’re anything like Brigid, they find a way to stay in the game.
I’ve read plenty of serial killer thrillers before but this is the first one I can think of with an older, retired female, FBI agent, who isn’t an “accidental” detective or who doesn’t just trip her way into a case. Brigid Quinn is a real agent with real experience who has skeletons in her closet, the ghost of a failed mission in her past, and the realities of an unrealistic personal relationship that she has neatly set up to fail.
Quinn is forced into early retirement and finally finds the life she thinks she’s always wanted. A wonderful husband and a family of pugs all help Brigid enjoy the banalities of a “normal” life until she is called in to help close out the case that changed her life. The case that took the life of her young protégé.
Suddenly, her “normal” life takes a turn for the worse and try as she might, she cannot gain control of what she had, and worse, cannot let go of this case, even though she can see it all going to hell in a hand basket.
This is really, one of the most original serial killer thrillers I’ve read in a while. The story has solid characters who are well-rounded. The plot line is fast-moving and there is a great level of suspense throughout the read that makes this a must-read for any suspense/thriller fans out there.
Book 2 in the series is entitled, Fear The Darkness, and I’m definitely looking forward to finding out how Brigid Quinn’s life has been going since we last saw her. I’ll update with a review when I’m finished reading.