Thursday, December 11, 2014

book review: Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman

The backstory: Rage Against the Dying is Becky Masterman's first mystery. It introduces former FBI agent Brigid Quinn. It was a finalist for almost every mystery award last year: Edgar (Best First Novel), Macavity (Best First Mystery), Barry (Best First Novel), Anthony (Best First Novel), and CWA Dagger (Gold Dagger shortlist and John Creasey Dagger longlist).

The basics: Brigid Quinn is fifty-nine. She was forced into early retirement from the FBI and now lives with her husband, from whom she hides as much as possible about her FBI life, and their two dogs, in Tucson. When a man confesses to the unsolved murder of Brigid's protegee, the current case agent brings her back in to consult on the case.

My thoughts: It's a well-known trope that the first mystery in a series will feature a case very close to the main character. Too often this trope is met with too many coincidences, but in Rage Against the Dying, it doesn't feel like a trope at all. Because the case in question is several years old, it introduces the reader to both Brigid as she was when she was an FBI agent and as she is now. This distinction, in both her personal and professional lives, helps make Brigid such a dynamic character.

As much as I enjoyed the character of Brigid, she is not a typical, likeable crime fighter. She's a complicated, and thus fascinating to me, person. And as dynamic of a character as she is, the best part of this novel are the mysteries themselves.

Favorite passage:  "Keeping secrets, telling lies, they require the same skill. Both become a habit, almost an addiction, that's hard to break even with the people closest to you, out of the business."

The verdict: Rage Against the Dying is as filled with contradictions as Brigid. It's both dark and funny (and sometimes darkly funny.) It's surprising. It's riveting. It's twisted, but it also has its heart-warming moments. Masterman masterfully weaves layers of mysteries, both related and not, together for a compelling, thrilling story and an intriguing first in a new series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Length: 320 pages
Publication date: March 12, 2013
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Rage Against the Dying from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

Want more? Visit Becky Masterman's website and like her on Facebook.

The second Brigid Quinn mystery, Fear the Darkness, will be published January 20, 2015. You can pre-order it now from Amazon (Kindle edition.)

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

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