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Brigid Quinn #1

Rage Against the Dying

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In her hey-day, ex FBI agent Brigid Quinn not only worked serial killer cases but became their prize. Small and blond, from a distance she looked vulnerable and slight. . . the perfect bait to catch a killer. But as Quinn got older, she realised she needed to find a protegee, a younger field agent to take her place. So Quinn trains a twenty-two year old and lets her loose in the field. The plan works. Until the Route 66 killer not only takes the bait, but kills the bait too.

Years on, Quinn is trying to move past the fact that she has a young woman's death on her conscience. She's now the perfect Stepford Wife - until she gets a knock on her door. The girl's body has finally been discovered. Quinn is pulled back into the case and the more she learns about the killer the more she comes to believe, despite the overwhelming forensic evidence to hand, that they have the wrong man.

384 pages, Paperback

First published August 9, 2012

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About the author

Becky Masterman

10 books315 followers
Becky Masterman created her heroine, Brigid Quinn while working as an editor for a forensic science and law enforcement press. Her debut thriller, Rage Against the Dying, was a finalist for the Edgar Awards and the CWA Gold Dagger, as well as the Macavity, Barry, ITW and Anthony awards. Becky lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband.

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5 stars
1,045 (19%)
4 stars
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3 stars
1,524 (28%)
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102 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,014 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,438 reviews78k followers
December 21, 2016
Two words- WELL DONE. I picked this up at the used bookstore and was skeptical, but it was so cheap I couldn't pass it up.

Brigid Quinn is a 59 year old ex FBI agent who has more awesomeness in her pinky toe than I have in my entire body. I don't want to give away too much, but there is action from the very first page. I was drawn in and read the entire book in one sitting. She is retired and enjoying life, her new marriage, and her hobby of collecting rocks by the river bank. She is thrust into a series of events that bring her back round to a notorious serial killer that was active during her time at the FBI who also captured and killed her young understudy, Jessica. Brigid has been tortured for years wondering what really happened to Jessica. A man comes forward claiming to be the Route 66 killer but a new agent, Laura, has her doubts. What follows is their journey together on catching this ruthless monster.

I can't say enough good things about this book. This is Becky Masterman's debut novel and it is a fine one at that. It was a little short and an easy read, but it didn't take away from the thrill ride I experienced. It was pretty gory in some places, so those with triggers to violence of all types might want to skip this one. I really felt connected to the characters and found myself wanting to keep walking with them, so I went out and immediately bought book #2 Fear the Darkness: A Thriller. (Spoiler- this one was just as excellent as the first!) I felt refreshed reading a novel with this much excitement featuring someone of a mature age. Yes, some things were not realistic based on her age and what she would be capable of, but it is fiction and I expected a little give would be needed in that area. I would HIGHLY recommend this novel to those looking for an intense, quick read. I'll be posting a review for her sequel shortly!
Profile Image for Julie .
4,025 reviews58.9k followers
February 29, 2020

Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterson is a 2013 Minotaur publication.

This first book in the Brigid Quinn series grabbed my attention immediately. After I survived the first chapter, I was hooked.

Brigid is a retired FBI agent in her late fifties. She marries later in life and loves her husband and enjoys living a peaceful life, trying to put her painful past behind her. Yet, her demons refuse to let her be.

When the case that nearly broke her comes roaring back to life, Brigid becomes obsessed with trying to prevent history from repeating itself. In the process, she puts her marriage on the line, and herself in imminent danger, in more ways than one.

This is a very absorbing thriller, probably not for the faint of heart, though. It’s dark and gritty, edgy and suspenseful. I don’t know what I was expecting from a fifty-nine year- old protagonist, but one should not allow Brigid’s age to fool you. Dang!

The story is superbly paced, and the plot is riveting- with a little bit of everything mixed in. There is Brigid’s cold case, a new missing person, and of course a murder- but Brigid’s involvement, the personal ramifications, and the fear of her exposure kept me on pins and needles.

The story is graphic, and the suspense is almost unbearable at times, but the well-drawn characters balance out the darker tones.

I love the idea of a ‘mature’ woman fronting this series, something we don’t see a lot of in a story this intense. Brigid is a character I grew to like and am pleased that she plays against type- although some of her spurts of profanity seemed immature for her character, and out of context, as the story would have been just as effective without it.

Overall, though, I’m impressed with this first installment and will most definitely continue with the series!

4 stars

*Content warning-

I have many friends on Goodreads who read dark, graphic material. However, those of us who are a little more desensitized about graphic violence in books, than others, may still find some passages in this book disturbing and outside of one’s comfort zone.

Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
August 3, 2019
”I’ve sometimes regretted the woman I’ve been.

There have been so many: daughter, sister, cop, tough broad, several kinds of whore, jilted lover, ideal wife, heroine, killer. I’ll provide the truth of them all, inasmuch as I’m capable of telling the truth. 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. For example, they say never trust a woman who tells you her age; if she can’t keep that secret, she can’t keep yours.

I’m fifty-nine.”

Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn is living a quiet life (on the surface) of reflection with her husband, Professor Carol DiForenza, AKA Prefessor, in a beautiful home in Tucson, Arizona. In the evenings, she dissects the cop shows, to the amusement of her husband, as she points out the things they get wrong and the things they get right. She is often distracted by the news. ”I wrenched my mind into the kitchen, bent on being that trifecta of Betty Crocker, Donna Reed, and last year’s centerfold.” Serial killers? Not her job anymore, but at one time they were all she thought about. As far as living up to the trifecta, well those clothes are not conducive to kicking someone’s ass.

The thing is, ”your past doesn’t die. Hell, it doesn’t even wrinkle.” Her past comes calling at her door in the form of some of her former colleagues, telling her they got the Route 66 Killer. There are a lot of regrets tied up around this case for Brigid. The thought that they might finally have the bastard is balm for the crease this case left in her soul. Those regrets will never heal, of course, but they might get easier to live with. ”Only suckers believe in closure.”

Floyd Lynch is caught driving around in his rig with a mummified corpse as his co-pilot? I won’t even speculate about what goes on when Floyd puts Barry White on in the evening and pops the cork on a bottle of Chablis.

Brigid is brought into the case as a courtesy and for her legendary insight. Little does she know that her role will quickly move from interested bystander into lead detective, but you need to keep that on the QT. A retired FBI agent looking into a case is not exactly kosher with the bosses back in DC. Soon someone is trying to kill her (not unusual for her); she has seriously mucked up things with Carlo (truthfulness might have been a factor) and alienated all her colleagues working the case.

”’Do not go gentle into that good night. Howl, howl...or rage, rage...against the dying of the light.’

This is Brigid Quinn, a woman of a certain age, raging.”

She is a force of nature, and it is my distinct pleasure to have met her. Lie to her at your peril. She will sniff out a lie like a bloodhound with a snoot full of bloody shirt. She is forthright. She is hilarious. She has a flexible morality scale. She is tough. She is savvy. She might be over the hill by FBI standards, but she certainly isn’t buried under it. I have to say, I haven’t had a fictional woman show me such a good time in a long time. I also adore the setting of Tucson. It brings back a lot of fond memories of my time living there.

The really good news is, there are three more books in the series. The fourth book is about the In Cold Blood Murders which happened practically in my backyard, so I might have to hop in the car with her for that one.

I can already hear her saying, “Buckle up Buttercup. You are in for a ride.”

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
Profile Image for Paula K .
417 reviews424 followers
March 17, 2018
What a fun thriller debut!

I was drawn to this book by the age of the narrator who is an FBI agent, now retired at 59, and a female. You would never think she is retired by the amount of scrapes she gets into throughout the book. Brought back into a case of a serial killer still on the loose gets Brigid Quinn in some difficult situations. I love her fighting ability and toughness that surprises many due to her gray hair.

Brigid is joined by a new husband, Carlo, who is an ex-priest and their 2 charming pugs. I’m a dog lover so this was a delightful extra which brought some timely humor to the story.

A fast read that I finished in a few days and a series that I will be continuing.

4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Carol.
322 reviews863 followers
August 15, 2017
Better than many debuts in the genre. Better pacing and suspense than a Nevada Barr novel. A tad implausible, but if that's the trade-off for getting to read a suspense/crime novel with a 59 year old female protagonist, I will suffer it gladly. I trust that --in subsequent entries in this series -- Masterman will make Brigid more real, less defensive and less prone to gaffes that are inconsistent with her professional training. I'm tired of wanting to grab her by the shoulders and shake her. There's a whole lot that works here, though.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,066 reviews3,607 followers
November 11, 2016
This book starts out dark, gritty and graphically violent at times. As much as I love thrillers it was virtually too much for me. I could almost compare this book to an episode of Criminal Minds, as the FBI chase down a serial killer. I considered putting the book away after just one chapter, but I am glad I didn't. It mellowed out and became a great thriller as the plot took hold.

The main character Brigid is a 59 year old retired FBI agent who left the FBI was under less than desirable circumstances. As new evidence comes to light in an open case, she is pulled back into action. A frustrating case involving a serial killer that Brigid chased for years but was never able to capture.
One of the last victim was an up and coming FBI agent that Brigid took under her wing. This was personal.
As the author explores Brigid's strengths and more importantly her weaknesses you can't help but be drawn to her.

The further I got into this book the more I enjoyed it. There are a few twists that had me guessing (wrongly mind you!!) all the way up to the end.
Profile Image for Carol.
352 reviews330 followers
October 22, 2017
***3.5 Stars rounded up to 4*** I’ve been on vacation with a few “go to” mysteries. This was one of those audio books that I included. I thoroughly enjoyed this crusty, older female ex-FBI agent and the endearing relationship with her new husband, Carlo and their two pugs. It was refreshing to read an account of a 50-something female detective with mental, physical or psychological challenges rather than the same, familiar tale about a male investigator. I plan to check out more stories by this author.
Profile Image for Carol.
829 reviews482 followers
April 26, 2016
We readers are a fickle lot. Just last week I read a book in which the author tried to evoke a strong female character. In doing so she put her in situations that seemed unbelievable, where she should have been killed or maimed beyond a doubt. It didn’t work for me. So why does Rage against the Dying, a debut featuring another kick-butt woman character who also has nine lives work so well for me? It’s all in the story! This one hits the ground running and is a beaut of a thriller.
Ex-FBI Agent Brigid Quinn had hunted sexual predators and had dealt with all kinds of scum. Her retirement might have come a bit early as events led to her mutual agreement to leave the bureau. She’s gray haired, recently married to a former priest of all things, and still a heck of a woman to contend with. Loose ends and a cold case bring her back into action and I mean action.
Did I mention the pugs? There’s two of these face licking canines and they just add to the whole. I’m not even a dog lover but wished one was sitting on my lap, comforting me. The husband, Carlo is almost as good. Brigid and Carlo’s relationship is one I’d love to see explored in a future story and I’m certain there will be another.
Though it’s violent, I found myself along for the ride no matter what, eyes wide open and speeding to its finish. Smart dialogue, real flawed characters, with just a touch of humor, love and caring keeps it from being too depressing. Get yourself on the list. An excellent debut by an acquisitions editor for a press specializing in medical textbooks for forensic examiners and law enforcement. Becky Masterman did her homework and it shows.
Profile Image for Brenda.
725 reviews148 followers
February 6, 2017
My first impression of this debut novel was about the writing style. It immediately reminded me of a certain Goodreads friend's reviews, which are witty, self-deprecating, relaxed, and fun to read.

Starting right on page two, there were missed editorial opportunities. A van drives from the end of a bridge down to the edge of a dry wash and three paragraphs later does it again. A bit later, the main character takes off her gloves and a few paragraphs later takes them off again. There were also some grammatical errors and misspellings.

Brigid Quinn is 59 and living in Tucson, Arizona. I lived in Tucson many years ago and it was nice to remember street names and traveling up Mt. Lemmon. Brigid is a retired FBI agent, but, boy, she has some serious lapses in judgment and makes some really dumb decisions. She lies, and even her marriage is based on a lie right from the first date. As the book progressed, the more improbable things became. Then at the end when the book turned to resolve Brigid's personal life, it felt a little corny.

Not a great book, but an enjoyable read. I have the second book already and hope to see some improvement.
Profile Image for Terence M - [back to abnormal].
499 reviews174 followers
April 27, 2019
Audiobook - 11:20 Hours - Narrator: Judy Kaye
3.5 stars rounded to 4.0

As an example of the genre, former FBI agent Brigid Quinn has many of the attributes expected of a crime fighter who is also a woman. She is dogged, determined and feisty. She bucks authority, can shoot straight and seriously kick arse if required. However, she also is an inveterate liar - to friends, workmates, bosses, criminals, and especially her beloved second husband, Dr. Carlo DiForenza.

”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.” - Brigid Quinn.

Brigid is 59, and retired from the FBI under the shadow of surviving an investigation that she killed someone while on duty. But her many years as an FBI agent belie the number of rookie-type mistakes she makes, and escapes from, throughout the book. As an inveterate reader of listener to crime/thriller novels, I readily acknowledge that suspension of belief is usually required if I am to enjoy the experience and “Rage Against the Dying” was no exception.

After reading Jeffrey Keeten’s review, I was quite sure I would enjoy “Rage Against the Dying” and I did, however, in her debut thriller, author Becky Masterman, cited as ”…working as an editor for a forensic science and law enforcement press”, missed a number of editing opportunities that, in my opinion, would have improved the book. My GR friend, Nancy, has already mentioned a number of them in her review, but the most grievous for me occurred in Chapter 45 of the audiobook version. I do not intend to elaborate here, but I listened to the chapter twice to confirm that the matter was poorly written and, as a practical issue, damaged one of the core issues of the narrative.

The narration by Judy Kaye was very good, with excellent vocalisations of a number of the key characters.

I have every intention of reading at least the next book in this series, which I expect will develop the character of Brigid Quinn from a somewhat bumbling, but lucky ex-FBI agent, to a more competent and accomplished free-lance investigator.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,870 reviews1,877 followers
April 23, 2017
All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com

I’m way late to this series, but one of the advantages to this is that I don’t have to wait for a new book to be released! When Chelsea at The Suspense is Thrilling Me asked if I had read Becky Masterman and I said no, she was sweet enough to send me the first two books. Then I recently received the third from the publisher and figured it was about time I started reading about Brigid Quinn. I’ve been hopping into a lot of new to me series in the middle, but I’m so glad I started at the beginning as this was such a fantastic read.

Brigid is one of the most interesting and original protagonists that I’ve come across in a long time. She has such a multifaceted personality, there are so many layers to peel back to find out who she truly is inside, but what Masterman revealed in this series opener was a woman who is tough, determined, sharp, raw, and wholly relatable. She was also really quirky and when she’s uncomfortable or just trying to dodge a pointed question she deflects with black humor, I love that characteristic. Having a more mature woman as the lead in a crime series is clever and I really appreciated it.

Brigid is a retired FBI agent living in Tucson, Arizona and reading a novel set in a familiar place was really fun. Masterman captured the rugged beauty of my home state perfectly and being able to recall places I’ve been to myself was fun! The fact that Brigid is no longer employed by the FBI made for some tricky investigative maneuvers on her part which added another breath of fresh air to this already highly original story.

This was pretty violent and graphic, think Karin Slaughter in terms of the visual descriptions. The writing is fluid and Brigid narrates in a very conversational style that makes you feel like you’re chatting with an old friend. The plot twists were unexpected and I devoured this in a few hours, it was that gripping. I’m really glad I decided to binge this series straight through as I’m dying to know what happens next.
Profile Image for Philip.
1,385 reviews71 followers
June 16, 2017
What attracted me to this book was the heavily-marketed plug that it features a 59-year-old protagonist, (same age as myself). And sure enough, there in paragraph two of Chapter One, the narrator states: "I am fifty-nine years old." Which is a good thing, because otherwise you'd never know it. She is also a recent first-time newlywed, married to an opera-singing Italian professor and ex-priest; she remains a physical badass who can easily kill with her bare hands; and she enjoys a randy (if monogamous) sex life free of children or other obligations -- you know, your typical 59'er.

I would have found her a much more realistic and sympathetic character if she were more like, well, me and everyone else I know in our age group. I would have much prefered to see her dealing with the strains of a decades-long marriage or grown children (or -- gasp! -- even grandchildren!) in her personal life; and to demonstrate some of the expected physical and mental vulnerabilities in her professional life. But instead, she's Stallone in Rambo 4, (or technically, just "Rambo").

As to the story itself (SPOILER ALERT): it's a passable enough serial killer thriller that would've gotten three stars if not for what I thought was a weak ending. Our supposedly super-experienced heroine goes uncharacteristically rookie at the end, allowing herself to be easily caught merely for added action and suspense. And that whole resolution of the "trophies"? Totally unbelievable -- no bad guy would be that dumb, and no cops would be that unobservant.

Overall, it's like an average episode of "The Mentalist" -- halfway through you've met all the characters, and now it's just a parlor game figuring out which one is the killer. While not outright bad in any one area (except for the lame and meaningless title), Rage Against the Dying does nothing to introduce a distinct new character into an already over-saturated genre -- which is a shame, when the initial premise had such promise.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,733 reviews14.1k followers
April 8, 2013
This new series has gotten off to a great start. Love the character of Brigid, ex-FBI, married to an ex-priest and is 59. A series with an older, kick but heroine, not too many of them out there. The story is gritty, at times pretty brutal but kept my interest to the end. My favorite part though is the character of Brigid and the relationship she has with her husband who I hope we see more of in the future.
Profile Image for Jaylia3.
752 reviews131 followers
March 20, 2013
How deeply satisfying to read a mystery thriller with a women in my age demographic as the main character. Gray haired, fifty-nine year old Brigid Quinn is a retired FBI agent, living near Tucson with her new husband Carlo, a widower who was a priest before he married the first time. She’s settled near the site of case she never managed to close, a serial sexual predator, so though Brigid is no longer a twenty, thirty or even forty-something this is no cozy with a knitting needle as the weapon.

Brigid is trying to leave her old life behind, and hasn’t told her professor husband everything about her past, but it’s almost as if she’s camping out in her new home because she hasn’t replaced all the froufrou household items chosen by Carlo’s former wife. She’s sure Carlos would leave her if he knew who she really is, but after a man confesses to the crime Brigid never solved she’s drawn back into the case, putting both of their lives in danger, and it becomes harder and harder for her to shield Carlos from the truth.

The arid but beautiful landscape of the desert southwest is always a plus for me, and here the rocky, prickly cactus terrain is well evoked and suits the mood of the story. With her flippant, sardonic outlook and sometimes grim humor, Brigid is great company as the first person narrator. Her determination to bring a scumbag to justice while protecting her new pack (Carlos and their two pugs) adds complications and emotional depth to a gripping, fast moving plot that had me reading into the wee hours of the morning.
Profile Image for Hallie.
Author 22 books535 followers
May 16, 2013
Just when you think it’s not possible to sell a publisher on a female protagonist who’s well into middle age, along comes Becky Masterman’s compelling thriller “Rage Against the Dying.” Her protagonist, Brigid Quinn, is 59, a retired FBI agent who burned out after years of working undercover, disgraced because she killed an unarmed perp. Her specialty: investigating sexual homicides. She’s haunted by the disappearance of a young protégée whom she trained to decoy a serial killer.

When a man named Floyd Lynch confesses to what have become known as the “Route 66 murders” because the victims’ mutilated bodies are found posed at the highway’s edge, Brigid emerges from retirement. She’s found a tenuous peace in a brief happy marriage to man who has no idea she was an FBI agent (”No one likes a woman who knows how to kill with her bare hands.”). Lynch claims to know where more bodies are hidden, and he knows details that only the killer could. But Special Agent Laura Coleman, who reminds Brigid of her younger self, convinces Brigid that Lynch didn’t do it. Neither of them can convince their male colleagues.

“Rage” is compulsively readable, a page turner with a believable hero like none I’ve seen before in crime fiction. She’s powerful and flawed, needy and tough at the same time. The story is bold and surprising with twists and turns I didn’t see coming. The ending satisfies. And this is just Masterman’s first thriller. I’ll be looking forward to the next.

... Review published in the Boston Globe 5/12/13

Profile Image for Michael Robotham.
Author 66 books5,667 followers
June 3, 2014
A very fine debut crime novel - with a very likeable and believable protagonist. I can see why it made so many shortlists for crime writing awards.
November 20, 2022
Almost 4 stars but I feel like this is a little forgettable and I might not be able to relive this in a weeks time. I enjoyed the writing, the suspense and the plot line a lot but I don’t know if it does anything new.

The one thing it’s does bring is an usual protagonist- a 59 year old women, you don’t see that often enough. Reading from this perspective was a lot of fun and it gave the book a whole different feel to others in the genre.

I think the twists and turns were done fairly well but we didn’t get enough information to ever figure it out which is a shame. Another issue is how everything got tied up a little too nicely, but it’s too be expected.

There was a nice mixture of action, dialogue and plot development. Not a lot of character development which I think could’ve been so much better.

Overall a really easy/fast read which was enjoyable and had some 4 star moments. I would read from this author again in the future.
Profile Image for Kristin.
325 reviews
March 24, 2017
This was subpar from the beginning but at 27%, I am throwing in the towel. A retired FBI agent who was haunted by an unsolved serial murder case, turns around and …yeah…not buying that at all. It was freaking self-defense and there was absolutely no reason to cover it up except to create more needless drama. When shows like Criminal Minds and The Mentalist are more believable, serious questions should be raised. It's fiction, I get it, but this was just the icing on the cake for me as I was already having a hard time believing her characters anyway.

I have better things to spend my time on.

I received an arc copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley!
Profile Image for Ed.
634 reviews55 followers
March 14, 2018
Brigid Quinn is a retired FBI agent looking for a quiet life with her devoted husband Carlo and two pugs in the Tucson, Arizona desert. Still haunted by the kidnapping of her protege by a serial killer, she's inadvertently drawn back into the case when a truck driver confesses to killing her and seven other young women. In an interesting twist, FBI agent Jessica Coleman convinces Brigid of her well founded suspicion that the confessed "Route 66" killer is taking the fall for someone else. Someone still at large and posing a deadly threat to unsuspecting female targets.

What makes this such an exceptionally compelling thriller is the courage and tenacity of middle aged Brigid as she relentlessly pursues what few leads she has without the benefit of any FBI investigative tools. It's only Agent Jessica Coleman and Brigid Quinn keeping their unofficial investigation alive when the FBI SAC of the Tuscon office desperately wants the credit and headlines of closing the "Route 66" serial killer cold case based on a bogus confession. Absolutely riveting crime fiction!
Profile Image for Raven.
723 reviews205 followers
February 9, 2013
Becky Masterman has really brought something different to the thriller market with her impressive debut novel ‘Rage Against The Dying’. With a strapline from Linwood Barclay saying, ‘Masterman writes like an angel that has seen too many ungodly things’, I can only agree, with such a visceral plot and with a band of damaged and affecting characters. I think it is demeaning to the strength of Masterman’s writing, to simply label this as a serial killer thriller in the conventional sense. Yes, the essential ingredients of this genre are in evidence with the plot focusing on the actions of the Route 66 killer and the violent details of his, as yet, unpunished killing spree, but it quickly becomes clear that this book carries a weight and emotional depth largely untapped in this kind of writing. As our erstwhile heroine ex-FBI agent Brigid Quinn, who has her own personal history with the case, insinuates herself back into the investigation after a violent event, what Masterman constructs is an examination of not only a race to catch a killer, but how those left in the wake of violence try to come to terms with their lives and deal with the need for retribution. Masterman truly captures not only the the motivation of those who endeavour to administer justice, but equally makes the reader take a trip into the darkest recesses of a killer’s mind.

The stand out feature of this book for me is the character of Brigid Quinn herself, who is a complete breath of fresh air in the normal cardboard cutout creations of many contemporary female American crime fiction authors. Probably due to the fact that Quinn is more advanced in years than most female protagonists, her character was infinitely more rounded and believable from the outset. This is a woman living in the shadow of her former career, tormented by the aftermath of leaving a major serial killer case unsolved, and feeling personally responsible for the death of a young agent on her watch. Following a violent confrontation close to her home, Quinn is inextricably lured back to the Route 66 killer case, and is drawn into a dangerous chain of events in her search for justice, her own redemption for her former mistakes and her determination to protect another young female agent involved with case. What I liked most is the grasp of reality that Masterman keeps in her depiction of Quinn’s involvement in terms of her mental strength, but also an authentic depiction of her physical aptitude, obviously affected by her age. This air of authenticity draws the reader to Quinn, and arouses our trust and empathy with her as a character which Masterman skilfully handles throughout the course of the book. Her emotional intelligence shines through in her professional relationships, be it acting as counsellor to a bereaved father, or imparting her wisdom to a young impetuous agent on a destructive path of action. In terms of her personal relationships. Quinn has come to married life late, having being so focused on her career, and this makes for an interesting strand in the plot, examining how difficult it is for her to balance her personal life, and the pull of the chase to catch a killer. Her relationship with her husband Carlo, comes under the most severe strain, but in every interaction between these two characters, there is a complete feel of authenticity about their relationship and a sense of them adjusting and readjusting to the commitment and honesty that should define their marriage. What Masterman so neatly captures in the character of the Quinn is the day to day tussle between these two disparate parts of her life, and her sometimes misguided need to shield one from the other, but also maintaining her personal survival as violent events threaten her freedom, not to say her life.

I’m usually loathe to draw comparisons with other authors but in the interests of getting as many people as possible to discover this book I would certainly mention Masterman in the same breath as established crime author, Karin Slaughter. Masterman certainly combines the visceral nature so prevalent in Slaughter’s books, but adds a new and authentic depth to her own characterisation with her outstanding portrayal of Brigid Quinn. An extremely satisfying thriller that can only auger well for Masterman’s success in the world of crime fiction.
Profile Image for Patty.
1,601 reviews86 followers
April 26, 2013
Rage Against The Dying
Becky Mastermann

My " in a nutshell" summary...

Serial murders...a complex FBI agent...and tons of questions...

My thoughts after reading this book...

Wow...this was truly a fast paced thriller with a fabulously chilling ending. I loved it all.
I was hooked just by reading the prologue and from that moment on I had a love/ hate relationship with Brigid. Seriously...she could be so annoying that I wouldn't want to be anywhere around her...yet she is the FBI agent you would want on your side in a crisis.

All that I will tell you is that Brigid is damaged and complicated. Anyone...fellow agent or sexual predator...and by the way that is her specialty...who gets in her way...is in deep trouble. This book was about unsolved past crimes and even though Brigid was out of it...she ended up back in the midst of it. There were scary situations...so scary that I read at a knuckle biting fast pace...and an unbelievable ending...I see a movie in this more than any book like this I have read this year...Brigid is tough and Irish...and older...casting would be fun!

Oh...she is also married to an ex priest...I did say her life is complicated...lol...and then there are Pugs...two of them!

What I loved about this book...

I loved the main idea of this book...the unsolved crime...the confession...the damaged people. So deliciously good... The setting was awesome, too...dry hot dessert...heat waves, rocks...and great food descriptions...ordinary food but the kind that left me with cravings...for meatloaf, burritos, a taco salad.

What I did not love...

While I admired her tremendously...I did not love Brigid. She was far too strange for me.
You will get what I mean as you read this book. Or...you may have a totally different feeling about her. That's what is fun about reading a book like this.

Final thoughts...

I found this to be an absolutely astonishing and captivating book...I loved it and I will search for more by this author!
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,094 reviews2,663 followers
April 29, 2013
Ex and now retired FBI Agent Brigid Quinn has moved on from her life as a top and revered agent to a happily married woman, who can’t believe she has found her soul mate at 59 years of age. Carlo is an ex-priest who owns two pugs, and together they have made a different life, a life that Brigid hopes will never change.

But the morning she went down to the wash, not far from their home, and was confronted with a danger so immense and so frightening, that it caused her to make one of the worst decisions of her life, and drew her back into a cold case which had been her backbone for the years until her retirement…that was the time Brigid’s life began to change once again, and things began to unravel.

Twelve years previously, the Route 66 killer, as he was known, had killed many women, once a year, every year. The FBI could find no leads, the investigation needed something fresh and new, they needed to stop him killing again. So Brigid began training Jessica, a young twenty two year old FBI agent who was keen and ready to go. She was determined to help catch this killer, and when the summer came, the time of all past killings, Jessica was put out there, bait for a sadistic and vicious killer....

Now, with Brigid drawn back into the cold case, the tension builds as the evidence is discovered. But she feels that something is not quite right, the FBI is focusing in the wrong place, on the wrong person…is she the only one who can see that there is danger out there, and that their safety is at risk?

This was a brilliant thriller by debut author Becky Masterman. The difference with FBI Agent Quinn and your normal run of the mill agents was fantastic. She had her faults, but made you think. The story flowed well, with a great plot, and the twists were chilling. I hope we hear much more of Brigid Quinn.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Adrian.
558 reviews197 followers
May 21, 2016
I thought the book was really good and I will certainly read the sequel (only 1 so far ? ).
The main character was believable although a bit of a numpty on a couple of occasions. The suspense was built well and drew to a natural climax, so all in all a definite 4 stars.
Profile Image for MaryG2E.
372 reviews1 follower
May 30, 2017
A taut, well-written crime novel, this book introduced me to an interesting new sleuth, Brigid Quinn. She is a retired FBI agent, who is mature in years and appearance, but blessed with decades of experience and a sharp intelligence.

A resident of Tucson, Arizona, Brigid's activities bring into focus the remarkable desert landscape of the region. A passionate rock hound, she is out scouting one hot day when she becomes embroiled in a crime which leads to terrifying consequences for her and her friends and colleagues. She has kept good relations with many of her former work-mates, and is drawn into the mystery of a series of bizarre murders by her natural curiosity and her passion for crime-solving.

The horrors of the crimes she encounters contrast strongly with her domestic life. She has a wonderful, caring and compassionate husband, Carlo, and the couple's two Pug dogs inject elements of humour into the story. Some lightness is greatly needed, as the body count rises, and the gruesome details of the killings paint a decidedly grim situation. I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more of Brigid Quinn's adventures as an amateur detective.
Profile Image for Colleen Chi-Girl.
609 reviews97 followers
December 4, 2019
I wasn't sure if this was a 3-1/2 or 4 stars so I rounded up. As I work on genealogy and packing boxes, and long work commutes, I enjoy listening to audio books. This has a strong female lead, as well as snarky and snappy dialogue to go along with the thriller/murder-mystery. Becky Masterman is a master at intelligent, saucy dialogue. I was excited to read about the main character, a middle age woman and ex-FBI...yes! Another strong woman as the lead.

Reviewers have noted that it's really gruesome, but I didn't find it to be that bad and it was less graphic than I anticipated, for which I am always grateful. So we have Brigid (thank you for a woman in her 60's) who is married to an ex-priest (I was willing to go along with this). Brigid is a rocking, strong s-hero and there was a lot to like about her. However, there were times when I wanted to scream at her or at the author (sorry Ms. Masterman), to open up and talk to her husband and to not turn into a wuss when it comes to being honest.

I will probably try another one of these in the Brigid Quinn series in hopes that Brigid, super s-hero, continues in a strong, amazing way...and so we can learn more about her sweet, stoic Italian husband, including her marriage, in future books.
Profile Image for Nancy.
1,198 reviews41 followers
June 16, 2013
Unfortunately, I only made it to page 105 before I completely gave up on this book. For me, the writing came across as superficial and lacking. The main character, Brigid Quinn a retired FBI agent currently living in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains offered no depth and I was not drawn to her.

Fifty nine year old Bridget has been in a couple of rough spots in her life, but the day she went rock hunting and ending up bound in the back of a sexual predators van seemed to have ranked pretty high. She should have been more aware considering the fact that she had to kill him and hide the body. More importantly, why was this person after her and how is she going to tell her husband.

Add in the fact that she has also been called in to help with a cold case and Bridget’s life is getting more and more complicated.

That is where I stopped reading. You would think that the intrigue would sustain the plotline, but it was dry and for me boring.

Others have had a better feel for this book, but for me something was lacking and it was time to put it down and move on.
Profile Image for Deanna.
926 reviews52 followers
February 8, 2019
So much better than I expected.

A deeply, believably protagonist—a white haired older woman. Don’t you automatically picture the cozy or comedic mystery? This decommissioned FBI is tough as nails and serious as can be, down through every layer but the core, where she’s warm and weak, smart and foolish, rock solid and afraid, as human as you could want.

This ex-agent is professional to a fine point, a rule follower, a noble upholder of the mission, while being a rebel, her own woman, with her own mission foremost. All of this is believable, workable as a whole character who comes actress as flesh rather than writerly inventiveness.

She’s active and agile and physically tough too, as much as you would want in a realistic crime-fighting of any age or gender, while honestly feeling and showing the signs and indignities of aging.

The story, too, is complex, well-woven, compelling. Gritty and raw at times almost to the point of too much and then deftly pulling up to look at the larger picture.

The procedural, professional aspects felt fresh and authentic, and reading the author’s bio explains why.

The dry, unforgiving Arizona environment is just about palpable, and nearly a character in its own right, yet without feeling a cliche western desert setting.

I started out liking this book surprisingly well, and growing more impressed as it built and concluded.

I did not guess the answers to the layers of mystery, though the possibilities weren’t unfairly hidden.

I’ll be reading more from this author.

654 reviews47 followers
August 12, 2013
Brigid Quinn is the kind of protagonist who is so delightfully real and quirky, she could carry any story. In fact, the story is really besides the point. I loved Rage Against the Dying because I loved hanging out with Brigid. After a solid career in the FBI that ended in scandal, Brigid is uncertain how to handle her retirement. She audits a class at the local University where she meets her husband, Carlo. She keeps the nastier parts of her past a secret from him, reveling in the quiet life they share with their spoiled, but unnamed, two pugs. Until a serial killer she never caught resurfaces, and she has to choose between blatantly lying to Carlo, or opening up about memories she thought she had left behind. Brigid is a bad-ass, funny, self-deprecating and alarmingly violent woman, who I couldn't help but fall in love with. I also adored Carlo, a retired professor who used to be a priest.

Does Masterman provide a brilliant storyline to go with Brigid? Not really. But who cares? I am dying for Masterman's next novel. Mostly, because I miss Brigid. Also, the audiobook reader was fabulous.
Profile Image for Paul.
20 reviews2 followers
July 25, 2016
I really wanted to like this book. I really did. But I didn't. I couldn't even finish it.

The protagonist is exciting and interesting and so different from your standard run-of-the-mill story. She has a great back story, and it's very clear that from her history and her outlook on life she is going to be a thrill to accompany through this adventure. And then the action starts, and the action is good, and then it all goes wrong. The protagonist makes a fundamental decision that will evidently fuel the entire plot of the book. And the decision is totally jarring. It flies in the face of everything we know about her. About who she is and how she handles herself and her capabilities. And whilst she is retired from her previous occupations, this would increase her wisdom and insight. She would not make such huge 'rookie' mistakes. Mistakes that feel like the writer disregarded her back-story.

After that my heart left the book, my interest dissipated. I realized that this character wasn't interesting because this character was inconsistently drawn.

Bitterly disappointed.
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