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We Were Killers Once

(Brigid Quinn #4)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  897 ratings  ·  320 reviews
Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn returns in Becky Masterman's fourth stunning thriller.

In 1959, a family of four were brutally murdered in Holcomb, Kansas. Perry Smith and Dick Hickok were convicted and executed for the crime, and the murders and their investigation and solution became the subject of Truman Capote's masterpiece, IN COLD BLOOD. But what if there was a third k
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Minotaur Books
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Kathleen It would really help to have read the first three (which I loved); you need to understand the development of the relationship between Bridget and Caro…moreIt would really help to have read the first three (which I loved); you need to understand the development of the relationship between Bridget and Carol. It would also help to read In Cold Blood, which I have not done. Frankly, I didn’t like this one nearly as much as the first three. I thought it was slow moving, boring in parts and didn’t have the humor of the others.(less)
Giulia I am reading this book currently and have never read the previous ones and I am not lost at all. I am about 1/3 done and love it so far.

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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  897 ratings  ·  320 reviews

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Start your review of We Were Killers Once (Brigid Quinn, #4)
Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
”’Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of good than malice,’ he read, and kept going. ‘One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by the use of force.’ Here he looked up and nodded at me as if I represented said use of force. Then he looked down at the book again. ‘Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless.’ Carlo looked up at me and fini ...more
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs-read

Like many retired Agents before her, Brigid Quinn, has found it hard to leave behind her life in the FBI.

Now living in Arizona, with her husband of 2-years, Carlo, a former Priest and University Professor, Brigid works as a Private Investigator and is slowly adjusting to this new chapter in her life.

Jerry Beaufort is starting a new chapter as well. He has been behind bars for years, as the world around him changed and progressed.

Once free, Jerry sets out on a quest to find a docum
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a vacation thriller
Recommended to Jaidee by: approached by publishing company for a review
3 "entertaining but middle-of-the-road" stars !!!

The 2019 Most Average of Average Award

Thank you to Netgalley, Minotaur books and the author for an advanced copy of this thriller that is slated to be released on the 4th of June, 2019.

I rarely (if ever) start any kind of book series in the middle but the fictional premise of this book lured me right in. There was a third person that assisted Hicock and Smith of "In Cold Blood"that killed the family in Kansas and then what really happened to the
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
With the fourth Brigid Quinn book, the locale has moved back to Tucson, although the story goes back to a cold case murder in 1959 Florida. I found this plot to be a stretch for me. Drawing on the Clutter family murders that Truman Capote detailed in In Cold Blood, Masterman posits that there was a boy along with Hickok and Smith, one that was never identified. And that this trio also killed a family in Florida.

This third man is now released from jail for other crimes and is worried a dying con
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, 2021, thrillers
We Were Killers Once by Becky Masterman is a 2019 Minotaur publication.

Interesting spin on the Clutter murders and ‘In Cold Blood’.

This fourth installment in the Brigid Quinn series sends our favorite retired FBI agent directly into the path of a diabolical killer bent on keeping his crimes hidden.

Brigid’s husband, Carlo, a former priest, may have a copy of a confession written by Dick Hickcock, which tells a different story about the infamous Clutter murders, one that includes a third party.
Have you read the first three books in the Brigid Quinn series?

Have you read Truman Capote's IN COLD BLOOD?

No? Well, you may want to, but it's NOT necessary as both stories are very well depicted here....with a kicker.

So....What REALLY happened in the Cutter home that awful night back in 1959? What if there was a third man present....Someone worse than the others?

And....who REALLY killed the Walker family?

Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn is obsessed with finding out what truly happened so

May 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, kindle, netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.

I seem to be having a bit of a two star type of week that might give the illusion that it's the only type of rating I give out. Coming in as my 188th read of the year, We Were Killers Once is the twenty eighth 2 star of my 2019 reading year. Some of my most eagerly anticipated books have alrea
Lori Lamothe
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We Were Killers Once begins with a flashback to 1959: six-year-old Brigid Quinn sits on her father's lap as he and his police buddies recount the brutal murder of a Florida family just before Christmas. As the men sit in the kitchen drinking and smoking, they can't help but make the connection between the Walker murders and the equally gruesome killings of the Clutter family just a month before in Kansas. Their talk terrifies Brigid and though she outgrows her fear, the Clutter murders continue ...more
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Holcomb, KS. 1959. An entire family murdered. The Clutter Family killings were immortalized by Truman Capote. Two killers were put to death for the crime. But just imagine if a third killer was there that night....and was never caught. In fact, what if another family was murdered, but the second crime was never solved. Flash forward several decades and a freshly released long-time convict is afraid that a death bed confession by one of the executed killers might reveal that he is that third kill ...more
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
A murder mystery / thriller / character study drama.

I am a new reader to Becky Masterman’s writing and to her heroine Brigid Quinn. This novel, the fourth in the series, could be a stand-alone, though perhaps some of the characters were more fully developed in the earlier books. Unlike other series, though, a new reader can follow along by jumping in here.

Attaching her story to Truman Capote’s narrative in his masterpiece In Cold Blood, Masterman adds to that story by presuming that perhaps a th
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
This is the kind of book that started strong and then slowly the story just got more and more uninteresting...which as a bummer since I quite liked the characters and the story at first.

May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
A clever twist on a classic real-life murder case makes this book - the fourth featuring former FBI agent Brigid Quinn - a standout. I've not read any of the preceding books, but the excellent writing and tough but likable lead character have convinced me this one won't be my last.

The gruesome real-life murder of the Clutter family was chronicled in the late Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" (and for the record, I'm old enough to remember both the murders and the almost astonishing success of the
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
We Were Killers Once is the fourth book to feature former FBI agent turned private investigator, Brigid Quinn, but each instalment can be read independently of one another as the main plot is self-contained. The only parts you will not be privy to is Brigid's family matters but they are rather boring, and that continues here as she compares herself to her husband and ex-priest Carlo's dead wife; it was a tad irritating and quite unnecessary. Nevertheless, this is a rather intriguing fact-meets-f ...more
Oct 27, 2019 added it
Shelves: fiction, series, thriller
Suffice it to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this 4th in the Brigid Quinn Series delivering all the excitement and rush of the first, Rage Against the Dying. I loved how Masterman wove a story including a nod to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood putting her own spin on the possibility of a third killer in the Clutter Family murders.

I have waited patiently for more on the dynamics of the marriage of such opposites; Quinn, a woman who has lived with so much violence and her husband, Carlo, a former Pr
Dee Arr
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
{60-second video review at }

It didn’t take me long to get hooked on the plot of author Becky Masterson’s novel “We Were Killers Once.” The constant flip-flop of POV between retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn and killer Jerry Beaufort works well to slowly build the tension and then start the race toward the climax.

The premise of the book was interesting. It is built upon the murders of members of the Clutter family by former prison buddies Richard Hickok and Perry Smith. The qu
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley

I enjoyed Becky Masterman’s earlier Brigid Quinn mysteries. The last one was “ok”, and this one was “ok” too. This time, what tried my patience was the premise. I have never read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, but the premise of We Were Killers Once is that Brigid becomes aware of a confession by one of the two killers Capote focuses on that implicates a third killer. Somehow, Brigid and her husband Carlo come into contact with this third man and the story flows from there. The story itself
Paris        (kerbytejas)
We Were Killers Once (Brigid Quinn #4) by Becky Masterman, is the first book I’ve read from this author. The book was well written and researched, but sadly it left no impression on me. I’ve been thinking for 5 days now wondering why and all I can think is it read more like a documentary or a biography. There wasn't enough suspense, edginess or surprise in the story for me. The primary characters (Brigid, Gemma Kate, Carlo & Beaufort) were well developed with backgrounds but still seemed flat to ...more
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Minotaur Books sent me an ARC that immediately lured me in:  a modern crime novel inspired by the actual murders of the Clutter family in 1959, which was the focus of Truman Capote's true-crime masterpiece,In Cold Blood.

I realized this was book four in a series (and ohhhhh how I've whined in the past about picking up in the middle of a series) but crossed my fingers that We Were Killers Once would work as a standalone because the premise is fascinating.

When the four Clutter family members were b
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
My first book by Becky Masterman, but not my last. I really liked the fact that this book was unique and original in its story line. The main character ex-FBI agent Brigid was likable and her husband Carlo was extremely likable-especially when compared to the featured criminal in the book, newly released ex-con Jerry. Brigid's niece, Gemma-Kate, was quite a character. The writing flows fast and you want to find out just what the heck is happening. The author leads you to believe certain things a ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slow moving tale with its roots in murders made famous by the writer Truman Capote in his book, "In Cold Blood".
In 1959, the Clutter family were murdered in their home in Holcomb, Kansas. One month later, a similar murder of the Walker family took place in Florida. Two men - Perry Smith and Dick Hickok - were found guilty and executed for the Clutter family killings. But what if there was a 3rd man involved in the deaths of the Clutter family and the still unsolved murder of the Walker family?
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
PARTS WERE INTENSE! Ex- FBI agent Brigid Quinn and her Ex-Priest husband Carlo find how hard it is to escape your PAST!! Becky Masterman has written an excellent crime drama that can be read as a stand alone even though it is fourth in a series. Combine a Cold Case MURDER of the Walker family from decades ago with a murder publicized by Truman Capote's book IN TRUE BLOOD and find that questions are still unanswered. A copy of this book was provided by Mintour St Martins Press via Netgalley with ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
We Were Killers Once - Brigid Quinn #4 by Becky Masterman (2 Stars)

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Truman Capote’s masterpiece In Cold Blood details the murders of the Clutter family in 1959 and gives a comprehensive look at the killers (Hickok and Smith) behind the massacre. Absolutely chilling classic.

There has been a more recent publication, In Colder Blood: True Story of the Walker Family Murder by JT Hunter, which make
Carol Kean
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-written novel, five-star material, with characters who are unique and memorable, not the cardboard cutouts that can be typical of this genre. The "sociopath" niece is particularly interesting.

That said, I find Carlo the former priest supremely annoying, but entirely believable. I read this while in the throes of Influenza A, so maybe that's why everything about this novel annoyed me in spite of it being tautly crafted and richly imagined.

Of course the killer is an idiot. So many c
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
We Were Killers Once
by Becky Masterman
This is my 1st by this author and I have got to say I was not disappointed! It is a quick good read and the author does a phenomenal job of weaving this story in with Capote's In Cold Blood which I read many years ago, very interesting premise! Thank you Netgalley and the Publishers for this book and leaving my review!
Terence M
From my Reading Activity:
November 3, 2019 –
1.0% "Audiobook - 11:39 Hours - Narrator: Kate Harper
I had started listening to this Brigid Quinn #4, but was side-tracked by several other novels while doing so, so I intend to start again from scratch."

March 18, 2020 –
28.0% "Audiobook - 11:39 Hours - Narrator: Kate Harper
I had started listening to this Brigid Quinn #4, but was side-tracked by several other novels while doing so, so I intend to start again from scratch.

Nov 03, 2019 10:19PM -
Anna at A Wondrous Bookshelf
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, crime, arc
I like the idea of a spin-off of another book and honestly, that was the only reason I picked this book this far in the series. The book is based on the true crime of a family of four killed in 1959 in Kansas, The Clutter family murder. The investigation and solution of that crime was the subject of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Although I have not read In Cold Blood, I was curious about Masterman's new theory that perhaps there was a third killer that got away.
Brigid Quinn is the retired FBI a
Luanne Ollivier
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Becky Masterman's latest book, We Were Killers Once, is the fourth in her Brigid Quinn series, but can absolutely be read as a stand-alone.

Masterman has come up with an absolutely fascinating premise for We Were Killers Once. What if.....there were three men at the Clutter killings? Yes, those murders - the ones that inspired Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood.' And what if that third man is freshly out of prison - and determined to make sure that the evidence he knows it out there is destroyed. And
Heather Fineisen
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A chilling tale cold casing a murder based on the In Cold Blood killers. Inconsistent information in the police investigation and Capote' s notes capture the attention of retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn's niece. Brigid is hot on the trail of an Exxon who has entered their lives when the two queries meet. I love Brigid and that she is sixty and still kicks while trying to live a civilian life only enhances this imaginative novel.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
I enjoyed this book but it is definitely not the best thriller around.. It is based on the Truman Capote book about the massacre of a family in Kansas. Two men were arrested and jailed for the crime. The premise is that there was a third killer and that they had all participated in a similar killing of a family in Florida before Kansas. The idea was based on a confession that one of the killers wrote, that there was a third and was given to a prison priest on his deathbed. The priest happens to ...more
NancyAnn Smith
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it

I could not get into this book. Did not like the author's style of writing. Others will probably enjoy it, but not me.
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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.

Other books in the series

Brigid Quinn (4 books)
  • Rage Against the Dying (Brigid Quinn, #1)
  • Fear the Darkness (Brigid Quinn, #2)
  • A Twist of the Knife (Brigid Quinn, #3)

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