Another unbelievable chilling debut thriller. What makes it different is that the heroine, Brigid Quinn, is a 59-year-old retired FBI agent with a difficult past. She has found love and security, but becomes unwittingly involved in a serial-killer investigation into the rape, murder, and mummification of young women. This novel is very smart, frightening and often funny – and it’s refreshing that its attractive heroine is middle-aged, but with her powers undimmed. A compelling read.
As Judy says, the writer of Rage Against the Dying works in forensic science publishing and the details of the gruesome killings Quinn investigates are extremely unsettling, involving not only murder but also the rape and mummification of a series of young women. What is more, necrophilia is involved. It's all pretty strong stuff.
But it is Jessica that Brigid has on her conscience, and when she is told that her body has at last been found and the killer caught, she takes an understandable interest, even though she is retired and blissfully in love with Carlo.
The more she looks into the case, the more convinced she becomes that the FBI have the wrong man. The trouble is no-one else agrees with her, and Quinn is forced back into her old life to solve the murder, alienating not only her friends and colleagues in the field, but also jeopardising the new happiness she has found with Carlo. She runs appalling risks, putting herself into the worst kind of danger.
Quinn is a compelling protagonist. Masterman has taken a risk in making her heroine a 59-year-old woman in a field of thrillers where youth and glamour are usually considered vital. But it really pays off, believe me. Brigid is strong, attractive, intelligent and totally fearless, and her experience of discovering love later in life is touching.
No less a writer than Gillian Flynn, author of the massively successful best-seller Gone Girl, says Masterman has 'a wonderful voice'. By that she means that her writing is truly fresh and original. We could not agree more.
This is another debut novel from a writer whose day job is working in a forensic science publishing house - so it's no wonder she knows her gruesome stuff.
strong and frightening
The storyline is strong and frightening; the heroine, Brigid Quinn, is charming, fearless, and (this is a really original stroke) well into middle age. Fiesty Brigid is 59, a retired FBI agent who, she hopes, has put her past investigating violent crime firmly behind her.
Long unmarried, she has at last found love with her new husband Carlo, a gentle widower. But Brigid does not want him to know the full truth about her past (and it is a bloody one). She concentrates on being a good wife until something happens which brings her worst memories to the fore.
Brigid has a young woman's death on her conscience. She has tried to bury the memory but one day at her Arizona home she receives a phone call from the FBI. The body of Jessica, a 22-year-old woman who was Quinn's protégé in the agency, has finally been discovered, and Brigid is inexorably drawn back into the case.
Quinn is an intriguing heroine. Small and blonde, she has always looked vulnerable, and thus as an agent she always used herself as bait in her chosen area - catching serial killers. But as she became too old to be a lure, she recruited and trained Jessica to take her place. Tragically the plans didn't work out. Jessica indeed proved to be irresistible bait - but she was killed, and her killer was never caught.