Thursday, March 21, 2013

ARC Review: Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman

Rage Against the Dying
Author: Becky Masterman
Publication: Minotaur Books (March 12, 2013)

Description: You have never met an (ex) FBI agent like Brigid Quinn

“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.”Brigid Quinn's experiences in hunting sexual predators for the FBI have left her with memories she wishes she didn’t have and lethal skills she hopes never to need again. Having been pushed into early retirement by events she thinks she's put firmly behind her, Brigid keeps telling herself she is settling down nicely in Tucson with a wonderful new husband, Carlo, and their dogs.

But the past intervenes when a man named Floyd Lynch confesses to the worst unsolved case of Brigid’s career—the disappearance and presumed murder of her young protégée, Jessica. Floyd knows things about that terrible night that were never made public, and offers to lead the cops to Jessica's body in return for a plea bargain.

It should finally be the end of a dark chapter in Brigid’s life. Except…the new FBI agent on the case, Laura Coleman, thinks the confession is fake, and Brigid finds she cannot walk away from violence and retribution after all, no matter what the cost.

With a fiercely original and compelling voice, Becky Masterman's Rage Against the Dying marks the heart-stopping debut of a brilliant new thriller writer.

My Thoughts: Brigid Quinn introduces herself to the reader by saying, "I've sometimes regretted the women I've been." Brigid is retired from the FBI and married but she still hasn't gotten over the secrets and the lying that were a major part of her life undercover. She fears that her husband Carlo—widower and ex-priest—couldn't deal with knowing about her past.

Now a piece of her past is coming to her. One of her cases dealt with a serial killer called the Route 66 killer who killed one young woman a year somewhere along Route 66 and left their body displayed. Brigid became obsessed with the case and even more so when the last victim was Jessica Robertson—FBI Special Agent and Brigid's trainee—who disappeared without a trace. They had set up a sting that went horribly wrong and Brigid has been feeling the guilt for the past thirteen years. 

Deputy Sheriff Max Coyote comes to her to tell her that they have caught a serial killer who says he knows where Jessica's body is. She goes along with Special Agent Laura Coleman and discovers two mummified bodies. One is Jessica, the other is an unknown woman that the killer identifies as a Lot Lizard. The FBI is eager to close the case of the Route 66 killer but both Laura and Brigid note some discrepancies in the killer's story that the head of the FBI office is eager to downplay.

Things heat up when Brigid is attacked near her home and kills the assailant. Panic—and a fear of blowing up her perfect suburban life—makes her cover up her involvement and stage the killing as an accident. Max Coyote is suspicious though and Brigid continues to lie. 

Things heat up even more when Laura goes missing but no one seems to notice but Brigid. The head of the FBI thinks she is off sulking because he closed her case and didn't consider the discrepancies she noted. This leave Brigid to search for Laura, find the real Route 66 killer, and stay one step ahead of Max and the unknown person who is trying to kill her. 

The story was tense, thrilling, and I had a hard time liking Brigid. I could understand her fear of destroying her new life with Carlo but I couldn't see how lying about her past would really help. I could understand that she had reinvented herself so many time when she worked undercover that she thought she could reinvent herself yet again to be what she thought Carlo wanted. I could understand that she was willing to do whatever was necessary to keep his love. I could also understand her guilt and obsession with finding out what happened to Jessica and bringing her killer to justice. I could not understand her lack of trust in the man she chose to marry.

Fans of thrillers will enjoy this story and will enjoy the twists and turns of this investigation into a serial killer and the FBI agent who is determined to track him down. 

Favorite Quote:
"What's wrong, O'Hari?" he said again.

So I told him. Oh, not about a man who was about to serve a life term for having sex with a mummy. Not about the serial killer who had obsessed me for the past thirteen years; who was likely still on the loose, and, if Sigmund's conjecture was solid, who might very well be killing even now. Not about how I suspected that someone had tried to have me killed and, failing, would try to do it again. And certainly not about killing Gerald Peasil and how I covered it up because I was still certain the Perfesser couldn't live with knowing what I was capable of. 
I got this eARC through Minotaur Books in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here

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