Book Review: Rage Against The Dying

Author: Becky Masterman
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780143182672
Genre: Murder-Mystery


Brigid Quinn’s experiences 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 protege, 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.


In RAGE AGAINST THE DYING, the first of her Brigid Quinn novels, author Becky Masterman presents us with an unorthodox lead character in the dogged Brigid Quinn. Who is aptly supported by a neat cast of characters. From her mirror, up and coming FBI agent, Laura Coleman, to Brigid’s ex-lovers David Weiss and Zach Robertson. And lastly, her recently wed-to, ex-priest, Carlos DiForenza. Each is used as a foil to Brigid’s actions and personality, resolving, mirroring, lensing, and reflecting the good, the bad, and the downright ugly side of human nature and all it has to offer.

Brigid is a delightfully flawed individual who makes questionable choices—like, accidentally killing a granny-killing stalker—and then? Argues with herself in retrospect about her choices and decisions. Masterman explores with a deft touch what it is that makes Quinn tick, and thereby, in a way, us, as human beings; why do we do what we do.

The writing never wavers, it’s as tough, hot, and gritty as the Tucson, Arizona setting. Unforgiving in places, gruesome and violent when necessary, and balanced, in part, by Brigid’s dry wit.

Essentially a murder-mystery, Masterman goes on to add several other layers as she builds up both the characters and main story-arc, weaving in levels of tension between characters that, no doubt, will also be explored at a later date. And, because of that attention to detail, we get some thoughtful exploration of motives, and a depth to these characters that brings an edge to Masterman’s storytelling.

Excellent depth and character-play, with a well-plotted, twisting story, and a few surprises that, all-in-all, made the ending all the more enjoyable.

Rating : 8 / 10

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  1. November 4, 2019

    The least we can say is that it sounds unique!!!

    • November 5, 2019

      Oh, this series is definitely unique, Sophie, in that the protagonist, for a change, is not a teenager or even in her early years. I think it really adds a whole other set of dimensions to the character and the stories themselves.

  2. Alexandra
    November 1, 2019

    I’ve read this series out of sequences and yet, it doesn’t matter because each novel is a standalone. And yes, this is a really good series, I love Brigid as she’s so different from what we’ve come to expect, sharp, droll, and from an older perspective.

    And thank you, Sweetie, high praise coming from you. And like you, this is the kind of novel I love to read. Oh, and talking TV series, have you seen THE TUNNEL where you are? We just got it here and the first coupld of episodes have been excellent!

    • No I haven’t seen that yet. I see it’s a British/French cooperation, so they might still air it in the future.. We’re always far behind.. We’ll be finally starting Orange Is The New Black on tv here next week. Btw, I see there’s already a fourth season so you’ve got a lot to look forward to!

      • Alexandra
        November 3, 2019

        Oh I know, we usually have to wait for at least a year or two after a show is finished before we get to see it here. Oh, we tried that show and, well, it wasn’t for me, my partner wasn’t thrilled either. I guess we just didn’t get it.

  3. So happy to hear you enjoyed it because I was already sold after reading the blurb. Definitely my type of read 😊 It’s also a tv show or movie I enjoy watching the most (hint) 😉. Excellent review which tells so much about what to expect yet not at all spoiler-y.

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